Yunnan to Guizhou: Cycling in South Guizhou
From Yunnan to Xingyi and the southern route to Libo
Yunnan to Guizhou and Guilin takes about 3 weeks cycling no matter whatever direction you take. The road leads you to the Stone Forest, one of those famous beauty spots in Yunnan and according to locals and foreigners, a "must see" place. From the Stone Forest it leads to Xingyi and there you can follow the route described on this page: the southern route! Many of the roads have been upgraded, some even to motorway. Still, with the lack of traffic in general, it will still be a great journey.
The spectacular rock formations and caves near Mojiang. This was
one of the surprised on my bicycle journey from Yunnan to Guizhou
Yunnan to Guizhou is one of my favorite journeys I cycled in China. True, there are more beautiful areas in China. True there are higher mountains and better roads. But the thing that made this road from Xingyi to Guilin so nice was the remoteness of the area.
This part of Guizhou has not much more to offer then a great bike ride on partly bad roads in areas in nice landscapes. People are nice and amazingly friendly, surprised to see a lao wai passing their town. And not seldom, especially in the small towns and villages, you get a cup of tea or a meal when you stop to buy something or ask for directions.
Yunnan to Guizhou: the road to Libo , see my story about Libo
This part of China, though not too far from the main tourist trails, is hardly traveled. There's little public transport on these roads. The towns are pretty standard: see one, see them all.
I left Yunnan once in the middle of November. This time of the year Yunnan is still quite nice and warm with temperatures over 20°C but once I crossed the Guizhou border and arrived in the lower areas, the temperature went also a bit down.
Compared to the Yunnan plateau the difference was around 5°C cooler and of course it would soon become even colder as the winter was approaching.
At daytime it was between 10 and 15°C which was not too bad. And most of the days it was dry too. I left the main road between Xingyi and Nanning (324) in Ceheng.
If you decide to take his road, it's recommended to stay here a night stay. Some of the people I talked to told me the road was quite bad. They didn't really understand why I was willing to go there.
The first 15 km where on a beautiful road. Views were nice too with mountains around and paddy fields. There were hardly villages here. It was cycling in the middle of nowhere. But after 15 km the beautiful road surface stopped and I ended up on a dirt road. Once in a while a truck or local bus passed me to disturb the peace of the land.
My first destination that day was Wangmo. On the map it didn't look far, just over 60 km but considering the road condition and the hills it was far enough. It was a good overnight stop.
Another 65km further on my way from Yunnan to Guizhou lies Sanglang. And although 65 km doesn't seem too bad for a day, it wasn't all too easy. The road again is quite bad with 5 difficult mountains to climb. The village of Sanglang, it's no more then a village is laid out along a riverside in a valley, it's a one street town. There's no special reason to stay here but the next stop is too far ahead.
There's a basic hostel and some basic restaurants. People here see very seldom travelers and it's likely you'll join them for a drink in the evening and have fun. (if you take this road, don't be surprised the locals show you some pictures of me. Sanglang was one of the top favorite places I have visited in my journey from Yunnan to Guizhou because of the people. As it usually goes, the nicest people I met in areas with little tourism.
By the time I was in Luodian I had covered the western half of south Guizhou and 200 km of dirt roads. I was tired and wanted a rest. After all, I had cycled now 5 days in a row. Luodian didn't seem to be much of interest which was good. I would be able to get some rest, do some laundry and do nothing for a day.
That was until I went in an Internet cafe. Here I met a nice couple who invited me to see some of the surrounding, especially a little town called Mojiang. We would go on bicycle since it was not far, about 12 km or so). Mojiang is located a few kilometers from the main road near the mountains. There's long trekkings in the area possible and in the village there are several people willing to guide you.
Since I was with friends, we first had to visit some relatives and had meal. They recommend an older woman who brought us to an amazing spot, just outside the village. There's many caves but we didn't have the time and the equipment to get in and explore these caves which are seldom visited.
Luodian to Guilin
After Luodian the road was new and in excellent state. It lead me first to Dushan, a crossroads with the motorway south into Guangxi. I went southeast following another new and quiet road to Libo.
Though this road is very new it is also very quiet. As said earlier, this part of Guizhou is seldom visited and even locals do not seem to travel much. Just before Libo there another new road north which gives the option to visit Sanjiang and Longsheng. I went to Libo, just a few kilometers away. (Here is more about Libo)
The town is nicely laid out in a valley surrounded by mountains along a river. It's not a big town but pleasant. There's good treks to do in the surrounding. It seems the local authorities see potential for future tourism as there are many hotels in town.
Until recently Libo was a sort of "dead end street" as the continuing road to Huangjiang was in very poor state. After Pingzhai the road was no more then a mud path when I cycled it in 2001. For over 40 kilometers I was struggling in the mud. At some points the mud was so deep I had to push my bicycle.
That should now be changed. When I passed road construction work was in progress and should be finished now. Libo should no longer be a "dead end street" town and well connected to Huangjiang and Hechi in Guangxi.
Huangjiang contains probably the cheapest and nicest hotel I ever had. For Y80 I got a double room. One room contained a couch for at least 10 people. The room had also a big TV. There was a walk through to the bed room. Here again a big TV and a king size bed. Both rooms had toilets, one western, one squad. It was a good moment for me to have an extra day rest. See my story about cheap accommodation in China
Nearby is Hechi which I had visited earlier and I skipped it now. Hechi however is a good place to stay for a day or two and explore the limestone mountains south of the city. The scenery here is similar to Yangshuo-Guilin though the mountains are higher and rougher.
Disadvantage of this route is the upgraded provincial road to motorway but it is only one day to Yizhou. This means the road is in excellent condition but it also contains a lot of on going traffic between Guiyang and Guilin. It's only until Yizhou you have this problem. After Yizhou there are two possibilities:
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Accommodation in China
Sometimes it is amazing how cheap hotels in China can be. Outside the tourist areas, a 3 or even 4 star hotel room can be as cheap as a dormitory room in tourist areas as this story clearly shows.
Cycling in North Guizhou
North Guizhou, the road from Xingyi to Anshun, Guiyang and further to the minority villages of Dong and Miao in Zhaoxing, Sanjiang and Longsheng's' famous rice terraces.
Cycling in Guangxi
Guangxi has a few areas worth to visit. Yangshuo is an obvious choice, but there are a few more, get a bicycle and cycle through some remote areas to find some amazingly beautiful sites.