China Motorcycle Tours2021-07-23T12:19:10+02:00

CHINAis a country like no other, having seen an incomparable rise on the world stage in the past 30 years. From the power center Beijing with its Great Wall and the Forbidden City to the densely populated east coast with economic zones and ports near Shanghai to high Himalayan peaks and deserted mountain landscapes in Sichuan and the mighty rivers and rice fields of the Yunnan province in the subtropics, China offers an incredible spectrum of landscapes and adventures. And China’s soul is just as diverse as its geography, conflicted with yesterday, today, tomorrow, living between the Maoist past, economic growth, opening up to the west and the desire for freedom. On our China motorcycle tours we show you the whole exciting spectrum of the Middle Kingdom, authentically and on dramatic and dreamy routes – and through areas that hardly a “normal” tourist has ever seen.

South of the Clouds

SOUTH WEST CHINA

16.10. – 30.10.2021
19.03. – 02.04.2022
15.10. – 29.10.2022

The South of the Clouds tour has been our most popular China motorcycle tour since 2016. We’ve now given it a thorough rework, adding new roads and mountain passes for an even more exciting and varied experience. The ride takes us through previously untraveled regions, including the greatest highlights and motorcycling routes of China’s southwestern regions. China is a huge country that covers roughly the same area as the United States. Its striking contrasts include expanses of desert and steppe, the highest mountains in the world, and the vast megacities and ports of the east coast.

Tour Overview

1 Tour in 2021
2 Tours in 2022
15 Days

Yunnan Highlights Tour

SOUTH WEST CHINA

21.08. – 29.08.2021
01.10. – 09.10.2021

The Yunnan Highlights tour is one of our most popular China motorcycle tours. This ride takes us through previously untraveled regions, including the greatest highlights and motorcycling routes of China’s southwestern regions. In Yunnan, you can still get a feel for the authentic China as it was before the transformation of recent decades. The landscapes on this motorcycle tour through Yunnan are so varied that it’s like a continent to itself. Yunnan is the northern neighbour of Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, a region of towering mountains, gorges and rice terraces.

Tour Overview

2 Tour in 2021
9 Days

Himalayan Horizon Adventure

SICHUAN

Discover the hidden highlights of the Tibetan Himalayan areas in western Sichuan. This Sichuan motorcycle tour takes you to remote and winding mountain roads, across high passes and into the areas of the Tibetan nomads. Highlights are the wide Haizi Lake Plateau at over 4,000 meters, the northern and southern Sichuan-Tibet “Highway” with endless winding roads and, as a cultural highlight, the famous Dege printing press, where Tibetan sacred texts have been printed for centuries.

Tour Overview

On Request
9 Days

On the Dragon´s Backbone

SOUTH CHINA

States an ancient Chinese poem. We put the poem to the acid test and the outcome is our brand new On the Dragon´s Backbone South China Motorbike Tour. This China motorbike tour deep into the Karst mountains and river landscapes in the very south of the Middle Kingdom is a curvy roller coaster ride you will remember for a long time. Our countryside roads lead us through the largest rice terraces on earth, along vast tea plantations, almost forgotten villages and to the bamboo boats of the Li river at Yangshuo – the landmark of South China and unforgettable endpoint of a fantastic journey.

Tour Overview

On Request
16 Days

At the Roof of the World

CHINA

This motorbike tour is an adventure for connoiseurs and the ones who are widely traveled. We will cross the Tibetan Eastern Himalayas and are riding through the four provinces Yunnan, Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai. The always sinuous mountain roads will lead us through exciting changes in culture and landscape, changes that are so manifold and high in contrast that it is like driving through a whole continent. We will discover the graslands of the nomads, will crisscross through sand and stone deserts, go up over the highest passes of the Himalayas and down along the longest rivers of asia, the Yangtze and famous Yellow river.

