Singapore to Beijing, China: An extraordinary, unique and challenging motorcycle journey offering some of the finest landscapes on earth
Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and China: From lush impenetrable verdant forests to the towering snow-capped peaks of the Himalaya, remote empty highways to vibrant megacities, hill tribes to beach dwellers and world-renowned UNESCO listed sites to unknown antiquities, this ride truly highlights the amazing diversity of Asia across two hemispheres.
Starting off in the cosmopolitan Singapore we quickly cross into Malaysia and escape into the stunning Cameron Highlands . Malaysia offers a surprise with superb eating and stunning coastal scenery and Thailand offers some of the most extraordinary coastal scenery on earth with legendary towering limestone Karsts that populate sheltered coves dotting the coastline. We visit the famous “Bridge of the River Kwai” before crossing into the unknown, mysterious and only recently opened, Myanmar, one of the last remaining unexplored countries on earth where we spend nearly two weeks. Riding north east we re enter Thailand where we visit the legendary hillside tribes around Chiang Mai, as well as riding some extraordinary roads. We spend a week in French-influenced Laos and visit one of Asia’s most stunning temple complexes at Luang Prabang on the Mekong. We enter one of the world’s biggest countries of China, home to some of the earth's most remarkable civilizations, the world’s highest mountain peaks, stupendous scenery, most amazing roller coaster high altitude remote highways, 1000-year-old villages and some of mankind’s greatest antiquities. As soon as we enter China we experience what is the quintessential Chinese scenery of ancient rice terraces that cling to the hillsides seemingly with every inch under cultivation. We soon enter the high altitude region of Tibet and visit the capital of Lhasa with its world-renowned Potala Palace. The riding, across the roof of the world, is absolutely incredible and the view from Everest Base Camp offers staggering views of Mount Everest. Descending via three 5000 m passes we reach Xian, home to the amazing Terracotta Army and we visit villages that give us a glimpse of the “Old China” with their ancient city walls and narrow alleyways jammed with vendors. Riding triumphantly into Beijing after travelling over 14,000 km across two hemispheres we visit the Great Wall and Forbidden City before enjoying a celebratory meal and a few well-earned drinks at the completion of what has been one of the worlds greatest long distance rides.
Dates and Pricing
Rider / BYO Bike
Rider / BMW F750 GS
Rider / BMW F850 GS
Rider / BMW R1200 GS
Pillion / Support Vehicle
Joining Day: Your Singapore airport transfer will take you directly to our joining hotel, ready for an early start tomorrow. Today you will meet your crew for your tour briefing and welcome dinner.
Week One: Collecting our bikes in the dynamic city of Singapore we cross into Malaysia, ride north into the Cameron Highlands before visit the wonderful Melaka with is UNESCO Heritage listed old town. We move north to the legendary Penang nicknamed the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is famous for its soft sandy beaches and is regarded as the food capital of Malaysia. We spend two nights in Penang allowing us time to wander the UNESCO listed old town and of course sample its legendary food.
Week Two: We cross into Thailand and visit the amazing karst & mangrove scenery around Krabi. We spend two nights at Railay exploring this fantastic scenery. We visit the amazing Khao Sok Khao a nature reserve containing dense jungle, tower like limestone karst formations and the man-made Cheow Lan Lake. Overnighting at the Elephants Hills resort where we experience an incredible Asian elephant safari.
Week Three: Riding north we spend two nights in Kanchanaburri, home to the famous yet tragic “Bridge over the River Kwai” that formed part of the Burma Railway in WW2. We then cross into recently opened Myanmar, a landscape shimmering pagodas, mighty rivers and epic lakes. We visit the renown Yangon where we spend two nights
Week Four: Turning north we reach the incredible Bagan, compared to Ankor Wat without the crowds! Bagan is a landscape of over 2000 monuments that tower over a green plain. Turning east we visit Kalaw, the mountainous trekking capital of Myanmar before spending two nights at Inle Lake for the quintessential Burmese experience of fisherman on their handmade boats displaying their unique way of fishing. Week five is seen out at Inle Lake
Week Five: Spending our last couple of days in Myanmars remote east, where permits till must be obtained to travel, we cross back into Thailand and ride south, visiting the “long neck” hill tribes enroute to Chiang Rai. We reach the renown highlands city of Chiang Mai renowned for its lush forests and endless valleys and mountain peaks before riding the superb Mae Song Loop, a wonderful mountain escape of terraced hill tribes’ farmlands and endless Twisties.
Week Six: This week we cross into Laos and spend two nights in the French influenced capital of Vientiane, a wonderful leafy town, more than a bustling city, scenically located on the banks of the Mekong. We can wander the old town, enjoy one on the many sidewalk cafes or enjoy a Beerlao watching sunset over the Mekong. Riding due north we spend two nights in one of Asia’s most scenic destination of Vang Vieng, surrounded by limestone mountains and caves.
Week Seven: Continuing north we spend two nights at one of South East Asia most iconic religious sites. Luang Prabang, a wonderful patchwork of traditional Lao wooden houses & Golden-roofed wats. The site is stunningly located at the confluence of the Mekong & Khan Rivers. We cross into China, an immense country of impossibly diverse landscapes and peoples with a storybook history. We start our Chinese adventure riding though picturesque hilltop villages covered in centuries old rice terraces, tea gardens & undulating countryside, it is the quintessential Chinese scene.
Week Eight: We visit the tiny market town of Shaxi, an ancient cultural treasure on the Tea Horse Road, a road of similar importance to that of the Silk Road but far less famous. We visit Lijiang, a maze of cobblestoned streets and canals lined with pagoda’s and vendors, nothing it seems has changed much in centuries. Ascending ever higher into the mountains we visit the renowned Tiger Leaping Gorge before riding into the real Shangri-La a stunning landscape of dense forests, alpine lakes, grasslands, and gorges set amongst meadows and plains. Leaving beautiful Yunnan Province, we cross into Tibet and ride one of the most stunning highways on the entire ride, the Sichuan – Tibet Highway. This route rewards us with utterly stunning high-altitude views of mountains, glacier fed lakes, remote monasteries and alpine visits on what is some of the highest, wildest and remote regions on earth.
Week Nine: Continuing on the epic Sichuan Highway riding amongst the towering mountains, verdant green and glacier fed rivers we arrive into the Tibetan capital of Lhasa where we spend three nights allowing us time to acclimatize. In Lhasa we have the opportunity to visit the remarkable Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and witness the great pilgrimage around Barkhour. Joining the Friendship Highway, we continue southwest via the stunning Tashilunpo Monastery located in Shigatse. we continue to the world’s highest monastery, Rongphu, where we overnight allowing us the best opportunity to get immense views of the towering Mount Everest. Watching the rays of the day reflect of the snowcapped Everest is an indescribable sight that will remain with you forever, it’s a rare privilege to view the absolute top of the world at sunrise. Leaving Everest Base Camp, we ride north east and see this incredible week out in Gyantse home to the architectural wonder that is 108 chapels of the Gyanste Kumbum
Week Ten: We begin another epic week as we ride further north along the “other” legendary highway into and out of Tibet the Qinghai – Tibet Highway, a roller coaster ride of epic proportions thought a wall of seemingly impenetrable mountain peaks. We visit Namsto Lake, a magnificent turquoise lake surrounded by snowcapped peaks and Buddhist prayer flags before continuing north over a series of 5000mt passes through an epic landscape of prairie, lakes, mountains and desert at an average altitude of 4000mt on the Quinhai – Tibet Highway, the main artery to/from Tibet. The road continues into the province of Quinhai and descends to Golmud. This is a ride we will remember forever for its outstanding mountain views at every turn.
Week Eleven: Descending from the lofty mountains, and leaving Tibet, we visit Chinas largest lake of Qinghai Lake before we reach Xining, a city perched on the edge of the Tibetan plateau. We spend two nights here giving us time visit the nearby Kumbum Monastery, one of the 6 most important monasteries in the Tibetan world, either that or we can recharge our batteries and take in all that we have experienced in Tibet. Continuing on we visit the amazing Maijishan Grottoes that have over a 7000 buddha sculptures and 1000 square meters of murals inside the grottoes, an amazing sight. Seeing the week out we ride into the world renown Xian, home to one of the greatest antiquities on earth, the Terracotta Army
Week Twelve: We spend two nights in Xian giving us time to visit this extraordinary site created by Chinas first dynasty, the Qin Dynasty from 246 to 206BC. This is one of the most extraordinary archeological sites ever discovered after being dug up by famers digging for a well in 1974 after lying hidden buried for 2000 years!! We also visit the ancient Ming Dynasty city walls that encircle numerous backstreets, narrow alleyways and shops. Leaving Xian, we visit the utterly incredible cliff tunnels near, our overnight stop at Guoliangcun. We visit superb Pingyao, Chinas best preserved ancient walled town giving us a real taste of “Old China”. The week comes to a close in Wutaishan, home to the amazing hanging Temples built precariously into a cliff face.
