23 Days Cycling Tour from Chengdu to Lhasa via Sichuan-Tibet Highway

Chengdu - Yaan - Kangding - Litang - Mangkang - Bayi - Lhasa

From USD p.p

Crossing two over 5,000m and ten over 4,000m high mountains, the 2,154km long Sichuan-Tibet Highway cycling tour challenges the extreme of your physical strength and willpower, but rewards you with the most breathtaking scenery and awe-inspiring landscape at the same time. Starting from Chengdu plain, you will pedal to the beginning point of the Ancient Tea-Horse Road, Ya’an City, and follow this pioneering route to enter Tibet plateau.

There is no doubt that you might get frustrated and fidgety at the atrocious weather, zigzag dirt road, and seemingly-unreachable mountain pass with the diminution of your strength and energy, but magically, you will find your own way to calm down and pedal forward step by step. Amazed by the incredibly varied scenery and empowered by devout pilgrims prostrating piously along the way, you preserve cycling day after day and begin to enjoy it. When the tour finally ends in the holy Lhasa, you will absolutely feel something new inside yourself after this memorable Sichuan-Tibet cycling trip.

Itinerary Day by Day

Day 1 Start from Chengdu to Ya’an (155km cement road)

Route: Chengdu City (alt.512m) - Shuangliu County - Xinjin County - Qionglai City - Mingshan County – Ya’an City (alt.641m)

Starting this legendary cycling trip from Chengdu and passing through several counties, you will arrive at the first destination: Ya’an City. Ya’an is the starting point of the Ancient Tea-Horse Route and is 120km southwest of Chengdu. The road between Chengdu and Mingshan is relatively flat.

Stay overnight in Ya’an.

Day 2 Ya’an - Xingou (87km cement road along with Qingyi River)Ya’an - Xingou (87km cement road along with Qingyi River)

Route: Ya'an City (alt.641m) - Feixianguan Town - Tianquan County (alt.848m) - Zishi Village - Lianglu Village or called Xingou (alt.1330m)

Today you will cycle along the beautiful Qingyi River. At first ride to the picturesque Tianquan County nestled at the east foot of the charming and scenic Erlang Mountain. Then continue to Xigou Village.

Stay overnight in Xingou.

Day 3 Xingou - Luding (57km cement road)

Route: Xingou (alt.1330m) - Erlangshan Tunnel (alt.2170m) - Luding County (alt.1330m)

You have entered the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau after passing through Erlangshan Tunnel. You will stop for a while at Riyu Gaoyuan Sightseeing Terrace and Dadu He Sightseeing Terrace respectively to enjoy the beautiful scenery, and visit Luding Bridge and the memorial upon arrival at Luding County.

Stay overnight in Luding.

Day 4 Luding - Kangding (51km part gravel road and part cement road)

Route: Luding County (alt.1330m) - Wasigou - Xiaotiandu Tunnel - Kangding County (alt.2395m)

Today, you will bike along the Dadu River for about 24km and then turn west for 27km to Kangding. Kangding is the provincial capital of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan and is inhabited by both Chinese and Tibetans.

Stay overnight in Kangding.

Day 5 Kangding - Xinduqiao (82km cement road)

Route: Kangding County (alt.2395m) - Zheduotang Village (alt.3222m) - Zheduo Pass (alt.4298m) - Xinduqiao Town (alt.3630m)

Today, you will challenge the 4300-meter-high Zheduo Mountain firstly. The uphill road is about 30km and you may need to push your bike most of the time. However, once arriving at the mountain pass, you will be rewarded with the new view of the vast Tibetan plateau, the endless waving mountains, yaks, rivers, and great views of Gongga Mountain.

Then descend for about 42 km to the colorful small town of Xinduqiao, the paradise of photographers. You will enjoy the beautiful villages and lands all the way.

Stay overnight in Xinduqiao.

Day 6 Xinduqiao - Yajiang (71km part gravel road and part cement road)

Route: Xinduqiao Town (alt.3630m) - Gao’ersi Pass (alt.4412m) - Yajiang County (alt.2530m)

Today is a challenging day again, but with enjoyable views. On the way, you will climb a 4,412m pass and cross a bleak grassy plateau for about 5.5 km. After that, the road descend steeply to Yajing at an elevation of 3,000m. You can get yourself replenished in Yajiang. The road to Yajiang is all tarmac but sometimes quite bumpy, with light traffic.

Stay overnight in Yajiang.

Day 7 Yajiang - Xiangkezong (17km cement road)

Route: Yajiang County (alt.2530m) - Xiangkezong Village (alt.3500m)

From Yajing, you will ride uphill to Xiangkezong Village, a traditional village suitable for overnight stay. Upon arrival, you can have a good rest there to prepare for the arduous cycling of the following day.

Stay overnight in the village.

Day 8 Xiangkezong - 158 Daoban (59km cement road under construction)

Route: Xiangkezong Village (alt.3500m) - Jianziwan Pass (alt.4659m) - Kazila Pass (alt.4718m) - Leida Military Depot (alt.4387m) - 158 Daoban (alt.4090m)

You will climb over two high passes today. At first climb over the 4,659-meter-high Jianziwan Pass, then the 4,718m Kazila Pass. After that, the road moves down to 158 Daoban.

