Xian to Chengdu
If you would decide to cycle from Xian to Chengdu calculate about two weeks. The question of course, is it worth? The first part out of Xi'an goes on big roads. Take the junction Xingping and Zhouzi. After Xingping the road is smaller and very quiet. Looking south there's the Qing Ling mountains. The road you're on leads in the end to Lanzhou, many hundreds of kilometers away.
Crossing the Qingling mountains can only be done (in this area) by two roads: roads numbers 210 and 108. If you want to use the 108, Zhouzi is where you have to head to. Zhouzi has, as so many other small Chinese towns, a comfortable hotel.
The town is located near the banks of the river Weir He in the northern lowlands.
The ride to Foping (130km) can be done in one day but you probably need to whole day. It is possible to camp on the way. Make sure you buy food before the last climb starts since there are no villages in the hairpin curves going up.
At the time I cycled Xian to Chengdu, this road (108) was almost abandoned. Apart of a few little villages there's no people living here. If you enjoy river valleys and road that slowly swindle up the mountains, lush forests and beautiful sceneries, this is your road.
The road was in the second part going up, all the way to over 1700 meter. Since the road was in good condition it wasn't really a difficult climb.
The reason why there was hardly any traffic was that floods had destroyed large parts of the road further south. The road recently (it was in 2002) was destroyed by floods and there was severe damage on it.
At some parts it was impossible even to cycle. By the time you read this, the road is again in good condition and you would be able to have an enjoyable ride from Xian to Chengdu. Repairs were at the time when I passed already started.
Foping is a nice little town in the middle of the Qing Ling mountains with some hotels and possibilities to hike in the area. The town is set up on the riverbank. The Qing Ling mountains were the base of many folk tales in Chinese history.
The Ming dynasty build 13 of their tombs in the Qing Ling mountains though the tombs lie more to the east of the little town of Foping.
If you decide to hike, you may be very lucky to see panda's. The mountains here have a small population of pandas still living in the wild. But if you would like to see pandas, Chengdu is a far easier place.
After Foping another climb (new road) will bring you to the south part of the Qing Ling mountains and south Shaanxi. The biggest city here is Hanzhong though I stayed in Chenggu, Mian Xian and Ningqiang. On the way from Xian to Chengdu you come in the area of Guangyuan and the Sichuan flat lands are not far away.
Before Guangyuan a surprise is waiting. Along the road side, just 4 km north of the city there are caves with Buddha statues called Guangyuan Thousand Buddha Cliffside Statues.
Some of the statues in the caves are more then 1000 years old. There's dozens of them and can be visited right from the road. the complex is the biggest in Sichuan.
The caves may not be as famous as Luoyang but they are as good. Guangyuan is located at a sort of junction. The railway with train to and from Chengdu pass here. Guangyuan is a big city. There's not much reason to stay here more then a night.
By now you are riding in the flatlands of north eastern Sichuan. This is not the nicest area to cycle and it's another 5 to 6 days to Chengdu. The closer you come to Chengdu, the bigger the roads become.
The total journey from Xian to Chengdu would cost you around two weeks but this depends of course how many kilometers a day you make and if you take resting days.
Other pages related to Sichuan and Xian:
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Cycling in China visiting tourist sites means collecting entrance tickets. It seem the Chinese do want to give you value for your money. And I admit ... many are very nice:
Map of Sichuan
Xiahe, Langmusi and the road to Chengdu
I did this road some years ago in the winter. It was in the time that Hezhou was still off limits.
Here is more about the road in between Xiahe and Chengdu
and a story how to obtain a bus ticket: