Tag Archives: cycling adventure in china

China: 5 Fast Facts

Chopsticks at the ready! With Chinese New Year celebrations about to kick off for another year, we thought we’d take a closer look at this enthralling country and its fascinating customs.

Most of you at some point will have gorged on a lip-smacking Chinese takeaway and been left baffled by the trademark fortune cookie saying at the end of your meal. Some of our favourite ‘wise words’ over the years include, ‘a very attractive person has a message for you’ (oo-aa) as well as ‘a good way to keep healthy, is to eat more Chinese food’ (oh fortune cookie, why can’t you be true?!) Little did we all know that this novel end to our Asian feast was but a cheap rip-off, conjured up on shores far from China (America to be precise) and never to be actually seen or served in a traditional Chinese restaurant. Well, we knew it was wishful thinking to believe that good-looking individual existed anyway!

Casting aside your newfound doubts as to the foundations of one of your favourite take-out options, it’s safe to say China has so much more to offer us than their endless buffet dishes. Oh yes, alongside Babylon, India and Egypt, China is considered one of the four ancient civilisations of the world, according to the scholar Liang Qichao. Whilst we can’t back up this claim outright, this is certainly a land where ancient history still radiates in everyday life. So, for those interested in learning more about the home of chopstick dining, here’s our fast facts to get you up-to-speed with all things Chinese…

New Year Celebrations last for 15 days…
If you thought one night of celebrations was enough, the Chinese put us to shame by spending over two weeks rejoicing this special time of year. For westerners the classic Chinese New Year see’s the streets bursting with noise and colour, and legend has it that this way of celebration was to keep the monster Nian, who would return at this time of year, at bay. With close ties to ancient tradition, many still like to honour their ancestors during this time too.


Red is the national colour of China
Their flag may give this away a little, but red is also considered the countries luckiest colour! From lovely lanterns hanging in the streets to the top colour of choice for Chinese brides (there’s no white frocks here!), you’ll be greeted with a splash of red wherever you go in China. Believed to represent happiness, beauty, success and good fortune, we can see why the streets are literally bursting with this shade.

China has 52 national heritage landscapes…
The UNESCO World Heritage Site has awarded the country many worldwide treasures and comes second only to Italy. Sites of note include the impressive Great Wall of China, Protected Panda sanctuaries and the ethereal peaks and caves of the Bajiaozhai National Park (also explored during our cycling adventure to Guilin and Guangxi). With so many stunning gems to explore, this really is a photographers dream destination.

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For the love of tea…
China is one of the biggest tea producers in the world and is considered one of the first countries to start drinking this now classic beverage. Chinese legend has it that Emperor Shennong (said to have lived 5,000 years ago) discovered this pick-me-up when leaves from a tea bush fell into the water his servants had been brewing for him. At first considered a purifying tonic, used for medicinal purposes only, it has since grown into one of the world’s most favoured thirst quenchers.

The Great Firewall of China…
Don’t panic, the iconic Great Wall of China hasn’t gone up in flames! This fantastic pun plays on China’s internet ban on the wests popular digital feeds. Blocked by the government since 2009, travellers here will have to manage without their daily newsfeed updates. Oh well, sounds like a fab reason to really disconnect from your everyday lives and get connected with the people and places that matter on your adventure.

Want to find out more fascinating Chinese facts? What better way to put your new found knowledge to the test than by heading to China for yourself. Our cycling adventure here takes place in Guilin and Guangxi and explores some of the countries most beautiful natural landscapes, including the stunning Li river and the rural communities that call this part of the world their home.

5 reasons to cycle China in 2017

With the ‘Year of the Rooster’ now in full swing, here are our top 5 reasons to join us for a cycling adventure in China this year…

  1. The perfect place for some peaceful pedalling.Forget Trump, Brexit negotiations and Oscar-hype, time to disconnect from the West and cast your mind to grazing water buffalo and tranquil rice paddies…
  2. A glimpse at an ancient way of life. Our holiday takes you off the popular tourist trail and heads deep into the heart of rural China. Expect charming villages, a rnage of fascinating local accomodation and plenty of opportunity to meet friendly locals.
  3. Because the landscapes really are otherworldly…and as impressive as the photographs lead you to believe. Both the emerald Li River and characteristic limestone peaks provide spectacular scenery that will continue to amaze.
  4. Weird, wonderful and yummy food will fuel your ride! A banquet of local dishes promises to expand your food palate and offer a treat for the taste buds. Make sure you sample some of the fresh, local dishes, or why not try noodle soup for breakfast?
  5. A chance to try something a little bit different.Many of our holidays offer this experience, but China has some exciting activities we think you’re going to love! From floating down the river on a bespoke bamboo raft to bathing in a natural hot spring, this destination won’t disappoint.

