Xining – Chengdu: Motorbike Expedition through Eastern Tibet and over the Himalaya2020-12-16T13:47:01+01:00

Xining – Chengdu: Motorbike Expedition

Through Eastern Tibet and over the Himalaya

On this expedition we cross the eastern Himalaya from the capital of Tibet Province – Qinghai (Xining) and drive to the capital of Sichuan : Chengdu. We cross grasslands, drive along the Yellow River through landscapes of sandstone, meet and camp with nomads and visit one of the largest monasteries of Tibet: Sertar. We often go to a level beyond the 3000 meters and cross curvy mountain passes. At the Tibetan Thanka blacksmith Tongren we learn about the Tibetan art and visit the old town with pilgrims. A journey through the original, rural China and Tibet. This adventure can be booked together with the Chengdu – Dali that takes place right after this trip.

Thanks for the …

… great organization. During the tour everything worked out great. I really enjoyed riding on these chinese roads!

Tom G.

An expedition …

… through the eastern Himalaya. What a great adventure! We had so much fun!

Christopher D.

Thanks for …

… the spare wheel. Unfortunately, my motorcycle had a minor damage which the mechanic could not repair immediately. But that wasn’t a problem at all. I got a replacement bike straight away and the tour continued again.

Max M.

On Request

On Request

11 days / 10 nights / 9 riding days

Expedition with overnight stays in hotels and guesthouses and 6 nights in the tent (camp). With mobile kitchen and lounge tent.

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Eastern Tibet Motorcycle Expedition – Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Xining

Pick-up service from the airport and acclimatization. Joint Dinner in the provincial capital of Qinghai.

Day 2: Xining – Kumbum Monastery – Qinghai Lake

After breakfast we start with our trip. Before we get to the nearby 3,800 meters Qinghai Lake we take a break and visit the monastery of Kumbum Monastery (Ta He Si). The monastery dates from 1578 and is one of the six largest monasteries of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. Arrived at the Qinghai Lake , we set up our first camp near a small monastry on a sandy beach. The Qinghai Lake (Kokonor) is considered one of the largest salt lakes in the world.

Distance: approx. 180 km

Day 3: Qinghai Lake – Yellow River

From Qinghai Lake we go further to the Tibetan highlands and continue over a plateau which is inhabited by nomads and grazing yaks, before arriving on the shores of the Yellow river. The viwe on the Qinghai Lake from the top is spectacular. We visit the Xiaqiong Monastery, which is one of the most important in this part of Tibet (Amdo). On this day, we set up our camp on the bank of the Yellow River.

Distance: approx. 200 km

Day 4: Yellow River – Tongren

The journey takes us over tibetan grassland to Tongren where we spend the night in a hotel. Before we arrive in Tongren we pass the monastery Achung Namdzong. It is one of the most important monasteries of the Nyingma school. Tongren is a center of Tibetan art and culture. Here you can purchase hand-painted Thangkas ( Tibetan paintings on animal skin ) or just watch the goings on the street.

Distance: approx. 170 km

Day 5: Tongren – Xiahe (Labrang-Monastery)

Labrang is one of the largest temple complexes of the Gelugpa school in the world. Several mountain slopes are planted with small one- or two-storey accommodation and temples for the monks. The mountain slopes are surrounded by grasslands and around 2800m altitude. Today the monastery is one of the most important educational institution of Tibet. In the 18th century it became a trading center because of its location on the Silk Road and Tibet. The monastery is located in a river valley and there are wonderful opportunities to camp here.

Distance: approx. 120 km

Day 6: Xiahe (Labrang-Monastery) – Langmusi

Langmusi is a small Tibetan village amidst grassland and coniferous forest and marks the boundary between the provinces of Gansu and Sichuan. The village is surrounded by small red and white painted monasteries, such as the Kerti Monastery, yak herds and pine trees. this night we stay in a small guest house.

Distance: approx. 200 km

Day 7: Langmusi – Jiuzhi

The road leads towards south along the high plateau until we reach the mountains. Our destination today will be Jiuzhi, where we will get some rest before the long ride to the monastery city of Sertar on the next day.

Distance: approx. 210 km

Day 8: Jiuzhi – Sertar

The jounary leads us today over more than 7 passes of 4000m height, along barren grasslands and endless distances. The effort is worthwhile, because Sertar is a highlight of this trip. Sertar is the largest Buddhist educational institution in the world and was built up the hill over generations. The amazing view and the architectural extent can not be understood only by looking at photos.

Distance: approx. 340 km

Day 9: Sertar – Aba

Slowly but surely we are leaving the Tibetan grasslands and drive through pine forest and along small lakes to Aba where we will stay a longer time in our camp.

Distance: approx. 280 km

Day 10: Aba – Chengdu

On the last day of riding we get back to civilization. Chengdu is a large, modern and vibrant city and also the provincial capital of Sichuan.

Distancee: approx. 340 km

Day 11: Chengdu Departure

Transfer to the airport.

Questions & Answers

Included Services2020-11-16T16:24:59+01:00

Included Services:

  • Overnights stays in  hotels and guest houses
  • English speaking tour guide
  • Accompanying vehicle for pillion riders, equipment and luggage
  • Meals (Breakfast, lunch), mineral water
  • Gas, engine oil, spare parts
  • Help with applying a Chinese visa
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.

How is the climate in Tibet?2020-11-11T22:27:20+01:00

The temperature differences between day and night are around 10 degrees or more. Especially in the Himalayan areas it can often get very cool, especially when the sun is not shining. During the travel times of the Tibet motorcycle tour, rain can only occur in exceptional cases. However, you should be prepared for everything and have warm and water-repellent clothing in your luggage.

How are the hotel in Tibet?2020-11-11T22:25:06+01:00

The hotels in which you stay have a decent, but typical three to four star standard. All rooms have a private bathroom, with the exception of the Rongbuk Monastery.

Do I need vaccinations?2020-11-11T22:24:05+01:00

Vaccinations are not required for the Tibet Motorcycle Tour.

Altitude Sickness and Oxygen Supply2020-11-11T22:22:16+01:00

from Lhasa we will provide medical oxygen. This can support a person with oxygen for up to 24 hours. Before starting the Tibet Motorcycle Tour, you should also contact a doctor who will prescribe a Diamox. Diamox is a drug that can be taken prophylactically against altitude problems. As a result, groups that take Diamox hardly or not at all experience altitude-related symptoms. For a smooth running of the Tibet Motorcycle Tour, the personal health and well-being of each participant is important. We therefore strongly recommend that you consider taking Diamox.

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:

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


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.

Tour Concept by RC Hendrik

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