Southern China cycling holiday

“Two weeks to explore southern China by bike, from rice terraces to mountains to minority villages, with a guide and support vehicle, and time out of the saddle to relax.”


Guiyang | bullet train to Rongjiang | Dong village of Diman | Liping | Zhaoxing | Dudong | Shuikou | Longsheng | Pingan | Longji Rice Terraces | Wantian | Guilin | Xingping | Karst Mountains | Baisha | Yangshuo

Description of Southern China cycling holiday

This 14-day small group Southern China cycling holiday will take you past rice terraces and limestone peaks, along bamboo-lined rivers and to traditional villages home to minority groups. The incredible landscapes of this region have inspired poets and artists for hundreds of years and form the backdrop of a cycling tour that’s well out of the ordinary; one that allows you to see local life away from the tourist trail and interact with generous open-hearted local people.

You’ll start your tour in the city of Guiyang, in Guizhou Province, before taking one of China’s newest bullet trains to the town of Rongjiang, from where your biking adventure really begins. After meeting the local crew and getting acquainted with your bike, you’ll head south into the mountains, through beautiful rural scenery that’s home to members of the Dong and Miao minority ethnic groups. Along the way you’ll visit local villages and markets and pass through the towns of Rongjiang, Liping and Zhaoxing where you'll hear bamboo pipes and see water wheels, drum towers and "wind and rain bridges".

Next, you’ll head into Guangxi Province where the highlight for many is Longsheng. It’s the regional centre for the Miao, Yao and Zhuang ethnic minorities and is renowned for the dramatic Longji Titian - thousands of rice terraces cut into the mountain by the local people over hundreds of years. You’ll also visit Guilin before following the path of the Li River in the shadow of the limestone karst mountains. The final stop is the resort town of Yangshuo, famous for its mountain scenery.

You’ll travel in a group of three to twelve people, with the services of a support vehicle, cycling leader and guide. You’ll need to be pretty fit for this tour. Distances range between 33km and 105km a day, with some steep climbs and uneven terrain.

Travel Team

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Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Southern China cycling holiday

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.


Transport: What better way to support the environment and lower our carbon footprint... than by cycling. Travelling by bike is not only a great way to see and experience a culture, but this means we use less vehicles, less oil and less carbon.

Water: We provide purified drinking water for the duration of the cycling component for all passengers and staff, using 20 litre, reusable water drums. This prevents you from needing to buy plastic bottles that add to landfill.

Waste: We hand out a gift set of chopsticks and cover to all passengers on day one to encourage everyone to avoid using the disposable sets that are provided in many restaurants in China.

Wildlife: We try to inform and help educate people about the still prevalent issue of eating "wild" and "exotic" animals in China. Whilst eating strange and interesting things can be a fun part of travelling in China, there are many issues that have a negative impact on the local wildlife and also other animals that are mistreated.

Energy: We encourage guests to conserve energy and maintain the use of air conditioners, lights and other electrical equipment to a minimum. This doesn't mean we don't want you to use it, but be concious of your usage and turn off everything whilst you are not in your rooms.

Buildings: China is growing and growing fast, this also means many of the beautiful traditional buildings and much of the local architecture is in danger of being destroyed. We choose our accommodations and cycle routes very carefully, ensuring we support and encourage those in the community who are maintaining and using these wonderful buildings.

Suppliers: We support the communities where we travel. Our accommodations, restaurants, cycling guides, drivers and mechanics are all from Guangxi or Guiyang provinces and we encourage everyone we meet to treat our environment with care and respect. We hope at the least, that we lead by example.

Our lodgings in the Longji Rice Terraces are the perfect example of the kind of places we prefer to stay when possible; small, locally or family-run guesthouses. In Longji we stay in a guesthouse called the Liqing Guesthouse. It is run by a husband and wife team Keyin and Lily. Both are heavily involved in all aspects of the business. We highly recommend you try some of Keyin home-made wine infused with fruit.


We send out trip information booklets to all passengers on our trips before the trip has started to encourage participants to start reading and learning about not only China, but the areas of Guangxi and Guiyang that we are travelling through.

Guiyang and Guangxi both have strong, rich and unique cultures that are different to the concept of just ‘China’. Many of the people and villages we visit are from one of the 55 Minority groups recognised in China, such as Zhuang, Yao and Miao. We love to explore, listen and learn about these cultures from the minority people themselves, we manage this by encouraging local interaction and supporting minority and locally run businesses and suppliers.

The maximum group size for this trip is 12. This helps to preserve the experience as a more personalised for you and also makes it less intimidating for locals.

Discovering new foods, dishes and flavours is an integral part of travelling, and we love to eat! For breakfast, lunch and dinner we will take you to all manner of local eating establishments, eating fresh, regional produce cooked by the people who know best – the locals! Try the Guilin Noodles in Guangxi... a real local and delicious treat.

On this adventure, all of our guides, drivers and mechanics are from Guangxi or Guiyang provinces. We only stay at locally owned guest houses and encourage people to support local businesses and smaller shops, as opposed to bigger supermarkets and chain stores.

This trip supports an organisation local to the area. The program is called V.E.T. – Volunteer English Teaching. Their aim is to provide native English teachers to the more rural schools. They welcome our passengers to come in and teach a class and donate equipment. If you are interested in staying longer after the trip to teach for a longer period, please let us know when booking your trip.

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