8 Days Southeast Yunnan Cycling Tour (Kunming-Fuxian Lake-Jianshui-Yuanyang)
Day 01 Arrive in Kunming Our meeting point is at Kunming airport. From there we’ll transfer around an hour to Fuxian Lake, located nearby Yuxi City. Once we’ve checked...
Code of Tour: YET0000059483
Length of Travel: No Data
Destinations of Tour:
Departure City: Kunming
Price of Tour: Request
Type of Tour:
Features of Tour:
Day 01 Arrive in Kunming
Our meeting point is at Kunming airport. From there we’ll transfer around an hour to Fuxian Lake, located nearby Yuxi City. Once we’ve checked in to the hotel, you’ll have time to relax or to explore the area around the lakeside. For the more energetic, there’s a walk from the lakeside up to Bijia Mountain for expansive views overlooking the lake and Luchong village below. In the evening we’ll gather together for a group meeting to go over the upcoming tour and to enjoy our first meal together in a nearby restaurant.
Yuxi is located in the centre of Yunnan province. It is known for its high-quality rice and tobacco. Situated at the western end of the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau, the county has a wide range of landscapes with Fuxian Lake scenic area the most famous.
Day 2: Cycle to Xiangchuan / transfer to Jianshui – 68KMBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 68 km
An early start today with a brief bike fitting after breakfast. We’ll be following the contours of the lake for the most part on flat roads with little traffic – a picturesque warm up ride to kick off the journey ahead. Our destination is Xiangchuan County and a late lunch at Family Li courtyard restaurant, one of the most famous restaurants in Yunnan. It’s a 68KM ride to lunch so we’ll be stopping lakeside for coffee and snack breaks to keep us going as the food at Family Li’s is worth the extra effort! After lunch, we’ll pack up our bikes into the support vehicles and transfer to Jianshui (1 hour drive) where we’ll have time to explore the old town on foot after checking into our hotel.
Jianshui has a long history of more than 1200 years. During the Nanzhao State period (738-937), a city called Huili was built here, which in the Yi language means “vast sea” and translated to Chinese is Jianshui. It served as a garrison town during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1388), had it’s name changed to Lin’an in the Ming Dynasty and, finally, reverted back to Jianshui during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Jianshui is a famous historic and cultural town with over 50 ancient buildings and a reputation as a ‘Museum of Ancient Buildings and Residential Houses’. The old town is not large, consisting mainly of several streets centring on Lin’an Road. Apart from the famous Confucius Temple and Zhu Family Garden, there are many other ancient buildings worth checking out.
Day 3: Cycle to Yuanyang Rice Terraces – 85KMBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 85 km
Today’s ride is an epic one taking us to the spectacular Yuanyang Rice Terraces. After a flat section to warm up, we’ll make our way up a series of gentle climbs over 30 km to the top of mountains. This is followed by a stunningly long descent into Yuanyang new town, Nansha. At this point we’ll drive the rest of the way up to our guesthouse amid the terraces – we’ll save this section for the following day so that we can cycle down through the terraces and take our time absorbing the endless terraces in the morning light. We’ll stay in a local guesthouse overlooking the terraces.
Yuanyang Rice Terraces are a living masterpiece, born of the ingenuity of generations of the Hani people. The Hani people’s ancestors came to this steep mountain area 2,500 years ago. In their struggle against the difficult terrain they successfully established the terraces, where they grew rice in order to make a living. Described as a ‘land sculpture’ the terraced fields have been being officially acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage site.
Day 4: Cycle to Yisa Old Town – 86KMBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 86 km
As planned, we’ll descend on the bikes for over 30KM through mountain rice fields, stopping as often as we like to take in the extraordinary views. We’ll meet the Hong He, Red River, and follow it’s valley on undulating, quiet and scenic roads to complete an all round great biking day. Our destination is Yisa Old Town, once the regions cultural and political centre and the first “Overseas Chinese” town in Yunnan. It’s unique architecture is the result of it’s residents bringing back influences from colonial Southeast Asia, such as French stained glass and European-style fortress designs blended with traditional Chinese courtyard houses.
Yisa Old Town came into prosperity at the end of the Qing Dynasty around the turn of the 20th century. Forced to abandon nearby copper mines by Imperial decree, these former miners set about establishing trade routes to Southeast Asia. Over 100 years, 11 routes were built enabling trade by horse to be conducted with Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Burma. Trade in opium, gold, silver, salt, and medicines among other products brought the wealth that built the old town.
Day 5: Cycle to Yuanjiang – 65KMBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 65 km
Our ride continues along the Honghe valley on quiet backroads toward Yuanjiang county. As we descend in altitude, the landscape gradually changes into tropical forests. Yuanjiang is a Hani, Yi and Dai autonomous county located at the bottom of a deep mountainous river valley. In the mountains above, extensive rice terraces built by the Hani are farmed. The town itself is an important provincial crossroads for access to Southeast Asia as well as administrative centre for surrounding villages.
Yuanjiang lies at the crossroads where the Honghe leads south to Vietnam as well as where the major provincial road to Laos, Thailand and Myanmar passes. In the area are the huge road and railway bridges that link Kunming to Laos and will eventually terminate in Bangkok, with plans to extend to Singapore.
Day 6: Cycle to Mojiang – 70KMBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 70 km
Today’s ride is the toughest one of the tour with a 30km uphill in the morning as we leave the Red River, or Hong He, behind. The climb is quiet and beautiful, through tropical forest making it nice and cool. Stunning views of rice fields and tea plantations can be glimpsed through the trees. After reaching the top, the rest of day is flat and gently downhill to Mojiang Hani Autonomous County under the jurisdiction of Pu’er City. Mojiang is famous for the outsized number of twins born in the county: 1200 twins in a population of 350000 in the county. It is said that twins can be born if young couples drink from the local wells.
Mojiang hosts an International Twins Festival every year that brings together twins from across the globe. It coincides with the Hani Festival of the Sun that celebrates the Tropic of Cancer that passes through the town. Despite being a Hani Autonomous County several other minority groups live in the county including Yao, Bulang, Dai, Bai, Zhuang and Pumi peoples.
Day 7: Cycle to Jinghong – 103KMBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 103 km
Today is our last day of riding. We start with a 2 hour drive to Puwen town to avoid some busy roads. From Puwen we get on the bikes and ride to our final destination – Jinghong City – situated on the banks of the Mekong River. The riding is through endless tea plantations and tropical forest. The 103km ride sounds long but, with the exception of a 10 km uphill in the morning, the rest is mostly flat or downhill. After checking in to the hotel, there’ll be time to relax with a swim in the hotel outdoor pool followed by a Dai stye feast to celebrate the end of our adventure.
Jinhong is the capital of Xishuangbanna, sometimes referred to as simply ”‘banna ”, and derived from the original Thai name Sip Sawng Panna (12 Rice-Growing Districts). It’s a relaxed, laid back city that is the administrative centre of the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture and the major south west trading port to Southeast Asia.
Day 8: Departure DayBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Today is departure day and you are free to depart at any time.
Jinhong is a relaxed, small sized city with a cool laid back vibe. Whilst many travellers who pass through don’t rate the place very highly, we love it! Jinhong is a fantastic base to head out hiking in the surrounding hills, explore tea plantations or just relaxing into the Southeast Asian pace of life and the amazing local cuisine. If you decide to stay on in Jinhong, let us know, and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction for some good food and active options.