China: Guilin and Yangshuo

China: Guillin and Yangshuo


31 Oct – 10 Nov 2019

11 days/6 days cycling/312km

South West China’s Guilin region is the China one often imagines: hardy farmers tilling lush rice paddies with water buffaloes, bamboo lined emerald rivers snaking through farmland and pine forest, mist swept limestone peaks and ancient villages dot the countryside. It’s no wonder the region has been favoured by poets and painters for centuries.

Our ride begins in the small township of Ziyuan, populated by the Dong Minority group, and follows a route through the Yuecheng Mountains, famous for the impressive Longji, Dragon’s Backbone, and Rice Terraces where we’ll meet the friendly Zhuang, Yao and Miao people that have literally carved out their living on the mountainsides.

An undoubted highlight is cycling through the thousands of limestone karst peaks and ancient villages along the Li River. We’ll jump on bamboo rafts for the most spectacular sections along the river before cycling into Yangshuo – the regions famous laid back backpacker hub – where east meets west in rural China.



Day 1Thursday 31 October
Depart London Heathrow to Guilin via Hong Kong or Beijing.
Day 2Friday 1 November
Welcome to China! Arriving at Guilin – one of China’s prettier cities – makes for an interesting place to spend a day or two. With plenty of restaurants and eating options, shopping strips and cafes it’s a good chance to see how the local urbanites spend their evenings all against a backdrop of the area’s stunning Karst mountains. A 3hr transfer to our first night accommodation at the Bajiaozhai National Park and we’ll meet the team and answer any questions before a Chinese banquet dinner.
Day 3Saturday 2 November
Bajiaozhai NP • 2/3hr hike
Today we visit the recently listed UNESCO heritage Bajiaozhai National Park, famed for its unique red sandstone karst formations, and hike up to the Buddhist temples (1800 STEPS) on the highest peak for incredible views. After the hike, we’ll set up the bikes for the start of the ride tomorrow. And then we will settle in for a local farmer’s banquet and a taste of the local rice wine.
Day 4Sunday 3 November
Chetian • Cycle 60km
Today’s ride is an impressively varied and reasonably challenging one that takes us up into the mountains. The first 9km takes us on a small back country road out of the park. The next 12km we ride a dirt road through tiny villages and quiet forest and farmland where you’ll see local people tending rice fields or livestock. After this we follow a valley up on a paved road through larger villages gradually climbing to the top of a pass where the rewards are the spectacular views across the surrounding mountain ranges and, of course, the long winding descent. We’ll stop for lunch on the way up in a school, visiting the children in the tiny village of Baotian. For those that wish to transfer up to the top of the hills our vehicles will be available. From the top we can see the provinces highest mountain peak: Mao Er Mountain. The descent on the other side takes us through forests, narrow gullies and ravines. We pass by numerous villages and wooden houses built on the mountainsides and nestled amongst rice terraces, fruit orchards and wild forest. We have a short ride out of town where we stay in a secluded valley in a quiet comfortable guesthouse with spectacular rock formations and waterfalls ideal for hiking and swimming.
Day 5Monday 4 November
Longsheng Hot Springs • Cycle 40km
Today’s ride is a spectacular one as we have two passes, and descents, and plenty of time to stop and visit the many ancient villages along the way. This area is inhabited by Dong, Miao and Yao people and the villages see no tourism at all. One of the great experiences of the region is to simply stop and visit. Locals are sure to welcome you with a smile and are proud to see you look around their homes. It’s not uncommon to be invited in for a nice cup of tea! After the second climb it’s a long gentle downhill to the Longsheng Hot Springs. Well known in the local area this is the perfect location to stop and soak your muscles after the days ride. We stay in a small family run guesthouse in a narrow gorge with an outdoor natural hot spring. There is a great hike along the gorge to a local Miao village.