Tour Overview

On Request
17 Days

North Yunnan Motorcycle Tour

CHINA

This tour brings you to historic Tea Horse Road, old towns of Lijiang, Shanxi, Dali and Shangri-la, little villages at the border to Tibet, drive through one of the deepest gorges in the world and snow capped mountains. The diversity of the landscape is stunning: experience the wide Tibetan grassland, cactus-lined curvy gorge roads or a ride along the vast Erhai Lake. Extend this trip and dine with a local Tibetan family and take a glimpse at the peak of high and holy Mt. Kawa Karpo (6.700m) in the Himalayas.

Tour Overview

On Request
7 / 11 Days

Beyond Off The Beaten Track

CHINA

This adventure let you experience remote countryside roads in one of the most beautiful regions of Yunnan. We follow hundreds of kilometers the azure blue Yangtze River through deep gorges, curvy tarmac roads and some of the most beautiful old towns China has to offer. Ride and rest with us next to 5500 meter high mountains and pure nature.

Tour Overview

On Request
8 Days

Guided Motorcycle Tours through China

Start your Adventure!

China, or the Middle Kingdom, as the ancient Chinese once called their country, is almost as large as the U.S.A., however, with just under 1.4 billion people, it is home to almost four times as many inhabitants. The majority of the Chinese live in the densely populated cities of the east coast and inland – however, we at Tibetmoto Tours offer our China motorcycle tours in the south-west of the country, through the wonderful regions and mountains of the provinces of Yunnan, Sichuan, Qinghai and Guangxi.

Due to its size, China offers diverse regions and travel destinations like no other country on earth. From the massive mountain ranges of the Himalayas to subtropical and tropical areas, you will find dream destinations that can be experienced best by motorcycle. For beginners and experienced riders, we recommend the provinces of Tibet and Yunnan as well as the entire region of the Silk Road, where we do a lot of tours every year.

Buddhist monasteries and temples, snow-capped mountains and vast lakes, rivers such as the Yangtze and the Mekong offer fascinating highlights on each of our tours. On your China motorcycle tour with Tibetmoto Tours you can also meet Tibetan nomads or the inhabitants of half-forgotten villages and enjoy relaxing evenings after a long day on the bike.

Unfortunately, the Western press mostly only writes about the economic power of China and in this context about a high traffic density and sometimes heavy pollution. However, this only applies to a maximum of 20 percent of the country. Unfortunately, very little is heard of the other 80 percent of beautiful landscapes in China and the hospitality and warmth of the people. The best way to find out on your motorcycle tour China is with Tibetmoto Tours.

Here on this page you will find detailed information about your motorcycle tour in China. We offer fixed dates, but we also provide individual tours. All of our tours have one thing in common: they provide a deep insight into the culture of China and ensure an experience that remains unforgettable.

Why book a Yunnan motorcycle tour with Tibetmoto?

Tibetmoto is the right contact for your Yunnan motorcycle tour – with 10 years of in-deph on-the-road experience, an own motorcycle fleet and the status of Official BMW Partner, you are in the best hands. The province of Yunnan offers a wide variety of cultural and natural highlights and is the scene of many China motorcycle tours in our program. Highlights of a Yunnan motorcycle tour include cities such as Ljjiang, its old town being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the cities of Dali, which lies dramatically between the 4,100-meter-high Cangshan Mountains and the 21-kilometer-long Erhai Lake, and Shaxi, located on the historic Tea Horse Road, or the legendary Shangri-la, where an encounter with mystical Tibetan culture, the largest prayer wheel in the world, the huge temple complex Sumtseling and the wonderful old town made of wood will remain unforgettable.

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On our Yunnan motorcycle tours you get insights into Buddhist monasteries and temples, deep gorges such as the Tiger Leaping Gorge, third deepest gorge in the world, and small villages where time seems to have stopped. Furthermore, snow-capped mountains and wide lakes and rivers like the Yangtze and the Mekong are not missing and will amaze you. In addition, many other breathtaking natural landscapes and adventurous mountain roads, which are perfect for exploring Yunnan on a motorcycle, make the area a very special experience for every Yunnan motorcycle rider.