Stay overnight at 158 Daoban.

Day 9 158 Daoban - Litang (46km cement road)

Route: 158 Daoban (alt.4090m) - Unknown Pass (alt.4321m) - Honglong Village (alt.4321m) - Unknown Pass (alt.4377m) - 118 Daoban (alt.4008m) - Unknown Pass (alt.4312m) - Litang County (alt.4014m)

The road goes uphill and downhill repeatedly along the way from 158 Daoban to Litang. After overcoming several passes over 4000m, you will arrive at today's destination - Litang. Litang is the world’s highest city, with an altitude of 4200m. It is also famous for the international horse racing festival held every August 1st.

Stay overnight in Litang.

Day 10 Litang - Batang (187km cement road)

Route: Litang County (alt.4014m) - Haizi Pass (alt.4685m) - Haizishan Police Station - Deda Tunnel (length 659m) - Lieyi Tunnel (length 2107m) - 323 Daoban (alt.3370) - Bogexi Tunnel (length 2743m) - Lanashan Tunnel (length 3451m) - Huangcaoping No.1 Tunnel (length 1221m) - Huangcaoping No.2 Tunnel (length 917m) - Batang County (alt.2580m)

Today, you will depart from Litang to Batang, the last stop before Tibet. First you will get into the Haizi Pass at 4685m through a good-conditioned road, and then descend to Batang. Batang is located on the bank of Jinshajiang River and is a famous supplier of good fruit in eastern Tibet, you can also see well-protected Christian churches in Batang.

Stay overnight in Batang.

Day 11 Batang - Mangkang (108km part gravel road and part cement road)

Route:Batang County (alt.2580m) - Jinsha River Bridge (alt.2451m) - Hotspring Cottage (alt.2635m) - Haitong Military Depot (alt.3536m) - Zongbala Pass (alt.4170m) - Mangkang County (alt.3875m)

Setting off from Batang, you will cycle along the flat road to Zhubalong Village located on the east bank of the Jinshajiang River. After crossing the Jinshajiang Bridge and the Zhongbala Mountain, you will arrive at Mangkang County, Tibet.

Mangkang is at the junction of roads to Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet. It is located about 1km away from the G318 National Highway. You can have warm meal and stay overnight at the local Weather Bureau rest house to take a bath and prepare for the following cycling trip.

Stay overnight in Mangkang.

Day 12 Mangkang - Dengba (91km gravel road)

Route: Mangkang County (alt.3875m) - Lawu Pass (alt.4338m) - Chuka Bridge (alt.2640m) - Jueba Pass (alt.3930m) - Dengba Village (alt.3440m)

Today you will cycle across two mountain passes and along Lancang River. At first, you will climb over the Lawu Mountain Pass and then descend to 1700m. Later, you climb up Jueba Mountain and then cycle downhill to Dengba.

As the road along Lancang River is extremely steep, you need to be very cautious and prudent and control your brake properly. However, the views of the Lancang Valley by the roadside is worthwhile.

Stay overnight in Dengba (camping).

Day 13 Dengba - Zuogong (76km cement road under construction)

Route: Dengba Village (alt.3440m) - Rongxu Military Depot (alt.4046m) - Dongda Pass (alt.5008m) - Zuogong County (alt.3877m)

Today you will climb over the highest pass in the whole route. The route of the first part combines the uphill road to Rongxu with an elevation increase of 1900m and the road leading to the highest point Dongda Mountain at over 5000m. The rest of the route descend gently to Zuogong.

Stay overnight in Zuogong.

Day 14 Zuogong - Bangda (105km cement road)

Route: Zuogong County (alt.3877m) - Tiantuo Town - Tiantuo Village - Asi Village - Bangda Town (alt.4120m)

Bangda is 105km away from Zuogng. The initial 63km of the road is asphalt road, while the following 42km is mainly dirt uphill road in poor condition. However, cycling along Yuqu River is very enjoyable.

Stay overnight in Bangda Military Depot.

Day 15 Bangda - Basu (95km cement road and gravel road)

Route: Bangda Town (alt.4120m) - Yela Pass (alt.4658m) - Nujiang River Bridge (alt.2740m) - Basu County (alt.3280m)

You will first cycle 75km from Bangda to Wadayue, most of this part is dirt road. On the way, you will cycle uphill on relatively good-conditioned road to get over Yela Mountain, also named as Nujiang Mountain. But the following downhill path to Nujiang Bridge is indeed tough. With more than 50 sharp turnings of 180 degrees, it is often called "Nujiang 72 Turnings" for the numerous and zigzag turnings.

Stay overnight in Basu.

Day 16 Basu - Ranwu (90km cement road)

Route: Basu County (alt.3280m) - Anjiula Pass (alt.4475m) - Ranwu Town (alt.3960m)

Bike 60 kilometers to Zhongsha along the dust and dirt uphill road. Then cycle 30km dust road extending to Ranwu Town, a paradise place with mirror-like lake, jade-green pines and snow-capped mountains in the distance. You will also climb over Mt. Anjiula Pass and appreciate the dream-like Ranwu Lake today.

