7 nights/8 days
This tour only proves
that Sichuan has a lot more to offer than spicy food! There are snow capped mountains of 6,000M, spectacular
National Parks filled with Turquoise Lakes, forested river valleys and the
huge expanse of the Tibetan Grasslands.
If we find Tibetans, which we will, it must mean we are in high
country. Much of our cycling
distance will be in the 2,500M to 3,000M range.
High altitude, but not to worry, we pick as much downhill and flat
bits as possible for cycling and leave the rest for the coach! Parts of
this tour cross the path of Mao's Long March.
North Sichuan has a lot to offer and we have packed the best of it
in these 8 days. The Wu Long
Panda Reserve requires an additional two days of time, or forfeiting the
two days on the grassland. This
is an option for a group booking only.
Tour Grade: Medium to Difficult
Hotel Grades: See Itinerary below (as indicated in parentheses)
Distance: 360-400 km.
Day 1: Two hour evening flight from Hong Kong to Chengdu, the capitol of Sichuan Province. Overnite at the Lhasa Grand Hotel (3).
coach from Chengdu West and North our first stop being at the Dujiangyan
Irrigation works. This system
for flood control and irrigation of the Sichuan basin was the first of its
kind known to man - 5,000 years old and still working!
From here we will continue by coach up the Min River through the day
around our lunch stop at Wen Chuan city - 200 more kilometers.
From Earthquake Lake - an amazing vista overlooking a city now
completely submerged under water - we will start cycling - hopefully at
least 40 Km before dark. It's
a late night by the time we reach our destination of Song Pan City and the
Sunshine Hotel (2). Today we
have climbed from 500 M to 2,500 M. (8,000 ft).
Day 3: From Song Pan we cycle along the Min River Valley with its beautiful terraced fields and numerous villages of the Qiang People. ( A tribe of Tibetan) This initial distance is only 20 km but so photograph-able that it sometimes takes us three hours to complete! After lunch we continue cycling over the Gongganglin pass of 3,600 M and down a great downhill into the Jiuzhaigou valley. Tonight will be another late night. Overnite at the Jiuzhaigou Hotel (3) 100+ Km cycling. (A nice hotel with wonderful Tibetan hosts with only one drawback - the water has come out like mud in the bathtub in the past - it leaves you in that enviable position of deciding whether to shower or not. Part of the experience right?)
Day 4: A full day hiking the Jiuzhaigou National Park with its myriad of waterfalls, turquoise lakes, forests, yak herders and horses. There are two valleys to explore and what we like to do is coach up one hiking down to the intersection and then hike up and down the next - the scenery and grandeur never ends and film flies fast and furious. A note for video users - the Park charges RMB 400 for use of Video in the Park. No Charge for still photography. Overnite at the Jiuzhaigou Hotel (3). If it can be arranged we may be able to take part in a Tibetan dance and lamb roast party near the Hotel. 20 Km hiking.
morning we make our way on the
coach from the Hotel retracing our route over the top of Gongganglin pass
toward Song Pan. From the top
of the pass we will begin cycling back to Chuan Zhu Si and then a left up,
up, up for as long as you wish to challenge yourself!
Now we are cycling to Huanglong (Yellow Dragon) another out of this
world National Park. At the top
of our climb (most of you won't make it) is an incredible view of Precious
Snow Mountain one of the highest in the Min range.
A ride down an incredible downhill (for those with no fear) is next
down to the Park Entrance. Huanglong
Nat'l Park can only be done by foot - 2 hours at least to do it justice. The same fees are applied for video users as Jiuzhaigou by
the way. Tonight we go back to
Chuan Zhu Si for an overnite. (2).
Day 6: A very early morning and a very long day. First a climb out of the valley by coach to the beginning of the Grasslands at 3,600 M. Another 80 Km on the grasslands by coach will bring us to our picnic lunch and cycling starting point. 50 Km's cycling after lunch on the expansive Tibetan Grasslands. We will pass through the city of Hong Yuan - the only city of any measurable size on the whole grassland. We will feel the intensity of the sun and the altitude, but the wide open grasslands and nomadic way of life will keep us plenty preoccupied. Tibetan Yak herders and nomads will be encountered close up. (but not too close to the Yaks please). We will have some hilly terrain the beginning 30 Km and then a good flat stretch the last 50 Km. Due to Tibetan mastiffs being set out late afternoon and with the additional mileage to cover by coach we will stop cycling and have an early dinner in Hong Yuan by 4PM. We will be back on the coach after a quick dinner in Hong Yuan town for another five hours before arriving at our hotel in LiXian in the Miyalo valley.(2) A very late night.
is another picture a minute day as we cycle leisurely down through the
Miyalo valley 60 Km right alongside the river the whole way.
Much of the time you can just coast without putting foot to peddle!
This valley comes alive with colors in the autumn and our Sept
departure highlights this. Picnic Lunch. Our
destination is Wen Chuan City - completing our loop. Overnite at the Wenchuan Hotel (2)
Day 8: Its back to Chengdu for lunch and our flight departure to Hong Kong today. 140 Km on the coach to Chengdu. If time allows - a few stops in the city for cultural or shopping interest. Arrive Hong Kong in the evening around 6PM
* Itinerary subject to change
|(click any image
for larger version)
All photos Copyright Tim Obendorf