Now available as an E-Book!

Now available as an E-Book!
Save money and a tree- get the downloadable PDF version of "Southeast Asia on 2 Wheels!"

Previews from the book "Southeast Asia on 2 Wheels."

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135 full-color pages of photos, stories, anecdotes, illustrations, journal pages maps and more!In addition to the four major sections on Yunnan, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand I have included some back story on both my first (and unsuccessful) attempt to motorcycle through China as well as how the planning for the trip came together.I have chosen the very best of the more than 4,000 photos from the trip as well as the most humorous, moving and fascinating of the several hundred anecdotes for Southeast Asia on 2 Wheels.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Top 5 Favorite Motorcycling Spots in China

#5 Deqen

The road from Dali to Deqen is long, brutal and requires constant attention.  As a rider, this 7-hour slog was one of the toughest of my career.  Constant winding roads, hairpin turns, hazards around every bend - oh, and there's the thinning oxygen to contend with.  14,000 ft. altitude, beautiful scenery and the chance to get as close as you can to Tibet (it's only about 40 km from Deqen.)

Located in the northwestern corner of Yunnan, next to the Tibetan border.




#2 Dali


Ancient walled city, tons of flat, open roads to cruise at your leisure, stona pagodas, and a nice mix of Chinese, Tibetan and other minority culture in this hamlet.  The city is a nice base to jump off from.  If you don't have your own bike, consider renting one in the city.  They have a nice selection of 125cc and 150cc bikes as well as scooters and bicycles for the healthy-minded.  As an aside, there is a ton of marijuanna, opium and other drugs in this city.  Basically, the cops look the other way, but just the same, travel smart.

Be sure to check out all the neat farm towns like this one.  In the fall, they make noodles and hang them out in the sun.
Located in Yunnan, in the northern half of the province.  Backpackers often like to check out nearby Lijiang.

#3 Shangri-la

Need I say more?  Shangri-la!  It's a real place and it's worth checking out.  Highlights are Somtang Monastery - it's a lot like the Potala in Lhasa, Tibet except much more accessible to you and your bike.  You can eat yak meat and drink butter tea in this city.  The hilly, mountainous roads around the city are perfect for trailbikes.  You can rent motorcycles at the guesthouses in town.  I bought the motorcycle I did my ride with in this city for $600. 

Be sure to take a jacket - or buy one in town.  Tons of little junk and provision shops for cheap wares.



#2 Southern Yunnan

Breath-taking rice patty terraces, sunsets and jungle-atmosphere.  The culture in the towns south of Kunming quickly take on a Southeast Asian flavor.  The rice terraces are best in the evening.  I recommend driving out of Kunming in the morning and then getting a slow lunch on the road while making your way into the rice patty areas in YuanYang







#1 XishuangBanna

So much to do in this area of southern Yunnan.  It borders Laos, Myanmar & Vietnam.  Get ready for entering a completely different world.  Not only do you have the culture, people and flavors of Southeast Asia, you have the rare "Dai" minority group.  Their food is very unique and their culture is fascinating.  You will see people from tribes that number only in the 10s of thousands.  In downtown JingHong, there is a Dai-style hut you can stay in (guesthouse) with woven bamboo floors and palm frond walls. 

From here you can enter Laos.  I strongly advise you to avoid travelling out to the Myanmar border.  I got into big trouble there!

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