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China: Riding the Rising Giant

National Geographic Adventure picks the 25 best new outfitted trips.
Text by Bonnie Tsui   Photograph by Bike Asia
Photo: Biking China
Cycling terraced hillsides in Guangxi Zhuangzu, China

WHAT'S NEW: Aussie duo Naomi Skinner and Scott Spencer have guided biking tours everywhere from Mongolia to Vietnam, but their favorite routes lie inside southern China's lush rural hinterlands. In 2005 these co-owners of Bike Asia set up shop in Yangshuo, a small town in Guangxi Province, in order to develop their local knowledge for clients. In 2007 Bike Asia showcases this know-how with a close-to-the-ground cycling trip in Guangxi Zhuangzu and Guizhou Provinces. The itinerary passes through dramatic and varied landscapes—lush rice fields, bamboo-lined rivers, jutting limestone peaks—that have inspired some of the nation's most famous poets. "It's like cycling through a traditional Chinese painting," says Skinner.

ON THE GROUND:
Starting from Guilin, in Guangxi Zhuangzu, you'll combine long biking days—at altitudes ranging from sea level to about 2,000 feet (610 meters), on a mix of paved and unpaved surfaces—with visits to remote villages such as Zhaoxing, known for distinctive Dong architecture, including palatial drum towers and bamboo waterwheels. Says Skinner, "The trip provides unparalled access to rural China, as you travel through one of the nation's most diverse and scenic regions."

Vitals

Outfitter:
Bike Asia (www.bikeasia.com)

Length:
15 days

Price:
$1,650

Difficulty:
Moderate

Departs:
March through November



Cover: Adventure magazine

Our November 2006 issue features the best new adventure travel trips; an exclusive look inside Iran; a Greenland global warming report; backcountry spas; digital cameras; travel Web sites; weekend getaways; and more.

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