Day 6Tuesday 5 November
Pingan • Cycle 62km
Most of the terrain for today will be flat or undulating but with a steep and challenging 6km climb up to the Longji Rice Terraces to finish. Along the way we’ll pass through the county capital, Longsheng, where we’ll check out the local market. This is where much of the produce in the region ends up before being traded to far off locations around China or to kitchens locally. One of our favourite markets in China, there is an extraordinary array of goods for sale, exotic and sometimes very strange, but always colourful and fascinating. We will arrive in Pingan, the village situated in the middle of the rice terraces, with enough time so that you have time to sit back with a beer and enjoy the sunset views from the terrace of the Zhuang minority, traditionally-built guesthouse.
Day 7Wednesday 6 November
Shiertan water rafting • Cycle 60km
We start with a short and steep hike to view point 1 in the early morning. After breakfast, we set up to start ride with a fantastic downhill through dozens of switchbacks down the mountainside. We spend the day on quiet sealed roads undulating through pine and bamboo forests, often passing villages tucked away in the hills. Being close to Guilin, delicious Guilin-style rice noodles are available for lunch at the roadside. After lunch we have the option to continue on the bikes through quaint rural villages and countryside or, for those that want to shorten the ride, a rubber raft ride option is available that will take you along a small stream on a (sometimes!) thrilling ride to the hotel door!
Day 8Thursday 7 November
Xing Ping • Cycle 30km
We leave the hills behind for a morning of completely flat speedy cycling through back lanes, farmland and larger villages. Here agriculture is more intensive and you’ll see many people working the fields – you may even get the chance to help out. Just after the town of Wuteng we stop at a tea plantation for lunch – here you’ll get a chance to taste and learn about tea processing and growing as well as take part in a traditional tea ceremony. After breakfast we will pack up our bikes and take a 1 hour trip to Yangdi where the Chinese often refer to as “the finest scenery under heaven” – Karst Mountains overhanging the river. From here we’ll jump on Bamboo rafts and punt down the most spectacular section of the Li River to Xingping, an old port village, and our guesthouse with balcony views overlooking the river.
Day 9Friday 8 November
Yangshuo • Cycle 60-70km
Today’s cycling is a real highlight. We’ll cycle slightly back upstream to catch a local ferry across the Li River, after which we’ll climb out of the Li River valley. The rest of the morning we’ll ride along the ridge that lies high above the karst mountains and overlooks the Li River far below – some of the best views of the trip. We cycle through small villages, pomelo and kumquat groves, tea plantations and even the odd rice terrace. The final section of the days ride is through the stunning Dragon River Valley where we take dirt trails through rice fields and quiet villages, and perhaps stop for a quick swim, before settling in a local farmer’s village in one of the best hotels of the tour. Here we’ll be able to visit a local farmer’s house and check out the local farming techniques and lifestyle.
Day 10Saturday 9 November
Yangshuo • No cycling
Day of leisure with optional activities available. We’ll meet in the evening for a banquet dinner and celebration of the end of our cycling adventure.
Day 11Sunday 10 November
Day of departure