Tibetmoto Tours has numerous Yunnan motorcycle tours in the program, which we offer for larger groups as well as for individual riders. In addition, we can customize all of our Yunnan motorcycle tours for private tours.

The Ultimate China Road Guide – Road Conditions

For someone who has never ride in China, the traffic in some places, especially less developed places, can seem overwhelming and chaotic. However, once you understand how things are regulated in this part of the world, you can adjust and better avoid unpleasant situations.

As different and diverse China is, as different are the road conditions and circumstances in this country. Especially between the provinces you can notice condition changes. Depending on where you are traveling, you will encounter various challenges, whether as a cyclist, pedestrian, motorcyclist or car driver. Therefore, it is always important to plan carefully and determine in which region you will be traveling the next day.

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As the relaxing riding outside the major centers on highways and country roads is, as crowded are the roads in the cities themselves. The average Chinese spends 1.6 hours a day in traffic jams. You should definitely keep it in your mind on your way through cities. But even outside the major centers, detailed time and route planning is often impossible. China is a fast moving country. Where there was a clear road a few days ago, the next day there is already an insurmountable construction site. The road network is constantly being expanded, especially in the remote regions, because the Chinese government has always considered road construction to be an important part of infrastructure development. Mega road construction projects such as the new Silk Road, are promoted and quickly implemented by the Chinese government, because the expansion of the Chinese road network is one of the most important infrastructure projects of this vast empire. About 75 percent of all transportation in China is by road. With a length of over 4 million kilometers, China has the second-longest road network in the world – after the USA. By 2035, the Chinese Ministry of Transport plans to invest around 230 billion euros in further mega road construction projects.

Therefore, spontaneous road closures due to rapid infrastructure are not an isolated incident. Especially in the mountainous regions, multiple closures may occur due to landslides, snow or similar incidents and changing weather conditions. Therefore, every Rider should be prepared for all eventualities and route changes. This also includes the Chinese checkpoints (especially in the Tibetan areas).

China’s diverse landscapes through deserts, mountainous or valley areas, promise not only fantastic views, but also an unforgettable riding experience on the most winding roads in the world, through unique tunnel systems or on the longest bridges in the world.

China has, among other things, the world’s largest highway network, which extends over 130,000 kilometers and connects almost all regions with each other and also smaller villages by roads with the respective district cities. The road system is not always easy to understand, here we explain you how to distinguish the road types:

  • G – like Guódào (Chinese 國 道 / 国 道 – “national road”) are China’s national highways. The G is followed by a number – “GX” – for highways starting in Beijing (G1 to G7), two numbers – “GXX” – for national highways (e.g. G30), three numbers – “GXXX” – for national roads (e.g. E.g. G318) and four digits – “GXXxx” – for regional and local motorways (e.g. G9411). The Guodao includes both the toll highways in China (English National Expressway) and the free highways, known in China as “National Highway”.
  • “S” – like Shengdào (省道 – “provincial road”), the trunk roads are designated on the provincial level. The S is followed by one to four digits – “SX” to “SXXXX”. In each province a new start is made at S1, i. H. there are trunk roads at the provincial level with the same standard identifier but in different provinces, e.g. B. the Shandong G61 (魯 高速 / 鲁 高速), also called Qingdao – Liuting – Airport – Highway (青岛 流亭 机场 高速) and the Guangdong G61 (粵高速 / 粤高速), also called Maominghafen – Highway (茂名 港 高速) called. This includes both highways and provincial expressways or country roads which is based on the standard of the National Expressway in China.
  • “X” – like Xiàndào (縣 道 / 县 道 – “district road”), the roads on the district level are designated. The X is usually followed by three digits – “XXXX” – for the county roads, but there are also deviations with more digits or letters (e.g. XF935, county road near Yuxi). These include streets at the level of the cities, the autonomous districts, the special areas, the banners and the like. This is only followed by the street networks of the two lowest municipal levels Xiāngdào – streets of the municipality level and Cūndào – streets of the village level, the standard identifier of which is rarely shown on road maps.
  • “Y” – like Xiāngdào (鄉 道 / 乡 道 – “municipal road”), the roads at the municipal level of the municipalities are designated. The Y is usually followed by three digits – “YXXX” – for English Township Road. This representation of the “municipal roads” is seldom seen on maps; instead, only Chinese names are shown without a standard identifier. The standard identification of the “municipal roads” only exists on the actual kilometer stones. These include ordinary municipal streets and paths in large communities, municipalities, street districts, sums or the like.
  • “C” – like Cūndào (村 道 – “village street”), the roads are marked on the village level. The C is usually followed by three digits – “CXXX” – for the village road. This representation of the “village streets” is seldom seen on maps, instead only Chinese names are shown without standard identification. The standard identification of the “village streets” only exists on the actual kilometer stones. This includes the simplest municipal roads or routes.

