Wednesday, January 3, 2007

The Route

Route map
Route detail
The route is set, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Chengdu, China. Although it has been planned in the finest detail, changes will happen and I will be open to other alternatives once I’m on the road. Nevertheless, I find it calming and exiting to have a detail route to look forward to.
I fly into Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in southern Vietnam on April 2, 2007. From here I travel east towards Dalat and into the mountains of south Vietnam. Here I aim for the coast and then pedal north, taking in the beautiful scenery of the south and central Vietnamese coast. I’ll make sure to make some beach stops and have enough time to enjoy the fine, white sand and the turquoise water.
After about a month I reach Hue and from here I take the night-train to Hanoi. Biking the entire stretch of the Vietnamese coast was the initial idea, but after hours of research I decided that more than three weeks of beach and swimming would have to be enough. I also can’t imagine that highway 1, which runs along the coast from Ho Chi Mihn City to Hanoi, is the most exciting road to bike for such a long period.
After a few days in Hanoi and a visit to the Halong Bay area, I take a bus west, avoiding a less interesting area west of Hanoi, to So’n La. In general I try to avoid biking in or out of big cities. I know the traffic is overwhelming as well as the pollution. Safety is also a concern.
Now, the most challenging biking starts. I head for the Laos border, then turn north up into the north-west mountains. Each stretch is shorter but the altitude will make up for it. I plan to trek two days in northern Vietnam just before I pedal to the Chinese border. After 44 days when I cross over into China, Hekou from Lao Cai, I have covered about 1300 km on the bike and traveled in total 2600 km in Vietnam. I will average about 70 km per stretch biking.
Once I cross the border I head north to Kunming, making several stops in small Chinese villages and various attractions. The best biking in China is west, closer to Tibet, therefore I take a bus from Kunming to Xianguan (Dali City). Here I will enjoy the scenery and hopefully I have gotten used to the altitude because I’m now at about 2000 m above sea level. Continuing north through the mountains and valleys I reach Lijang. Just north of the city is the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Here I will enjoy a long trekking tour in the largest canyon of the world. From Lijang I pedal north-east through more small villages and towns. Before reaching Xichang I will bike for 8 days straight, making this the longest stretch of days without any days rest. However, hopefully the scenery and many attractions will make it an easy ride. I’m now fairly close to my end-station, Chengdu, about 450 km away.
From Xichang I pedal north for a few days then straight east to reach Emai Shai. This beautiful mountain is a common attraction south of Chengdu thus I will spend a few days trekking here. From Emai Shai I bike a short route to Leshan before heading to Chengdu by bus, again avoiding heavy, dangerous traffic. Here I park the bike and enjoy the city and its many surrounding attractions, such as Panda reserves. After a few days I fly to Beijing to become a normal, non-biking tourist, visiting the Great Wall and many other famous spots. On July 11, after exact 100 days, about 3000 km biking, total 6800 km traveling, I fly back to Copenhagen, hopefully content with my endeavor.

1 comment:

  1. ...please where can I buy a unicorn?