Stay overnight in Ranwu.

Day 17 Ranwu - Bomi (132km cement road)

Route: Ranwu Town (alt.3960m) - Midui Glacier - Zhongba Village (alt.3330m) - Bomi County (alt.2725m)

Today, set off from Ranwu to Zhongba which is about 53km away. On the way, you will have a brief visit to Anmucuo and Palong Tsangpu River, go through the forestry area, and linger in the mist and clouds between mountains.

Continue cycling to Bomi. At first you will cycle on the dirt road extending to Songzong, then you ride along the slow-descending asphalt road to Bomi. There are plenty of glaciers along the way.

Stay overnight in Bomi.

Day 18 Bomi - Tongmai (92km cement road)

Route: Bomi County (alt.2725m) – Guxiang - 102 landslide area - Tongmai Town (alt.2070m)

Today you will cycle 90km to Tongmai. The 40km road from Bomi to Guxiang is not easy, but the rest 50km asphalt road will not cost you lots of strength and energy. However, road condition gets worse when you are close to Tongmai.

Stay overnight in Tongmai.

Day 19 Tongmai - Lulang (33km gravel road and 41km cement road)

Route: Tongmai Town (alt.2070m) - Laohu Zui - Pailong Town - Layue Village (alt.2372m) - Dongjiu Town (alt.2560m) - Lulang Town (alt.3370m)

Cycle along the good-conditioned road for 17km to Pailong, and you will see the wreckage of Yigonghe River flood collapse. Then continue cycling to Lulang Town. You will see the lush green forests on both sides and try the delicious Lulang Chicken Soup cooked by stone pot.

Stay overnight in Lulang.

Day 20 Lulang - Bayi (72.5km cement road)

Route: Lulang Town (alt.3370m) - Sejila Pass (alt.4559m) - Nyingchi Town (alt.3010m) - Bayi Town (alt.2930m)

Today is a fatiguing but rewarding day. At first, you will climb over Sejila Mountain to get panoramic view of Lulang Forest, then ride on the steep and poor-conditioned road to Nyingtri, and then on the asphalt-paved road to Bayi.

On the way, you can see the beautiful Niyangqu River and visit Huge Cypress Park around Bayi Town. You can have a good rest and take a shower at hostel in Bayi Town.

Stay overnight in Bayi.

Day 21 Bayi - Gongbo'gyamda (130km cement road)

Route: Bayi Town (alt.2930m) - Gengzhang Town - Baiba Town - Gongbo'gyamda County (alt.3440m)

Today you will ride along the asphalt road and enjoy the scenic mountains and rivers all along the way. Delighted by the flat road and picturesque scenery, you may arrive at Gongbo'gyamda without being aware of it.

Stay overnight in Gongbo'gyamda.

Day 22 Gongbo'gyamda - Songduo (96km cement road)

Route:Gongbo'gyamda County (alt.3440m) - Jinda Town - Jiaxing Town - Songduo Town (alt.4288m)

Continue to ride on the asphalt road for 96 kilometers to Songduo. Songduo is the only small town with room and board between Gongbu Pass and Mila Pass. In most time today, you cycle on uphill road.

Stay overnight in Songduo.

Day 23 Songduo - Lhasa (110 km cement road)

Route: Songduo Town (alt.4288m) - Mila Pass (alt.5013m) - Riduo Town (alt.4370m) - Mozhugongka County (alt.3830m) - Datse County (alt.3440m) - Lhasa City (alt.3650m)

Today you will arrive at the holy city Lhasa. Ride from Songduo to Mozhugongka for 110 kilometers. On the first 20km, the asphalt road ascends gently, but you need to push your bicycle when arriving at the second highest pass, Mila Pass (5030m).

After passing Riduo and Mozhugongka, you will head to your trip destination - Lhasa. You can have far view of the grandeur Potala Palace when you enter the Lhasa Forestry Checkpoint. The challenging tour ends here but you might feel something new after this once-in-a-lifetime Sichuan-Tibet cycling trip.

Service Inclusion

  1. Tibet Travel Permit and all other necessary permit to Tibet
  2. All lodging listed in the itinerary. If you travel individually, you will need to share one room with another tourist. If you prefer to stay in one room by yourself, you will have to pay the single room supplement
  3. Meals listed in itinerary
  4. Entrance fees of all tourist sites listed in the itinerary
  5. Local Tibetan English-speaking guide
  6. Local tour transfer, comfortable tourist vehicle according to group size
  7. Tourist accident/casualty insurance
  8. First aid kit

Service Exclusion

  1. Chinese visa
  2. International flight to and out of China
  3. Domestic train/flight not listed in the itinerary. (We offer domestic train/flight ticket booking service, please contact our travel experts for the details.)
  4. Meals not specified in the itinerary
  5. Tips and gratitude to tour guide and driver
  6. Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks, optional tour activities, etc.

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