My name is Chris, I live in Darwin, Australia and am wanting to ride 2000 to 3000km somewhere in China over 6 weeks in June/July next year. If someone could recommend a route and also let me know if camping is possible, where to purchase a good map etc.
I usually cycle-tour by myself, which I don't mind, but if someone would be interested in joining me then let me know.
Hi,Chris.Yes camping is totally possible in China.But i doubt you would even need to go camping for the most of the times lol.I just had a couchsurfer from Sweden stayed at my apartment for 2 days and we had a good time riding together.If you r interested,here is his website where u can reach him(Sry cant give u his personal contact info without permission),www.thebikeadventure.com.
I am planning my own round the world cycling trip in ten months.So yeah good luck to both of us ;)
Everything I could think of for a non-Chinese speaking cyclotourist coming to China for the first time.
If you find it useful, please make note of any information you would add and I'll do my best to eventually add it.
I'm planning a 6-8 week trip starting in April. Looking for companions. https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=214411454996601638738.0004ed977ad6de8640125&msa=0
Marian, wow, I read through your website and found it very useful, will have to study it depth when I get closer to finalising my travel plans to China.
You are quite welcome. And, if you have any inclination to move your trip up to starting in mid-April ... I am looking for companions.
...I will also be cycling in China next year. My plan is to cycle from Southern China to Beijing starting around May 2014.
Thanks for your reply Daniela however I will not be cycling in China until mid June.
Linda and i just finished 6 weeks in West and North China, and ive done a 3 month ride there a few years back.
the south and the west are great on all counts, but the northern parts (say, north and east of Xian) can be incredibly dirty and busy, especially around the yellow river area. That said, it is something to experience the machine that is china for a while (just pack some wet wipes to remove all the coal dust).
Camping is no problem almost anywhere; so far ive never had anyone bother me at night in the tent, even if you're spotted. ive camped right at the roads edge on the road to the Lao border, and no one cares. The Police however might care, and demand that you move and/or register at the police station, so best to keep out of sight in general. This hasnt happened to me, but i heard about it in some places.
We found that carrying a message translated into chinese with you to present to people helped VERY much. Our message included a request for camping space nearby, and this usually ended up with us being welcomed into the home. On some occasions however we were rejected with such disdain that it left us shocked. China is a place of stark contrasts!
Staying with families or at other places is fine, but on a few occasions when I've stayed at a 'public' place such as a temple, town hall etc, the police have appeared. They have been nice each time, and just want to make sure you are safe and to register your passport details. you may or may not have to go to the station.
If you are going to start in the south, a nice route would be to stay west of a line between Chengdu and Kunming; lots of mountains, forests and tibet influence. Shangri la/tiger leaping gorge area. also not so busy or polluted . Guilin doesn't quite fit into that area, but you get the idea. A good friend of mine loved Qinghai lake.
In the west its all about the desert; start or finish in Kashgar or Urumqi if you fancy days of solitude and feeling like you are out on your own. The southern road to Kashgar (via Hotan etc) is the quieter of the two, though i heard there are more police there these days. The north route has a few more attractions.
Dunhuang to Ruochang via Lunghu is a great stretch; solitary, at altitude, and beautiful.
Enjoy your ride, it's a very interesting place and people are cool.
Thankyou for your comments James I appreciate your effort very much and hope to get to China mid year.
We did a 2 month ride in 2013, and a 3 month ride in 2011.
Both fantastic making it China one of our favourite places to ride
As previously mentioned, do take a few pre written phrases, in Chinese. Even something basic ones, such as ordering a basic meal, or to look at a room.
We took a tent along and used it often, mind you we tend to go off the track a bit. Other times we weren't accepted and had to camp out.
A great morning staple is Australian muesli you can get at most large grocery stores.
Depending what your interests are, chose a destination and go.
Kunming area is nice with great scenery, and historic towns and is well catered for western tourists.
Don't underestimate the terrain, length of hills, or road condition
Our rides with route, money spent, etc can be seen on these two links
Thankyou for comments Wendy your information is most helpful.
i lived in China for 6 years, 4 years in Chengdu, and have cycled thousands of km there. It would take me ages to give detailed info, but basically if you really want to enjoy cycling in China, stay away from the North, northeast and east as much as you can. central north also is pure dust and sand with nothing to see.
So, concentrate on the south Guangxi, Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai and Xinjiang.
Of course we are talking tens of thousands of km here, but just focus on two or three provinces and you have a very nice 3 to 4000 km. A combination of Sichuan and Yunnan would be the best in my opinion for a first trip to China. The possibilities are endless.
Stay rural, stay away from the big hubs and you'll be fine.
You can make an easy tour around China. Of course the map you want to buy is very available in my city. If you like Kungfu. it is the best place for you. Shaolin temple is very near to my city, which is about 80 kilometres away.
I cycled China for 9 months in 2012 and 2013 - I would suggest you stay away from the Eastern seaboard (unless you really want to visit Shanghai, Hong Kong, and so forth) and look west. I spent 3 months in Yunnan province and found it amazing. Awesome mountains, rice terraces, tons of minority tribes, and pretty good roads for the most part.
I didn't have any trouble camping anywhere in China. Empty buildings, schools, restaurants, homestays, and couchsurfing are all options. Especially if you can pick up a little Chinese. Also, if you can learn a few characters, you'll be able to find guesthouses that charge something like $2-$3 per night.
Lots of details and stories about my time there at my website, www.threeruleride.com. Look for mostly any post before June 2012.
Hey there!! im going to China from Dec 10 to 18, Beijing and Shanghai... So you know any market or place where i can buy a cheap bike? Thanks ;)!!
Hi you can get maps in book stores....you need them in Chinese chracters - very important...
If you know what China is like read it here: www.pushbikegirl.com just crossed China in 4 months and will go back there in a few weeks cycling from Vietnam to Shanghai...