Dali-Lhasa (Yunnan-Xizang/Tibet, China)

The Route: Hard but very beautiful! One of my absolute favourites. What really makes it hard is the numerous checkpoints-lots of night time checkpoint-dodging. The topography also takes it's toll, not many flat meters, lots of long hard climbs and quite a lot of dog attacks. The road condition is most of time ok, dirt roads almost all the way from Zhongdian to 25km from Lhasa. Food is never a problem, the nature is fantastic and very diverse. I could give you a list of where the checkpoints are, but I've heard it changes pretty much from year to year. Be careful in every decent sized town and NEVER sleep in any hotel-you WILL get caught by the PSB!

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Location Distance Altitude Position Position Chinese Passmarkers Checkpoints
(km) (m) Latitude Longitude Alt.(m)
Dali 0 1950
Pass 80 2636
LP(Lowest Point) 100 2300
Pass 160 2941
Lijiang 190 2400 N2652.886' E10013,646'
Pass 230 2632
YangTzeKiang (LP) 270 1850
Zhongdian 370 3256 N2749.660' E9941,931' Be careful
Pass 400 3560
YangTzeKiang 435 2000
Benzilan 450 2100 Cool
Pass (three summits) -1 500 4276
LP 502 4100
-2 506 4348 N2821,142' E9902,737'
LP 508 4120
-3 511 4316
Deqen 560 3300 Cool, but be alert
Pass 565 3500
Mekong (LP) 585 2050
Yanjing 675 2600 CP, Barrier
Pass 730 4268 N2915,824' E9840,774' 4470
LP 745 3600
Markam 785 3900 CP on the Sichuan Route, informer town.
Pass (two summits) 800 4378 N2941,798' E9831,504' 4139
Chuka/Mekong (LP) 850 2700 Cool
Pass 870 3890 N2933,164' E9818,962' 3908
LP 880 3600
Pass 915 5078 N2942,631' E9800,223' 5008
Zogang 955 3800 Be careful
Bamda 1080 4060 Cool
Pass 1090 4609 N3009,404' E9718,605 4618
SalweenBridge (LP) 1125 2740 CP, military, cool
Baxoi 1160 3200 Sometimes a barrier
Pass 1225 4417 N2940,172' E2943,102' 4350
Rawu 1255 3840 Be alert
Bomi 1385 2700 Dangerous
Tongmai 1470 2100 Cool
LP 1480 1960
Pass 1555 4539 N2936,656' E9439,429'
Nyingchi 1600 2960 Dangerous
LP 1604 2908
Bayi 1609 2976 CP, no barrier, very dangerous
Gongbo Gyamda 1750 3420 Be careful
Pass 1870 4967 N2943,633' E9220,632' 5070
Maizhokunngar 1960 3800 Cool
Lhasa 2040 3606 N2939,298' E9107,868' You're safe

The information about the checkpoints has to be taken with a pinch of salt. It changes from year to year and this was how it was when I went through in 1996. I have been talking to other cyclists who have been in the area later on, and it seems like it's basically the same. Yanjing is supposed to be open nowadays. As I see it, Markam, Bomi and especially Bayi is the main danger spots.

Photos from this route.

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