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Looking for something a little bit different?
For more Asian adventures packed full of extraordinary landscapes and fascinating local culture, take a look at our holiday range exploring South East Asia.

A Chinese cracker…

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Skedaddler Trevor Peake recently headed out to China to check out the amazing sights, sounds and experiences found during our Guilin and Guanxi tour. Here’s what he had to say…

‘LET’S skedaddle,” said tour guide Scott, and his 11 clients enthusiastically mounted up for the next stage of their Chinese adventure. It was day three and the first and only time our Australian leader used the word ‘skedaddle’ to marshal his troops, but we were all there as Skedaddlers, having signed up for the Guilin and Guangxi cycling holiday eager to explore this unique corner of the world.

In brief:

  • A window into the past
  • Challenging yet rewarding riding
  • Immersed in extraordinary local culture

In detail:

1.History in motion

‘Our group met in Guilin, a city of two million people on the banks of the Li River, just over an hour’s flight from Hong Kong. The next morning we were off on a four-hour bus ride to Bajiaozhai National Park. An interesting introduction to rural China. At the national park our first afternoon was spent climbing over 1,800 steps and negotiating precipitous walkways to a Buddist temple with spectacular views over the Karst.’

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What an epic trip it turned out to be, cycling in deepest rural China with the magnificent Karst mountains providing the back-drop to a memorable nine days in the saddle. Over 40 years ago I spent several months travelling overland back to England, after a couple of years in Australia and New Zealand, and as I journeyed through Asia it proved endlessly fascinating. It’s no less fascinating today, with many rural Chinese still toiling in the fields, or burdened down with yokes with baskets at either end, walking to market, then sitting, seemingly for hours, alongside a small bundle of their wares. All timeless occupations, which have gone on for generations. There aren’t as many bicycles as I remember in Asia. These days it’s mainly mopeds and scooters, while, even in the back of beyond many people, young and old, seem to have the latest mobile phones. But much of life carries on as you would imagine it did in England in the Middle Ages.

2. What goes up must come down…
My pre-trip training regime had consisted of 30 to 40-mile stints, mainly on the canal towpaths around where I live, so I was found wanting on the first day, having to walk a couple of uphill stretches, with ever-patient Scott (our guide) cajoling me along. Admittedly, at 73, I was giving the next youngest 15 years and they were all damned good cyclists, but a bit more hill work in training would not have gone amiss. Having said that, by the end I was toiling up all the hills with the rest of them, although admittedly still at the back. But what goes up must come down and there were some fantastic, long downhill swoops on most days. Day one ended after 45 fascinating miles at Chetian, in a secluded valley with a stream running right outside the guesthouse. A couple of beers and a cold shower, for the one and only time on the trip, revived me.

4. Local culture…

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After lunch on day two a long downhill trundle through the area inhabited by the Dong, Miao and Yao people, ended at Longsheng Hot Springs, a dip providing much needed succour to my aching limbs. Next morning we had a pre-breakfast stroll to the local Miao village before a magical day cycling alongside the Min river, with an hour spent looking round the market at the county capital Longsheng, where all manner of everything was on sale. Live chickens, ducks, rabbits, frogs, toads and even allegedly barbecued rat, although nobody was game to buy any. One of the most striking things was the myriad succulent vegetables, all grown in this most fertile part of China. The day ended at Pingan, a village famous for its rice terraces, where we were to spend our first rest day. The hotel could only be accessed by several hundred steps and a group of lady porters were on hand to carry our heavy bags up to the accommodation – thankfully. You could even have taken advantage of a sedan chair and been carried there, but we all declined.

‘A steady climb through pine and bamboo forests brought us to our lunch stop, where we sampled delicious Guilin-style rice noodles

One of the highlights of the trip was an hour in a two-man rubber dinghy on a white-water river, direct to the next hotel at Sheirtan. Next day we enjoyed a glorious ride through rural villages and paddy fields ended in an early afternoon visit to a tea plantation. An evening exploring the busy night market in Guilin, then it was back in the saddle the next morning to head out through the teeming city streets back into the rural backwaters.

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Feeling inspired?
Trevor cycled our adventure, China – Guilin and Guangxi, for more information about this cycling holiday click here.

trevor is also the winner of our 2016 July customer competition. For more information about this click here.