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Scenic tour in China?

Discussion in 'Asia' started by John Harden, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. John Harden

    John Harden Commuting Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,032
    Location:
    Southern California
    I'll be travelling to the Beijing and/or Shanghai area (from USA) for business in June for about 2-3 days. I'm considering extending my stay for another 7-10 days and renting a motorcycle (ideally with helmet, gear, etc.) and going on a sightseeing tour.

    Any advice you'd like to offer on either rental places, tours, accommodations along the way, scenic routes? Only constraints are the time (7-10 days) and the fact that I'll need to wind up back at my starting point to catch the return leg of my flight back home.

    I do not speak Chinese, but have travelled extensively while in the military (albiet many years ago) so am comfortable in different settings and always seem to get by.

    Regards,

    John
    #1
  2. SCQTT

    SCQTT Zwei Kolben

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,702
    Location:
    Mike's Sky Rancho
    I want to do the same thing sometime.

    I go over about 4 or 5 times a year for work. I should take advantage of being on the other side of the world and take some time off and have a vacation there. My plan was to find a tour company that provides a 100% guided trip. I would think that the airfare over there would be a huge percentage of the trip cost so why not take advantage of being there. I would hope that you could do a 10 day trip for $1.5K - $2K and that covers everything.

    I have been going for 7 years and I can tell you the whole place is rapidly changing.
    #2
  3. John Harden

    John Harden Commuting Adventurer

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    I found a few tour companies and the prices aren't too bad. Here's one:

    http://www.edelweissbike.com/tours/E

    Silk road tour is 10 days and runs from $4700-$7000 depending on whether you ride alone, two up, and share a hotel room versus get your own room, and what kind of bike you ride (Chinese 600 or 1150 BMW GS Adv).

    Prices don't include airfare or gas, but do include the bike ($2000 crash deductible), tour guide, permits, hotel rooms, etc.

    I typically don't like the restrictive nature of a tour and prefer to go my own way, but also have to face the reality of I know NOTHING about China or how to get around, deal with local laws (you can't ride even large motorcycles on some freeways), police, etc.

    Where do you fly to when you travel there?

    Regards,

    John
    #3
  4. motoreiter

    motoreiter Long timer

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    Oct 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,337
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    From what I know about riding in China, you cannot ride on your own and must have an official escort the entire time. This is apparently expensive and takes quite a while to set up. You also need a Chinese drivers license (not an International one, like usual). Go to Horizons Unlimited and search for China for more info.
    #4
  5. Brice

    Brice Long time no see

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    South China
    You can ride on your own in China but like everywhere you need a driver license.

    It happens that China do not recognize International/national driver license therefore you need a local one. Conditions to get it vary from one province to another one and I'm not sure that the proximity of the Olympics will help.

    Bringing your own bike is complicated and costly in all cases.

    I find these bike tours very expensive considering the cost of life here but if you are not ready or don't have the time to be on your own and walk the line they are the only solution to ride in China.

    Beemer Boy thread about his trip in China is a good example of what you can do by yourself and the risks taken.

    Also do not forget that most of these bike tours are in the South West part of China (Sichuan, Yunnan). These areas are very different (landscape, population) from the east and central China. For a first trip visiting some Chinese landmarks (Beijing, Xian, Guilin, ...) is a must.
    #5
  6. John Harden

    John Harden Commuting Adventurer

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    Thanks for the great information. I'm firming up my trip and beginning to take a closer look at my options for either a guided or self tour.

    Regards,

    John
    #6
  7. motoreiter

    motoreiter Long timer

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    John, please keep us posted, I'd be interested to know what you find out about the unguided trips in particular.
    #7
  8. deaninkl

    deaninkl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    153
    Location:
    KL, Malaysia
    You will almost certainly need to join an auganised tour. Renting bikes in China is difficult, geting a licesne for a bike requires you to have a residency permit. It is very complicated and each different person you talk to has a diiferent take on the rules. I have a bike license for china but it took a lot of getting, and then getting a decent bike is even more difficult. Withe olympics comming expect even moredifficulty as they have already started restricting visas.

    That all sounds a little negative, I don't mean to be, but China simply does not want foreigners roaming the provinces on bikes.

    good luck.
    #8
  9. ace1974

    ace1974 ADVrider Tibet

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    39
    Location:
    Lhasa, Tibet : The kingdom of buddha
    I am a Taiwanese living in Tibet.

    To ride in China is even difficult for us - Taiwanese people.

    Where to ride is a big problem!
    Most of the main cities are not allowed to ride motorcycles.
    You need to know where you cannot not ride.... or you will get the ticket or lose your bike.
    And when you travel from place to place, you will certainly pass by some big cities........

    To get the China Driver's lisence ? it's possible but rule differs from privences to provinces.........

    To get a good bike? Almost no rental places.
    It's easy to get those Made in China 125cc bikes everywhere.
    but trust me, you will suffer from its terrible quality.

    For long term rental (more than 1 month) contact me privately.....
    But remeber,I am not in the bike rental business,I just want to help people who love to ride......

    ACE
    #9
  10. glasswave

    glasswave Long timer

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    Location:
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    This is only if you are bringing your own bike from outside China. I bought a Hotian 150cc and road it 4000km from Kasghar to Lhasa. Never got hassled about a license, guide or about the bike. I road the illegal (closed to foreigners) China 219 as well.
    #10
  11. Smackit

    Smackit Life Is Good Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,055
    Location:
    Reno, Nevada & Guangdong China
    If you are hanging around Guangdong province and just want to experience a taste of riding here, I keep an extra bike in the garage for ADV members.

    Cheers!
    ChinaV
    #11