In general, many of the road signs and markings in China are similar to those in other countries. Major roads, such as motorways and national expressways, are always properly maintained and many signs are legibly translated into pinyin or even into English.

And what about the toll?
Tolls on motorways and express highways on national and sometimes also in provinces are often commonplace. The prices are roughly comparable to the motorway tolls in Italy, i.e. very expensive by Chinese standards. It can happen that tolls are also charged on normal main roads. Beijing is the only administrative unit in which no tolls are levied for the China National Highways.

But what about the road conditions itself?
The road conditions in the mainland are generally good to very good. In the province of Yunnan, for example, the road conditions and connections are very good, but in some remote areas they are also in a somewhat poorer condition. Due to the increasing tourism, however, more and more investments are made in the expansion of the infrastructure, so that even formerly remote areas can be opened up quickly. In 2020, for example, a complete motorway network was completed that could also connect all major cities with one another. All small towns and around half of the villages can now also be reached via paved roads.

In Sichuan, for example, traffic conditions on the Sichuan-Tibet Road have also gradually improved in recent years. This has brought profound changes for the small communities along the road that could finally be reached.

Well-paved roads and standard double lanes can also be expected in Tibet. The road conditions in Tibet are generally very good. Not only is the road flat and easy to drive on, but there are often safety barriers too. In addition, all roads in Tibet are subject to interval speed restrictions in order to avoid traffic accidents caused by driving too fast.

The Ultimate China Road Guide – Road Traffic & Traffic Rules

If you put your feet on Chinese ground for the first time, the culture shock is guaranteed. If you leave the airport by taxi, you are threatened with an acute nervous breakdown – triggered by traffic! Everything works a little differently in China – seems like orderly chaos. Masses of traffic participant and everywhere omnipresent electric mopeds that speed noiselessly over streets, sidewalks and zebra crossings. Cars and buses change lanes and turn in the middle of intersections! As a walking visitor in the country you will have massive struggles to crossing the crosswalk – that has definitely to be practiced. But despite all the confusion, the traffic system somehow works and there are not many accidents at all. Perhaps it is because of anticipatory thinking, but perhaps also because of the Qi of the Chinese – who knows.

The background noise and the chaos can definitely drive you crazy, but you get used to it quickly – we guarantee that!

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What Chinese road traffic does not differ from Western countries, however, are traffic lights, signs (for the most part) and right-hand traffic – well, if that doesn’t sound good!

Here are a few tips from us on how to behave in Chinese traffic:

  • Be mindfulness! The most important tip we would like to give you is to always be careful and foresighted in Chinese traffic. We guess we don’t need to go into further detail.

 

  • The middle of the street is actually your friend! Life takes place on the street – in the truest sense of the word. Often you come across pedestrians, parked or slow moving vehicles or vehicles coming from side streets without a safe gap in the traffic. Vehicles also regularly cross the center line to overtake or avoid potholes. So always be on your guard!

 

  • Blaze of lights! Especially in the country you shouldn’t be out after dark. The danger of not seeing people or animals on the road is too great. Even unlit road users are not uncommon in China. Therefore, always drive with vehicle lights (ideally also in daylight) – so that you can see the others, but the others can also see you.

