Through the Tiger Gorge

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Through the Tiger Gorge

You cycle through wonderful valleys, beautiful cities, cycle to the Tibetans on the Zhongdian plateau and through the world-famous Tiger Gorge. A very impressive cycle route with beautiful views: the cycle route through Yunnan.


944 km





Travel time:

4 weeks

Best travel period














9 / 10


9 / 10

1 Dali, the historic center of the Bai minority
2 Lijiang, declared as a World Heritage Site, with the Jade Dragon Snow Mountains in the background
3 the Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest in the world
4 Zhongdian, with the Tibetan monastery nearby

Explore the freedom!

You cycle at height, between 1300 and 3800 meters. The rise is very gradually so that your body can get adjusted to the height differences. The cycling route starts in Kunming, the city of eternal spring, at an altitude of 1900 meters. In this city, the climate is always mild. It is a large and busy city, with a lot of new construction, but there is plenty to see. You can take some interesting day trips, with or without your bicycle. You can visit an impressive temple or you the much-visited Stone Forest.

You take the bus to Dali (300 km) an old, but tourist town. Here the cycle route commences surprisingly, with a boat trip on the lake. You then cycle into the first out of three valleys.

You will descend from 1900 to 1300 meters. On the fourth day cycling, you will move through a beautiful valley, an impressive gorge, and a long climb to Lijiang, a busy and old town. Lijiang is known for its unique Naxi culture, who originate from Tibetan nomads. This is a place to stay for a few days and take a few day trips. You then cycle to Qiaotou, the base to the Tiger Gorge. Not for you however, as this place is very touristic. If you want, you can take day trips into the gorge and experience the crowds, however a week later you will move through the gorge from the other side, where you will encounter less tourists.

From Qiaotou you climb to the Zhongdian plateau (renamed by the government in Shangri-La). This is where the Tibetans live. You will be able to see the farms and farmlands on the plain, which is very photogenic. Zhongdian is worth to stay a few days in, where you can make a trip to a Tibetan monastery.

Next up are some (also literal) highlights of the trip. A trip over three passes, past snow-capped mountain peaks. A stay in Baishuitai, with famous limestone rocks and the isolated Haba at the slopes of the Snow Mountain. These are great places to experience daily life in the highlands.

Afterwards, you descend 23 km into the Tiger Gorge and cycle through. You surround yourself with rocks and below you swirls the river Yangtze. Halfway through you will find accommodation. Enjoy the stunning views from the terrace!

You cycle back to Dali via Qiaotou and discover the daily life in China in cities rarely visited by tourists. Take a day trip to several beautiful temples.

In Dali, you take the bus back to Kunming, from which you fly back home.

Three stages require a lot of climbing: 20 to 30 km, with slopes of 4% on average.
You cycle at height, between 1300 and 3800 meters, the ascent is gradual.
Longer stages can be interrupted in one or more places.
It’s very easy to shorten your trip by taking the bus at some points.
The roads on this route are of good quality.
The roads are good on this route. The (freight) traffic on this route is, unfortunately, increasing due to the road works around the Tiger Gorge.
Arranging alternative transportation for you and your bicycle is relatively easy. This route can be combined with: “The Colorful Route” or “The Discovery” from Kunming to Hanoi.
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