What’s included

Airport transfers if taking the recommended flight.
Hardtail mountain bikes with 27.5 wheels, Shimano 30 speed gears and hydraulic disc brakes.
Accommodation. 9 nights twin-sharing in hotels and guesthouses (some of which are quite basic).
All meals (except for lunch on non-cycling days) vegetarian.
Fully supported ride with with organised refreshment stops, ride leader, support vehicles, mechanic and doctor.
Private bus from Guilin to Bajiaozhai NP.
Porters in Hot spring and Longji rice terraces.
Bamboo boat tour on Li River.
Entry tickets to the Longji Rice Terraces and Bajiaozhai National Park.
All water whilst cycling (filtered) and snacks during cycling days.
Chinese (bilingual) cycling/ hiking guide for cycling/ hiking days.
FREE Norwood cycle jersey.

What’s not included

Flights to and from Guilin (we will advise what flights you should take).
Charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable).
Airport transfers outside of the times of meeting the recommended group flight.
Single room (subject to availability and on request).
Personal cycling equipment and kit.
Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities.
Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route not specified as included.
Optional cookery class.
Travel insurance.

Owing to the bespoke and complex nature of this event and its itinerary, travel arrangements are complicated. There is a long 3hr transfer to our first night accommodation and in order to reach this ahead of Shabbat on Friday 1 November, we advise our observant participants to fly out on Wednesday 30 October and check in to a hotel local to Guilin the evening of Thursday 31 October. We will then organise a separate early morning transfer to the Bajiaozhai National Park on Friday 1 November to have you checked in well ahead of candle lighting hours at 5:40pm.


How challenging is it?

This is a challenging and varied route on good specification hardtail (front suspension) mountain bikes. The terrain will vary from quiet sealed roads to dirt roads through forests and farmland. While the terrain isn’t technical, there are some challenging climbs but equally some tremendous descents! You should be physically fit and used to doing long rides of 6+ hours with a good level of endurance and the ability to sustain this over a period of days.

Note: This itinerary is complex and may be subject to change.


Any questions?

Talk to Julie on 020 8420 6811 or email

Or download the full itinerary



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1. Your Challenge

(a) To enter this challenge you must complete the online registration form. On receipt of a completed registration form and the registration deposit, you will receive confirmation of your payment and an information pack containing full details of the event. Together these form a binding contract which is subject to these terms and conditions.

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We do require a registration fee for this challenge and offer a seven day "cooling off" period whereby if you cancel your place within seven days of registration, we will fully refund your registration fee. Unless the event is cancelled by Norwood, the registration fee is then non-refundable and does not form part of the required sponsorship. Once your place is confirmed, a sum will be paid to the operator to cover the costs of any transportation , accommodation and ground costs.

If you have paid all of your costs for this challenge on registration and cancel more than 56 days prior to departure, then the registration fee as outlined in the brochure will be kept and the balance returned to you.

Immediately upon registration, you should ensure that you have a suitable travel and medical insurance policy in place to protect yourself against curtailment or cancellation.

3. Cancellation by you

If it becomes necessary to cancel your challenge, you may do so by notifying us in writing. Upon receipt and acknowledgement by us of your written advice, cancellation will take effect. The following charges will apply:

(a) A full refund of your registration fee if cancellation occurs within the seven day cooling off period from the date of registration.

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(e) Less than 14 days prior to departure and you will be liable to the loss of your registration fee and the full costs of the challenge.

We strongly recommend that travel and medical insurance be instigated at the time of registration.

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(a) More than 56 days prior to departure, your non-refundable registration fee will be transferred to your new challenge along with any sponsorship raised to date.

(b) 56 - 29 days prior to departure and costs will have been incurred for your place on the challenge. The registration fee and any sponsorship raised will therefore be used to offset any cancellation charges incurred by the charity and any balance transferred to your new challenge.

(c) 28 - 15 days, you will be liable for 75% of the cost of the challenge unless an immediate replacement can be found for your place. If an immediate replacement is found, you will lose your non-refundable deposit and will be liable for any cancellation charges. If a replacement cannot be found for your place, you will be liable for 75% of the cost of the challenge.

(d) Less than 14 days prior to departure, you will be liable for 100% of the cost of the challenge unless an immediate replacement can be found for your place. If an immediate replacement is found, you will lose your non-refundable deposit and will be liable for any cancellation charges. If a replacement cannot be found for your place, you will be liable for 100% of the cost of the challenge.

5. Cancellation by us

In the event we have to cancel the challenge whether as a result of Force Majeure or any other reason that makes it impractical to proceed with the challenge, we will provide you with a prompt and full refund of all monies that have been paid by you to us and our liability for cancellation will be capped in the amount of all monies paid by you to us. No payments are made compensating for losses or costs you incur in the case of a cancellation. You should have an appropriate insurance policy in place to protect against cancellation.