 

  • Blow horn don’t get torn! If you are driving in the middle of a road and the vehicle honking behind you is a sign that it is about to overtake. So, according to the law, you should turn right as quickly as possible and let it pass. Even when cornering, you should always sound the horn to warn oncoming traffic.

 

  • Don’t be fooled! Traffic can also often be congested, especially in large cities like Beijing. Therefore, minor accidents are often not taken as seriously as in Europe. Should you ever get involved in such a situation, most drivers accept money and just keep driving. Of course, major incidents must be reported to the local police. It can of course also happen that small accidents are made bigger than they really are. It can happen that a dead chicken is turned into a golden goose. In such a situation, don’t let yourself be unsettled or fooled.

 

  • Watch out for cameras! Despite all the chaos, you should definitely not let yourself be tempted to act like the other traffic participant because there are surveillance cameras on every corner. Not only when the speed is exceeded is flashed but the cameras really record every traffic violation. We want to say: Don’t even do a U-turn.

But now we come to the most important traffic rules in China. These are comparable to the situation in Europe. The speed limit is 30 km / h in urban areas, 60-80 km / h outside of town and 100-120 km / h on motorways.

In addition, drivers are obliged to bring a fire extinguisher and spare light bulbs with them. The alcohol limit is 0.0. Seriously the Chinese traffic participant are not having problems with car accidents concerning to alcohol. Using phone while driving is also strictly forbidden – even this rule is not abide. All drivers must also have a statutory liability insurance.

It’s not easy as a road user in China, no question about it. However, practice makes perfect. Even if you initially felt overwhelmed and insecure, you put it aside in the next moment and found yourself in the middle of the insurmountable traffic chaos without problems anymore.

Questions & Answers

Will every tour take place exactly as described in the tour itinerary?2021-01-08T23:13:47+01:00

All our itineraries give you a good overview what you will experience and discover when booking with tibetmoto. The itineraries are nevertheless best understood if they are seen as a suggestion rather than as a 100% planned and a thousand times done way of traveling. We like to keep every tour, every adventure, every trip unique and special. We are proud to say that we have never done a trip two times exactly the same way. Our team does not like to offer mainstream tourism tours, and we believe that people enjoy their time best when they have freedom and possibilities to choose from. Freedom and flexibility are very good ingredients to cook an exceptional discovery or adventure, to meet unusual people and visit off-the-beaten-track places.

How does camp life look like on expeditions?2020-11-12T18:02:03+01:00

After arriving at the camp ground we pitch up the tents, our team will set up the mobile kitchen, the electricity generator is being started and we can think of having a cold beer. All supplies and the luggage is carried by our supply truck. We do not have always pre-chosen camp grounds which are always frequented by us, since every expedition is different. Depending on the time in the afternoon we start looking for “the perfect spot”. Perfect spots have a water source such as a river or a lake and a flat piece of land for the tents. Some spots we use more frequently since they are so perfect that the location is hard to beat. Camping together with nomads offers an opportunity to experience their way of live, culture and habits. Sitting in the evening together in a nomad tent somewhere on the Tibetan grassland and listening to Tibetan nomads` songs is a truly genuine experience.

Dinner is being served in a large dining tent where we have tables and chairs to comfortably sit together, eat and drink. The separate, smaller, sleeping tents are designed to accommodate each two people, but if you choose the “single room” option (you will find that option below each expedition itinerary) you will have your own tent. Our tents are army tents where you can almost stand upright. The sleeping “hard wear” is a foldable army field bed, which puts your body about knee height away from the ground. We provide you with the entire hard wear, plus blankets and insulation mats. The only item you should bring along is your personal sleeping bag. If you don´t want to bring your sleeping bag all the way to China we can provide you with a new sleeping bag for a reasonable price.

Which documents do I need?2020-11-11T22:35:03+01:00

You will need your passport, a pass picture, national driving license, international driving license and flight ticket. Please be sure to make photocopies of all of your important travel documents and carry them separately. They can be invaluable in an emergency.

