Eastern Himalayas and Tea Horse Road

Cost from US$2950, 10 day adventure in eastern Tibet
  • Introduction
  • Itinerary
  • Date & Pricing
  • Reviews
  • Map
  • Photo Blog

    The ancient Tea Horse Road was once the primary route for goods traveling from China to Tibet and India. Today, the road remains as a unique natural and cultural opportunity. 

    The Tea Horse Expedition follows the famed trading route of tea, amber, jewelry, salt and gold between Yunnan and Tibet, stopping in some of the most untouched and organically beautiful areas of the region. Observe remarkable cultures in their local environments, and savor the spectacular scenery all around you. 

    If Tibet is one of the relatively untouched areas of the world, then the Eastern Tibet, bordering Yunnan Province, is the most untouched area of Tibet. Rich with virgin forests and crystal blue lakes, this formerly inaccessible route offers spectacular scenery as well as an opportunity to come in contact with the primary village cultures of Yunnan and Tibet. 

    We start our journey from the holy city of Tibet, Lhasa and ride eastward along eastern Himalayas to Yunnan province where the tea horse road links Myanmar, Thailand and Laos. Traverse majestic mountain passes and descend into spectacular valleys of several largest rivers of Asia as you continue down the road towards your triumphant arrival in Dali, the crossroads of culture and business. 

    This adventure offers surprising views and varied ethnic cultures along the way.The long and winding drive on unpaved roads is very challenging and arduous, but this will be an unforgettable, once in your lifetime journey. You will learn about distinctive cultures and religions on this trip.

    Day 1 Flight to China

    Arrive in Chengdu, the gateway to Tibet. Tonight's hotel is included and prepaid. Check in the hotel on your own and get Tibet Travel Permit before travelling to Lhasa.  

    Day 2 Flight to Lhasa (3650m)

    Flight journey to Lhasa (air ticket is included), met and taken to your hotel, rest of the afternoon you may rest and get acclimatize high altitude. Welcome Dinner

    Day 3 Lhasa acclimatization Day (3650m)

    We will visit Potala Palace was built in 1645 about 50 years by Dalai Lama Lobsang Gyatso and one of the most beautiful architecture in the world, long 400 meters, wide 350 meters and height 13th floors. Moreover total room is 1,000 rooms. Jokhang Temple that was built for celebration of marriage of Songten Gambo (King of Tibet) with Princess Wencheng of Tang Dynasty, since before 1,300. Free time around the Barkhor Street.

    Day 4 Lhasa to Bayi

    We meet up with our motorcycles will drive east to Bayi with a stop at Gandan Monastery, one of  most  important temple of Tibet, sits on a hill top. We will see meadow and Niyang River alongside of the way. Ride over 5100m Mila pass we will reach Nynchi. 

    (Ride 410KM)


    Day 5  Nynchi to Ranwo (350kms)

    We continue east along the eastern Himalayas to 4780m Serchila Pass with a gorgeous view of Namcha Barwa Peak ( 7787m) underneath runs the Yarlunzangpo River and forms the deepest gorge in the world.  We ride through dense forest with soaring glaciers next to us. Eastern Tibet is very different from dry and barren central and western Tibet.  We stay overnight by the lake side of Ranwo Lake. Great views of the glacier fed lake. 

    (Ride 350KM)


    Day 6  Ranwo to Zuogong

    Today we will ride the challenging road with 72 switchbacks and drop down to Salween Valley. Weather becomes much warmer and we find out ourselves in a different landscapes with rugged sand stones. 

    (Ride 310KM)  


    Day 7  Zuogong to Deqin

    We ride our last 5000m pass at Dongda La, and back to the Plateau again where nomadic Tibetans graze their yaks. Heading to Yerkalo on route and we meet Mekong River. It is very wonderful view of the Saltflats. Very interesting culture phenomenon is that the Catholic churth and Tibetan Monastery co exit in the town. The missionaries had made their ways as far to the border of Tibet till they got driven back. We reach Feilaisi, the little town with the most amazing view of Kawagebo Mountain range, at 6740m never been climbed. 

    (Ride 275KM)


    Day 8  Deqin to Lijiang

    Have a great view of the sun rise on Mt. Kawa Karpo Mountain, we then ride to White Horse Pass at 4292m, we leave the Himalaya foothills and descend to Yangtse River. We have now ridden the Yarlung Zangpo, the Salween, the Mekong and the Yangtse on one single trip. What a geographic expedition it is !Another scenic riding day as we travel south to Lijiang. We will also make a stop  at world famous Tiger Leaping Gorge before we ride to Lijiang. 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. 

    (Ride 312 KM)


    Day 9  Lijiang to Dali

    Lijiang, the UNESCO World Heritage site. 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 in the morning. We will have late start and wend our way southwards over the modern version of the Ancient Tea-Horse Road to Dali, Yunnan Province's 2nd-most important city and also one of China's most historic. The Bai Kingdom and the Kingdom of Dali were both centered here between the 8th and 12th centuries. We lodge in the Old Quarter tonight. There is ample time to wander around the streets and explore this atmospheric town.

    (Ride 160KM)


    Day 10  Dali Onwards

    Trip finishes after breakfast.


    Sept.22 (Sunday)-Oct.01(Tuesday),2024

    Tour Prices in USD

    ZF500X: $2950/person 6+ riders
    4 - 5 riders add $400/person
    Singleroom Supplement: $350/person

    Pillion Rider & Passenger: $1500/person


    --All breakfasts and dinners

    --Fuel for motorcycles

    --Motorcycle (pannier or tail boxes)

    --All overnights in hotels twin sharing 

    --Third party liability insurance

    --Entry fee to parks and monasteries

    --English Speaking guide on a motorcycle

    --Support Vehicle


    --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

    "RideChina organized this fantastic aventura for our group, everything was well taken care of. Both our riding guide and Tibet guide did a fantastic job. They were very helpful arranging our permits, dealing with check points and very flexible to our needs. Hotels were surprisingly good and there were plenty of dishes though not many choices of western type of food. We felt privileged to be able to ride motorcycles through this forbidden land. Thanks to our team and hope we can do another trip in China with RideChina."

    Los Piyus - Argentina 


Maximum 10 bikes




10 days, 6 riding days


Advanced Level, challenging roads, hair pin curves and switchbacks, high altitude (2000 - 5000 m) in remote areas,5 -8 hours riding per day with short gravel and unpaved sections. Total distance 1926KM. Daily rides 180 - 360 KM. Mostly on asphalt roads, highest pass at 5190m, highest overnight at 3900m.


Lhasa - Gandan - Nynchi - Ranwo - Zuogong - Sawleen - Deqin - Mekong - Benzilan - Yangtse - Tiger Gorge - Lijiang - Dali


Hotels and Guesthouses

✥ Tea Horse Caravan Road
✥ Great River Trenches of Asia
✥ Rarely visited eastern Tibet
✥ Traverse the Himalayas
✥ Visit Holy city Lhasa
✥ Visit Potala Palace, Jokhang Monastery
✥ Circumambulate Barkhor Street
✥ Encounter Tibetan Nomads


Stay up-to-date with the latest news dircet to your inbox

Site Map | Responsible Tourism | Trip Photos | Terms & Conditions

All contents © 2012-2023 Copyright RideChina, All rights reserved.