Great Rivers of Asia - Salween Mekong Yangtse

Cost from US$2400, 11 day adventure through the Three Parallel Rivers World Heritage Area
  • Introduction
  • Itinerary
  • Date & Pricing
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    No where in the world you could travel through Asia’s great rivers, the Yangtse, the Mekong and the Salween river in one day. 

    In Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, three of Asia’s great rivers, the Salween, the Mekong, and the Yangtze, come tumbling down from their headwaters deep inside the Himalayas.

    They run in parallel gorges eroded deep into the earth’s mantle. Only seventy kilometers as the bird flies separate the three incredibly massive gorges at their narrowest point.  

    The Three Parallel Rivers World Heritage Area lies beyond the frantic urbanization of south China, this area was once a hidden from the tourists due to remoteness and winding roads. 

    This area is now accessible to adventurous hearts to reach the area. 

    We start our trip in Dali and ride to our first big river the Salween River, we then ride over the watershed of Salween on a beautiful mountain road to the Mekong River gorge, this trail is the original route taken by the French missionaries in the 1900s, will take you to meet the Catholic Tibetan, Nu and Lisu communities along the Salween and Mekong rivers. 

    The trip takes you to the highest unclimbed mountain in the world, the Kawakarpo Mountain. We then ride to Shangri_la, written in James Hilton's novel “ Lost Horizon” as the paradise of real life. 

    We spend a rest day in Shangri_la to visit it's grand Tibetan monastery and old city. 

    Riding through the Tiger Leaping Gorge of the Yangtse would be another highlight of the trip. We will spend a night in a ancient cliff village and reach Lijiang the world heritage town. 

    We follow the tea horse road to visit Shaxi, an old trading post and visit it’s grottoes.We celebrate our grand journey in Dali with some 2500KM under our wheels.

    Day 1  Dali City, China

    Dali is Yunnan’s most historic city. RideChina will assist you arrange transit flight to Dali. You will  be met and taken to your centrally located hotel to meet other riders. Group welcome dinner.The Bai Kingdom and the Kingdom of Dali were both centered here between the 8th and 12th centuries. In the mid-1800’s there was a major Muslim rebellion that shook the entire region all the way down to Thailand. We lodge in the Old Quarter tonight. An early arrival means there is ample time to wander around the streets and explore this atmospheric town.


    Day 2  Dali to Salween River

    Meet your bikes and we shall do bike fitting and test rides. We ride south to Salween river, the first big river we would meet on this trip, The Salween starts her way high up from the Tibetan Plateau, runs to Myanmar and finally joins the Andaman Sea. We ride along the Salween and see minority villages not seen by foreigners. We reach tonight's town in grand eastern gorge. 



    Day 3  Salween - the Grand Eastern Gorge 

    We ride further north alone the Burmese border to Gongshan and see the great bend of the Salween River. This the ancient tea horse caravan trail that goes to Tibet. We will visit a Catholic church was built here 100 years ago. We backtrack to Gongshan County. 



    Day 4  Salween to Mekong

    We ride cross the Salween bridge and start our real adventure riding across the Biluoxue Mountain. We climb high up to 3900m peacock pass on a newly blazed gravel road.  We rode across the watershed of two big rivers to Mekong River( Ch. Lan Cang Jiang River). A big achievement of the road construction which links the Salween and Mekong for the first time. We meet our second big river on this tour, the Mekong. Also a big achievement for the riders! Tarmac and white lines ! We ride north along the Mekong River to Deqin, hard on the Tibetan-Chinese border. Diqen sits at 3400 meters and is surrounded by snow capped, glaciated mountains. The scenery in this town, wherever one looks, is stunning. North we ride up the raw Mekong River gorge through an otherworldly landscape of raging wild rivers, near vertical cliffs, and towering, snow topped peaks that soar to over 5000 meters as we climb onto the Himalayan plateau proper. We ride  to the foot of Kawakarpo, the highest unclimbed mountain in the world at 6,740 meters. Buddhists from all over Tibet pay homage to Kawakarpo to begin a 240 km. pilgrimage around its base. For some it takes months to complete, because step by step by step they completely prostrate themselves on the ground. We spend a night in the small town facing this scared mountain. 



    Day 5  Mt. Kawagebo to Shangri_la

    We will be seeing sun rise above this holy mountain this morning.  We turn south to Shangri_La. The four hour ride to Shangri_La takes us through some of the most stunning scenery on this tour. We hit our highest elevation point on the tour the white horse pass - just shy of 4,300 meters. In this part of China the majority of the people are ethnic Tibetans. They have kept their culture even purer and more traditional than their brethren who actually live in Tibet. Everything is different here: yaks graze in the high mountain pastures and wander along the roadside, houses are built in the traditional Tibetan style, and the cuisine is decidedly different. Yak steak with barley bread and Yak butter tea anyone? A dozen different ethnic minorities wearing their traditional clothing can be seen on the streets of Shangri-La, sprinkled throughout with saffron robed monks of the Mahayana Buddhist sect. 



    Day 6  Shangri_la Rest Day

    After over 1,000 kilometers of sitting on a buzzing motorcycle it is time for a rest. Half a rest day should be devoted to visiting Gandan Sumtseling Monastery. Then an afternoon walk through the old quarters will easily fill up the remainder of that day. At night there is always something going on in the Old Quarter’s town square lined with antique stores and shops of all kinds. We found some great restaurants around town that we promise to share with everyone.


    Day 7  Tiger Gorge to Stone Village

    We will ride a fantastic road follows a contour line along the third-deepest gorge in the world. Tiger Leaping Gorge is formed by the fierce and young (at this point) Yangtze River, which slices a path through towering, snow-clad mountains. By now we have met our third big river on this tour. Impossible not to jump off of your bike every few minutes to snap a few pics. This could be the #1 road in Asia for sure. We then climb out of the valley following many curvy switchbacks to Stone Village, an ancient stone city built on a cliff 800 years ago.  We stay at a Naxi home stay over looking the Yangtse river. 



    Day 8  Lijiang UNESCO World Heritage Site

    We ride over the Jade Dragon Mountain pass to Lijing, our destination tonight, it is the most popular UNESCO World Heritage Site we visit. It is the most popular tourist destination in China, even surpassing Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden Palace. A real party atmosphere permeates Lijiang and it is a great place to meet and mix with the local population. Lijiang's charming Old Town is a maze of cobbled streets, canals, and stone bridges that date from the Ming Dynasty. You are free to explore this ancient city at your leisure. Lijiang is a shop till you drop type place and all sorts of interesting items are for sale. 



    Day 9  Lijiang to Shaxi Tea Horse Trade Post

    We wend our way southwards over the modern version of the Ancient Tea Horse Road to Shaxi. Time has seemingly passed Shaxi by. It is considered to be the most intact caravan town remaining on the Ancient Tea Horse Road when towns like this once numbered in the hundreds. Shaxi's Sideng Market Square has been placed by UNESCO on their World Monument Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Cultural Sites in the World. You will have the opportunity to visit this special town before it is overrun with tourists, or worse, destroyed in the name of progress. A gentle river runs past Shaxi and the surrounding farmlands are a pleasure to wander through. 



    Day 10  Shaxi to Dali

    This is also our final ride of the tour inside China, but still a fascinating day as we ride the back roads of caravan trail and actually acoss Cangsna Mountain back to Dali.  So we make good time even as it cuts across the mountainous terrain. We ride back to our Hotel and we celebrate this great adventure through the great river trenches of Asia ! 



    Day 11 Dali

    Trip ends after breakfast (B)


    Apr.21(Monday)–May 01(Thursday)2025


    Tour Prices in USD

    500cc Tour Bike: $2400/person 6+ riders


    3 - 5 riders add $400/person 


    2 - 2 riders add $700/person 


    1 rider add $1800/person


    BMW F700/800 GS: add $500/bike

    BMW 1200GS: add $950/bike


    Singleroom Supplement: $400/person

    Pillion Rider: $1200/person


    --All breakfasts and dinners

    --Motorcycle (pannier, tail boxes)

    --Fuel for motorcycles

    --All overnights in hotels twin sharing 

    --Third party liability insurance

    --Entry fee to parks and monasteries

    --Tour guide on motorcycle

    --Support Vehicle  ( +6 participants)


    --Lunches and bottled drinks

    --All services not mentioned

    --Tipping or gratuities to guides

    --Mandatory intl. travel insurance

    --Excursions other than those specified

    --Extra cost if  tour is delayed or changed

    "Jah and his gang were extremely professional and knowledgeable. The trip was something we will never forget. Appreciate everything his crew did for us. Overall the trip was a very memorable experience. I would 100% recommend Ride China to any experienced rider."

    Keith & Kallen group from USA


    “SPECTACULAR TRIP THROUGH YUNNAN'S THREE RIVERS WITH PROFESSIONAL GUIDES” We visited some of the most beautiful landscapes in China. Everything was taken care of..RideChina team was very friendly and competent and Jah speaks excellent English. You get the best value if you join RideChina's moto tours."

    Thomas & friends - Singapore


    "Best motorcycle trip ever, you got to see the best part of China on a motorcycle with a great guide Jah. Never a dull moment on this trip, great food and fantastic mountain rides into the unknown corners of China. Looking forward to ride again in China soon."

    Greg - Australia


Maximum 10 bikes




11 days, 8 riding days, 1 sightseeing day


Intermediate Level, challenging mountain roads with switchbacks, high altitude (2000 - 4200 m) in remote areas,5 -8 hours riding per day with short gravel and unpaved sections. Total distance 2000 KM. Daily rides 180 - 320 Km. Mostly on asphalt roads, highest pass at 4290m, highest overnight at 3300m.


Dali - Gongshan - Fugong - Sawleen - High pass - Mekong - Mt. Kawakarpo 6740m - White Horse Pass - Yangtse River - Lijiang - Dali


Hand Picked High Qaulity Hotels

✥ Visit cultural crossroads Dali
✥ Ride across Mekong Salween Yangtse
✥ 3900m Biluoxue Mountain Pass
✥ Highest unclimbed mountain Kawakarpo 6740m
✥ 4290m White Horse Pass
✥ Lesser Potala Tibetan Monastery
✥ Third Deepest Gorge
✥ 800 year old Stone Village
✥ Lijiang world heritage old city
✥ Great Rivers National Park of China
✥ Excellent Yunnan Cuisines


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