Qinghai Cycling Tour

7 Days / 6 Nights

This specially-designed trip includes several portions of the famous “Qinghai Lake International Cycling Race” held every summer. This is the top professional road race in Asia, with approx 250 cyclists representing 15-20 countries, attended by thousands of cheering spectators! Although our 7-day trip won’t cover the gruelling 1,300 km that the professional racers cover, it will still be at the same altitude, as high as 3300 metres in some places! Even though we will cycle at quite a high altitude, the route chosen is gently undulating, so it is still a “moderate-level” tour.


Elevation range: 3100m to 3300m

Terrain: Flat, rolling

Cycling tour level: Moderate; high-altitude biking; vehicle-supported

Total cycling distance: Approximately 360 km. Average distance cycling per day: Up to 85 km

Traffic: Heavy traffic is expected in some sections.


Our itineraries are suggestions and are fully customisable according to your needs, interests and budget.

Treat these itineraries as inspiration and one of our experts will create your uniquely tailored holiday with your requests in mind so that you can truly experience China with Seven Senses.


Day 1. Arrive Xining (-/-/-)

Pick up from Xining airport, the capital of Qinghai Province. You will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel. 

Day 2. Xining - Xihai - Qinghai Lake (B/-/-)

After an early breakfast, we will drive to Xihai, about 100 km to the northeast. Upon arrival, we will verify our equipment, then strike off westward towards Qinghai Lake, accompanied by our support vehicle. The morning’s scenery will be that of endless grasslands. Later, in the afternoon, and after several uphill and downhill sections, we will suddenly see the Lake, and arrive at the end-point of our long day – the Qinghai Lake fishing base.

Day 3. Qinghai Lake - Heima River (B/-/-)


We will start our clockwise ride around Qinghai Lake. In the afternoon, our path will lead us away from the traffic, onto a quiet road alongside the lake. We will cycle in an area of peaceful tranquility until we reach our stay for the night, a rustic, but comfortable hostel, situated just by the lake.

Day 4. Heima River - Bird Island (B/-/-)


We will cycle along in the soft morning light. White yurts, similar to those seen in Inner Mongolia, typically dot the landscape. We will make a small detour away from the water to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the small village of Shinaigai, after which we will head back to the lakeshore to see one of the highlights of the trip – Bird Island! It’s been said that if Qinghai Lake was the crown of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, then Bird Island is the jewel of the crown!

Day 5. Bird Island - Quanji - Gangcha County (B/-/-)

After breakfast, Visit the Shatuo lamasery, home to the Red Hat branch of Tibetan Buddhism. After our visit we will start our cycling tour again along the west bank of the lake for another 25km, then we will ride on the National road again and bike to Quanji, where we will have lunch and also visit the local market to buy fruit. In the afternoon, ride to Gangcha, where we will relax a bit and take a shower before wandering around this little Tibetan town with its various ethnic groups.


Day 6. Gangcha - Xihai (B/-/-)

This morning we will be up before dawn to see a bit of Gangcha itself, with its traditional yurts, beautiful prayer flags, and mysterious praying stones. Then we will make an early start on our bikes, leaving Qinghai Lake behind us, as we head back toward Xihai. On the way, we will encounter several small villages where we will see the authentic buildings and day-to-day activities of the local people.

Day 7. Xihai - Xining- Departure (B/-/-)

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for your return international flights.

Click here to view detailed itinerary >>>

The itinerary may be subject to change depending on circumstances.



7 DAYS / 6 NIGHTS FROM £2,290 per person + flights

based on 2 people travelling together

The price includes: 

English-speaking guide

Scenic spots admission fee; Nature Reserve Protection fee and/ or camping permit fee (inside nature reserve) if required

Accommodation: double-occupancy in 3 star hotels in big cities, and the best hotels in small cities or counties, clean guest house/hostel/or home-stay in villages as stated in the itinerary; camping in non-residential area as mentioned in the itinerary (tent and mattress),

Daily breakfast, picnic lunches in remote area if required

One bike for each and supportive vehicles as required (For tours in the mountainous area like Yunnan, Qinghai, Tibet, etc. we strongly suggest that you bring your own mountain bike with you.)