Week Thirteen: Our last week of what has been an utterly amazing adventure we visit Yuxian enroute to Beijing, after experiencing an impossible array of landscapes, cultures and experiences from Singapore to Beijing. We spend three nights in the capital giving us time to visit some of China's most legendary sites such as the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square to name a few. Our final days riding will see us travel to Tianjin to pack our bikes and prepare for shipping of the bikes home.
Departure day: Spend some time in Tianjin or return to Beijing to fly home, the choice is yours.
- Airport transfers
- All shipping included
- Services of ride leader and support vehicle driver
- Support vehicle with passenger & luggage carrying ability
- 90 nights accommodation in mostly excellent small hotels, some accommodations will be very basic at times.
- Breakfast’s everyday
- Lunches and dinners as per tour option
- Pre-departure material and route maps
- 2 x Compass duffle bags
- GPS waypoints and preset tracklog
- Access to satellite phone, pay per minute
- Compass Expeditions polo shirt
- Incomparable list of sights and inclusions
- Entrances to all national parks / wildlife conservancies mentioned in the itinerary
- Entrances into all temples / monasteries mentioned in the itinerary
- All Chinese permit charges
- All Myanmar permits / English speaking guide & compulsory police escort
- Thailand guide
- Chinese / English speaking guides for China & Tibet
- International flights
- Carnet de Passage for those with own bikes
- Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Personal health & travel insurance
- Tips & Gratuities
- Compulsory 3rd party insurance for those with own bikes
Compass Bike Rental
BMW F750 GS: US $115.00 per day
BMW F850 GS: US $130.00 per day
BMW R1250 GS: US $145.00 per day
Our motorcycles are insured and have a damage excess of US$ 6000, you can reduce the excess by taking advantage of our Excess Reduction Policy: US$ 20 per day
2% of this ride is off road, predominately in Myanmar, and mostly roadworks in Laos & China on the way to Lhasa. The off road sections can be VERY dusty with bulldust holes and hidden potholes, shoulders are also very tall and broken. Generally the dirt roads are around roadworks or where the original paved road has fallen apart and returned to dirt .
ClimateThis is a massive expedition travelling South to North, as such we will occasionally be riding in some very hot and humid weather. However, the ride offers the optimum weather conditions for the vast majority of the ride.
We shall be arriving into Singapore and will be anticipating hot & humid weather Southern Thailand will still be wet, but the rains generally consist of afternoon showers and rarely interfere in our travels. Myanmar will be hot but dry in the south and a little cooler in the northern regions. Northern Thailand will be great blue-sky weather and Laos will be cooling down but still humid. China will be COLD in Tibet but we time the ride to Everest Base Camp to offer the optimal time for epic views Mt Everest under a clear blue sky. We are close to the Equator on this expedition so hot and humid weather must be expected. 50% of this ride will be in cool to cold conditions, mostly in China.
- All riders must have a valid motorcycle license and at least two years riding experience.
- It is a requirement that all clients have appropriate insurance for this type of expedition.
- 90 nights accommodation in mostly excellent small hotels, some accommodations will be very basic at times.
- Our accommodations range from small family run resorts
through to 5 star hotels. While in Tibet some accommodation will be
extremely basic and at Everest Base Camp there is no shower available.
- A flexible attitude is needed as standards are not always what we are accustomed to.
- All accommodation is on a twin share basis. If you are traveling alone we will pair you up with another solo traveler.
- If you prefer single accommodation a single supplement is available: (please note that you may be required to share a bathroom on a small number of occasions on this trip)
- On every day of the tour we include breakfast: 90 Breakfasts
- On mentioned ride days we provide lunch, up until China lunches will be at restaurants & cafes, once in China lunch will be picnic lunches that we prepare ourselves from our mobile kitchen : 66 Lunches
- We include mentioned dinners in excellent restaurants we have used before: 14 Dinners
Accidents happen, luggage is lost and tour or flight cancellations can occur, so it is our policy that all participants of Compass Expeditions tours have an appropriate level of travel insurance to cover the unforeseen. This is not only compulsory when joining our tours, but it makes sense.
If choosing your own insurance – for motorcycle tours it is crucial the insurance policy you choose will offer a policy for riding a motorcycle OVER 250cc (including our bikes). This is a critical point to ensure when purchasing a policy.
Our experienced In-house travel team are happy to help with getting you the right insurance for your tour and for any other travel you might be doing before or after. Contact our in-house travel team.