We also need a scan of the Chinese visa six weeks before the tour starts.

All scanned documents should be sent to us on an A4 sheet of original size

What can I expect from an overnight stay with a tibetan host family?2020-11-12T18:01:15+01:00

A home stay is an opportunity to get access into another culture by joining the host family for dinner and breakfast and sleep under their roof, as their guest. Most families live together in a several generation house, from children to old grandparents. A lot of home stays are semi-farms with at least a few cattle such as chicken and cows around the house. Often are fields attached where family member go to work after breakfast. Here, local family and work life can be experienced as it is instead of “only” observing it from the outside.
We believe that joining a home stay is on of the best ways to get in touch which what surrounds you in a foreign country.

How well do I have to be able to ride a motorcycle?2020-11-11T21:59:51+01:00

You should be able to ride a motorcycle safely, especially on winding mountain roads. An uncertainty is common, but you quickly get used to the local traffic. Our tour guide will give the group useful and good tips on riding in China. Before the start of the Tibet and China Motorcycle Tour, there will be an introduction to road traffic behavior.


Do I need a driving license?2020-11-11T21:57:31+01:00

For the Tibet and China motorcycle tour you need a valid national and international driver’s license.

What is the currency in China?2020-11-11T21:56:01+01:00

In China, the currency is the CNY (Chinese Renminbi). The exchange rate is around 1€ to 7.56 CNY (as of 05/2020). The CNY is not a freely convertible currency, so you cannot get it at every bank in Europe. The exchange rate, which is determined by the Bank of China, can be observed under the following link: http://www.boc.cn/sourcedb/whpj/enindex.html

However, we recommend withdrawing a larger amount of CNY from an ATM with all major credit cards or debit cards after arriving in China. Our on-site tour guide is happy to help. Due to the often very poor exchange rate for the CNY in Europe, it is not worthwhile to exchange significant amounts of CNY in Europe. There are also many ATMs in Lhasa where you can withdraw money. Our experience shows that the majority of our participants spend around 20€ a day.

What about my luggage? Where can I transport it?2020-11-11T21:51:45+01:00

The luggage will be transported in the support vehicle. Don’t forget that on domestic flights, the pastries usually cannot exceed 20 kg!

What clothes should I pack?2020-11-11T22:26:29+01:00

For a motorcycle tour you should bring motorcycle clothing including a helmet. Of course you also should pack warm clothing (as layers or as undersuit). It can get cold! You should also bring gloves and a rain suit.

How is the Road Condition?2020-11-11T21:45:13+01:00

The roads on the motorcycle tour are mostly paved (with a few exceptions). Due to the new asphalting of road sections, it can temporarily lead to a poor condition of the road. The paved roads are mostly in good condition. However, there may be isolated potholes or gravel lying on the ground. The route on the motorcycle tour also includes sections with new asphalt, on which you can enjoy European standards or even better. These routes are wonderful to ride! Due to moisture and the difficult to see oil or diesel traces, however, extreme caution is always required!

What is the deposit for renting a motorcycle?2020-11-11T21:42:45+01:00

Deposit for a rental motorcycle (partial cover):

The following cash deposits are required:

Shineray X5 400: EUR 500
BMW G 310 GS: EUR 1,000
BMW F 800 GS: EUR 1,500

If the participant/motorcyclist causes damage during the Tibet motorcycle tour, the deposit is the maximum amount.

Do I need a chinese visa?2020-11-11T21:39:18+01:00

Entry/Visa:

All participants in the Tibet and China motorcycle tours require a visa to enter China. The passport must be valid for another six months. You have to apply for the visa yourself at a service center, the Chinese embassy or on behalf of an agency. Due to frequent changes in the application procedure, we recommend that you use an agency. This is slightly more expensive than filing your own application, but it saves you a lot of work and time.

We will apply for all of the necessary Tibet permits for the motorcycle tour.

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