Upon arrival, you’ll be welcomed by your driver and transferred to your hotel in Dali old town. Rest of the day at leisure to walk around or get some rest.
In the morning, your guide will bring you to the bike rental shop in town where you will receive and test your private bike. You’ll make a short ride around the town. In the afternoon, you’ll reach the Cangshan mountains behind the city. The cable car will take you up to Zhonghe Temple, where you can hike for several kilometres before walking down to the valley. This exercise will get you ready by warming your muscles for the next day!
After an early breakfast you’ll start your bike ride from Dali to Xizhou (ca 30 km) along the shores of Erhai lake through the newly designed “ecological zone” (no motorized vehicles allowed!) Visit the old town centre of Xizhou with many Bai style architecture. Then you can continue to Shaping for its week market, and Xiashankou, all the way on your bicycle (65 km) or in the comfort of your vehicle. In Xiashankou, check in at your hotel and enjoy its hot springs for a well-deserved relaxation time.
Today, back on your bike, you’ll reach Shaxi old town, an old stop on the tea and horse caravan track. After a town called Niujie, the road turns into a stiff but steady climb over 14 km (5% gradient). You can cycle it up with your strength and will or go up by car, then cycle downhill from there. When you arrive in Shaxi, take some time to rest and walk by yourself in the town’s old streets.
In the morning you’ll take the time to discover Shaxi surroundings. With your guide, you’ll hike up through the forest to the Shibao mountains and visit its Buddha caves. In the afternoon, cycle with your guide in Shaxi valley. Enjoy the traditional villages and the rural landscape where the rapeseed flowers dominate the view in springtime.
After breakfast you will be transferred to Lashi Lake in the area of Lijiang. You’ll start riding your bikes from the west side of the lake, make a loop and continue to the north passing through some beautiful villages. You’ll visit a temple, and after a short climb, you’ll see the impressive Jade Dragon Mountain appearing before you. You’ll head for the old town of Shuhe, and explore its village lanes before taking some rest at your hotel in the countryside.
This morning, you’ll start riding to the north and reach Baisha village. Discover the famous murals of Dabaoji pavilion, and see something of the history of Baisha and Lijiang from old photographs. Many of these were taken by Joseph Rock, an Austrian/ American scientist who stayed in the valley about a century ago. You’ll continue north to Yufeng temple, then Yuhu village where you’ll visit Joseph Rock’s old house. Finally you’ll reach the Black Dragon Pool, with the iconic picture of the Jade Dragon Mountain reflecting itself in the water. If you feel like it, you can still reach the top of the Elephant Hill nearby, before going back to your hotel.
The final day of your trip will be a restorative one: your driver will take you to Lijiang, where you can freely wander across the old town and enjoy the restaurants and souvenir shops. If you prefer staying away from the bustling business feel of the city, your driver can take you around the countryside where you’ll discover some villages arts and crafts, and maybe bring some souvenirs too.
Today, your driver will take you to Lijiang airport, where you’ll board your flight to your next destination.