Rural China by bike and by foot

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of December 14-21, 1995

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Rural China by bike and by foot
Q: Any suggestions on the best places/contacts to explore in rural China, on foot and on rented bike? We know we can get and need a guide for car travel in major touristy cities, but what about an adventure guide? Our plan is to combine that with more conventional sites. Can you help?
Marilynn Preston
[email protected]

A: Depending on how much time you have, you may want to consider seeing China's major cities on your own and then signing on with a U.S.-based adventure outfitter for a group bike tour through the more rural areas. Lots of guide services run full-service, multiday treks through the small farming villages, limestone karst formations, and lush valleys of Southern China's Guilin region.

On REI Adventures' moderately challenging, 16-day cycling trip you'll pedal an easy 25-40 miles a day, which means you'll have plenty of time--and energy--to explore the silk factories, snake factories (similar to zoos), busy Guilin markets, and ancient Ming Dynasty temples along the way. The trip departs out of Hong Kong, but if you're already over there, plan on meeting the group in Canton; expect to pay about $2,640 per person, including all meals, accommodations, and bicycle rental. For more information and departure dates, call REI Adventures at 800-622-2236.

Backroads offers a similar 15-day bike trip along dusty roads lined with banana plants and emerald rice paddies for $3,293 per person, including all meals and accommodations (800-462-2848). Or, if money's no object, sign on for a longer, 19-day ride with Asian Pacific Adventures for $4,250 per person (213-935-3156).

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