All domestic flights/trains/local airport taxes if there is in the itinerary;

The price does not include: 

Return flights from the UK to Beijing

Anything not specifically mentioned above

Visa fee for China

Tips to the guide and driver

Travel insurance with cover for cycling

Personal costs such as drinks, laundry, etc.

Costs of damage to bike

Sleeping bag if camping.

photography charges at monasteries/palaces/sites.

The extra cost due to the unforeseen events or weather; supplementary trips and services not mentioned,

and personal expenses and the items not listed in the “The tour cost includes” column.


This is a tentative itinerary, the final itinerary and accommodation may be different from that displayed here. For the enjoyment of your trip a "go with the flow" attitude is necessary. Many factors will influence your trip, such as weather conditions, health, route conditions, etc. Please count with an extra two days and book changeable flights in case of delays in travel due to unforeseen events.

The areas visited are not as well developed as Beijing and Shanghai. While you will definitely enjoy the nature and experience, you should be prepared that accommodation standards in these places are very basic and even though we will try our best, food may not be so delicious and varied.

Very important: When you are planning to do mountain biking, you acknowledge that there are risks involved in this sport and confirm that you are fully aware of and accept these risks. You will be required to sign a separate acknowledgement and acceptance of personal at time of reservation.


Participants should be healthy, able to cycle for over 6 hours a day; prepared to cross high altitude passes and cycle over difficult terrain in remote areas; experienced in riding in mountainous areas (with many bends, turns, and possibly switchbacks); excellent physical condition required with a positive attitude and a strong determination; previous hiking experience preferred. Please keep in mind that this is a general guide only. A variety of factors, including weather, may add to the challenge.

Regardless of your previous high-altitude experience, it is crucial that you are self-confident, superbly fit,  committed, and determined at the outset of the expedition and possess the necessary stamina and experience to be a contributing player in the excursion.

Biking Gear suggested: Wind/waterproof coat, hip pad, knee pad, gorro, helmet, headlight, towel, sun block, gloves, shoes for cycling etc

While you will most-certainly enjoy the fantastic views offered with this exciting biking adventure, there will also be unexpected encounters with other vehicular traffic, especially big trucks making wide turns, so you should ride very carefully in these places.

Many tourists have an uncomfortable feeling in the high-plateau areas, generally headaches and being out-of-breath; this is usual, and generally you will adapt to the altitude in 2-3 days.

To counter altitude-sickness in the high plateaus, be sure to take extra rest and try to avoid arriving with a cold. Although extra oxygen will be available for those who need to stop and take an extra breath or so, any quantity brought along will be limited, and cyclists cannot be dependent on its availability.

Please be respectful of local customs and religion while you are in any area of minority people; pay attention to any instructions given by the local guide and cooperate with him/her.

Please be aware not to expect/order the meat of dog, horse, mule, pig, or donkey, all of which are forbidden in Tibetan areas; eating the meat of any animal slaughtered without proper religious supervision is also forbidden.

It’s not allowed to watch the Tibetan sky burial without their permission.

To be polite, it is expected that you finish any beverage served to you in a cup, upon being greeted by a Tibetan; if you cannot finish the drink, please politely beg their pardon.

When greeted by a Tibetan who puts a silk scarf around your neck as a present, leave it on – do not immediately take it off.

There are some special taboos in muslim areas, such as exposed skin, head coverings, and proper conduct in mosques – listen to the guide

It’s prohibited to drink or to smoke in any Tibetan Monastery

Check with the guide regarding taking photographs; it’s forbidden to take any photos in a monastery without permission, although you may be allowed to “buy” permission. Always ask permission before taking a photo of monks or women, regardless of where they are.

Package price including 4 star hotels in Xining and Qinghai Lake, local best hotels (3* standard) in Heima, Gangcha and Bird Island, and full board: from £2,855 per person


At Seven Senses Tours, the sky’s the limit in terms of creating your next unforgettable experience. Our knowledgeable and experienced travel consultants are waiting to plan every last detail of your upcoming trip, so all that’s left for you is to enjoy it.

We work Monday to Friday: 10am-6pm and we aim to respond to your query within one business day.






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