Cycling Tibet (sichuan, Yunnan)

29 03 2010

Hey everybody! Thinking about cycling Tibet? You may like to have a look to the trip I made with my friend in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces . We planned to go from Chengdu to Kunming.

Season: We went in the autumn-winter season during October-November.  During the night we had subzero temperatures around -15ºC  so yeah, but once the sun comes out it gets pretty warm (usually around 10-15ºC below zero). We had blue sky the whole trip unless the first day it was snowing. If you plan to go during July-September you may find many rainy days. Full guide after the jump.

Route: There are two main routes possible to accomplish for this  trip:

Route 1:  Starting from Rilong to Xinduqiao It will take 5 days on the bike plus a day on the bus.

I went with the intention of doing this track in mind, however, at the time I went (Nov’09) the road to Rilong had collapsed due to Sichuans Earthquake of 2008, so the only possibility was to take a bus from Chendu to Rolong and start from there. The bus was leaving at 6am and would take 8 to 12 hours long. So if you want to take this route it will take you another day to start cycling.

Route 2:  Starting from Kanding to Xinduqiao. Yeah I know, it’s a big shortcut, but you will have more time to get lost and enjoy the the amazing spots you will find on the way.  I won’t recommend to cicle from Chendu to Xinduqiao, the road is too busy and risky so be aware!

As I already plan both routes I will split the first part of the document  showing both alternatives hoping it might help someone.

When didn’t go from Daocheng to Yading because we had to pay to see a mountain (four times the quantity of the Imperial Palace!!! Oh! Come on!) so I have no idea about the road (but it should be ok).  We save two three wonderful days to enjoy: one in Xiangcheng, and the rest in Yongke, a relaxing village just after the Tiger Leaping George.

IMPORTANT: This  walkthrough is made using the Bike Route Toaster application ( It’s a great application based on Google Maps, however I found out that in some cases it may have a BIG accumulative error when it tries to calculate   ASCENDING and DESCENDING values. So just don’t trust it in this route. It will give you an idea but many times are way shorter than those calculated by the application.

Hope you find useful my guide! Cycling Tibet Full Guide (Sichuan-Yunnan)




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