6. Travel and Medical Insurance

The registration fee does not cover insurance. You must have adequate, valid and appropriate travel insurance for your challenge which must include emergency evacuation, repatriation and curtailment cover. It is your responsibility to ensure the details of the insurance policy are provided to us at least 8 weeks prior to departure or we reserve the right to include you on the group policy and charge you a supplement. Any false or misleading information given by you in respect of your insurance policy which may result in your stated insurance company refusing to cover your costs relating to a claim, will make you fully liable and you will be responsible for covering any cancellation charges borne by the charity.

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8. Fundraising

By registering on this challenge and dependent upon which fundraising option you choose, you are agreeing to raise at least the minimum fundraising target as stated in the event brochure. Approximately 50% of each total (whatever the option) will be used to cover the costs of the challenge, we therefore require that at least 50% of your fundraising target should be reached at least 10 weeks prior to departure. The balance of the funds must then be sent to Norwood no later than 4 weeks following your return from the challenge.

If you are unable to reach the minimum sponsorship amount 10 weeks prior to departure, it is at the discretion of the charity as to whether your challenge place and registration fee are forfeited.

Fundraising money raised for one named event cannot subsequently be used against another event even if the minimum fundraising target for the first event has been exceeded unless (i) the sponsors have been informed and have consented to the monies being transferred or (ii) an event is cancelled or a participant unable to take part in which case the money pledged may be transferred. No sponsorships donations made to the charity will be refunded back to you directly and only back to individual donors upon written request.

It is also important to note that Gift Aid is NOT included as part of the minimum fundraising requirement.

9. Itinerary Changes

All of our challenges are complicated and may be subject to change. They are planned months in advance and sometimes changes to the itinerary are required which are beyond both our control and that of the operator we use. Should there be a significant material change prior to departure which is not as a result of a Force Majeure we will notify you as soon as possible.

10. Flights, airlines, travel arrangements and delays

You must check all information sent to you and make sure you arrive at the airport/point of departure in sufficient time. Airlines sometimes change aircraft and flight times without advance warning and you are asked to check your departure details. Changes made by airlines and to airport destinations do not constitute a material change to your challenge and do not entitle you to cancel.

Most flights are organised through scheduled airlines and we are bound by their terms and conditions.

We do not accept liability for any delays in your travel arrangements or reasonable changes in your itinerary as a result of Force Majeure.

11. Changes by you

Some changes may be made by you subject to availability. We will try to accommodate any changes as requested but any charges incurred will be passed directly to you.

12. Information, visas and other requirements

Any information or advice provided by Norwood on matters such as permits, government travel advice or warnings, visa, vaccinations, climate, clothing, baggage and special equipment is given in good faith but without responsibility on the part of Norwood. You accept responsibility for obtaining all necessary travel information and documentation required for the challenge. We will send you details on visa along with compulsory inoculations, but you should always seek the advice of your doctor. It is your responsibility to ensure these requirements are in place prior to departure and we accept no liability if you are denied entry to any country, port or airport detailed on the itinerary.

13. Standard and quality of accommodation and services

You should not have unreasonable expectations of the facilities that will be provided which in some remote areas and destinations may be below what you expect at home. Wherever possible, rooms will be shared with someone of your choice. Numbers per room will vary subject to size, location and availability.

14. Acceptance of risk and release

(a) You should be aware that this is a challenge. In addition to the usual dangers and risks, some of which may include physical exertion for which you may not be prepared, you may also experience weather extremes and remoteness from normal medical services. You acknowledge that the enjoyment and excitement of participating in a challenge is derived from this inherent risk in travelling and undertaking activities outside of normal safety levels at home. You agree to observe all instructions and rules issued by Norwood, its agents and suppliers whether before, during or after the challenge. The challenge leader may at any time during the course of the challenge terminate your participation if they consider it necessary for the health and safety of either you or the group.

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These Terms and Conditions and the contract of which they form a part as described in paragraph 1(a) above is and all non-contractual obligations and other matters arising from or connected with it are governed by English law. The courts of England have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute arising from or connected with these Terms and Conditions and the contract of which they form a part as described in paragraph 1(a).

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