Long time readers know that one of my favorite parts of living and teaching English in Thailand was having my own motorbike (read: scooter) to roam around on. Having my own two wheels gave me freedom that I sometimes miss when traveling through other countries by bus and train.
Then, when I went on a motorcycle tour in Colombia a couple of years back, it was exhilarating to have the open air in my face; to experience the changing climates from hot and humid at lower elevations and then suddenly needing to put all the layers on when crossing the Andes (which we did three spectacular times!) was a fascinating experience and one often missed in a car.
But traveling by motorcycle can be dangerous as well. I learned the hard way when we crashed in Colombia, and were very lucky to escape alive.
Peter Hanson is a fellow adventure travel blogger, motorcycle enthusiast and expert on motorcycle travel. He loves to travel and has covered a lot of countries over the past eight years. In each country, he takes the time to record his impressions Visit his blog to read more articles about motorcycle traveling and helpful tips!
Top 10 Reasons to Travel China on a Motorbike
As a rider, you’ve probably been interested in riding across different countries. For your next adventure, you might want to consider jumping on a motorcycle and taking a tour of China.
The smooth routes of this old nation have a Shangri-la-like paradise in store for you. Once you already wear your safety gear, the next step would be to set off on an adventure of a lifetime to China.
To show you just what this country has to offer, scroll down below for the top reasons why you should ride a motorbike through China:
1) The Rich Culture
One of the reasons why you should travel to China would be the country’s culture. Apart from the language, you will also get to watch or even experience Tai Chi and Kungfu, engage in the ancient tea culture, enjoy Chinese medicine, and even spend some time with porcelain, costumes, opera, calligraphy, and poetry.
With a history spanning more than 4,000 years, you can see why China is such an attraction for tourists. Consider the following:
- a) Chinese Food
Food is exceptional among the Chinese, which is why there are distinct culinary styles to look forward to during your motorcycle trip through the country. The emphasis on fresh and seasonal ingredients, minimal fuss in the preparation, as well as the beautiful balance in presentation, texture, and color will all work in your favor.
- b) Festivals
Further, you can hop from one festival to the next – having the time of your life as per the traditional Chinese calendar.
- c) Beijing Opera
During your motorcycle tour, be sure to spend some time in Beijing if only to attend the Beijing Opera with its amazing artists and rich repertoire.
2) Find Your Zen
The other reason to go through China on a motorbike is that it will enable you to find your Zen. Part of your coolness as a rider is that you won’t have to worry about such embarrassments as walking into an eatery in the middle of nowhere in China wearing base layers or having helmet hair.
That said, you won’t get upset by the windy, rainy, cold, or hot weather in China. Rather, when you transverse the country, you will center everything on your person. As you monitor road conditions, possible hazards, lane positions, body posture, angle, and speed, you will get the unique opportunity to meditate.
As the ancient Chinese (and some modern ones still do) believed, meditation is an excellent way to clear the mind of everything that isn’t necessary. Therefore, rent out a bike in China, ride through the country, and find the inner peace and mindfulness you’ve been searching for.
3) Natural Wonders
China boasts one of the most spectacular and varied of natural wonders. Where natural beauty is concerned, you can be sure that the country has tons to offer to tourist riders. Examples of unusual sights you should look forward to including Hainan’s tropical forests and beaches, Jilin’s Rime, Zhangjiajie, Guilin, Jiuzhaigou, the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts, the Yangtze gorges, as well as the Everest. China also has its own endangered species – the giant panda in its adorable glory
4) Green the Earth
One of the knock-on effects of fuel efficiency that come with traveling through China on a motorbike is that you will be contributing to making the world a greener place.
More particularly, if you choose a modern motorcycle, you will be able to keep in line with the increasingly strict standards set for protecting the environment where transportation is concerned.
You can even go further and decrease the impact you have on Earth by reducing your use of any other modes of transport while you are in China. The growing population of the country (as well as the world) will be thankful to you for making this conscious decision.
5) Impressive Architectural Feats
In the same way, you should be able to go a step further and watch the impressive architecture that China is known for. The many modern and ancient architectural feats the country has to offer are impressive both in number and size.
From the palaces and pagodas to the Great Wall and giant Buddhas down to the canals and the present system of dams, there is so much for you to see in this country. Further, you should watch out for the tons of tunnels, bridges, and railways that dot the country during your motorcycle tour of China.
Your wallet will thank you when you decide to strap on your helmet and travel through China on a motorbike. Apart from the relatively low cost of maintaining and fueling a bike, you will also be able to keep your costs on the down low as you venture through China.
If you check the prices charged for lodging, you will realize that the country has many affordable accommodations for riders and non-riders alike. Therefore, you should be able to go wherever your heart desires and according to your needs and whims.
The most enjoyable of all, however, would be the pricing of local food. In Beijing, for instance, you can indulge in a delectable duck meal along the famed Ghost Street for less than $10 a person.
Similarly, the many street food vendors have something unique and lowly priced for everyone – meaning it shouldn’t be too hard finding meals during your trip across the country.
7) Impressive Landscapes
On your motorbike trip through China, nothing will quite take your breath away as much as the diverse and vast landscape. Whether you are into village dwellings or cities, you wish to trek through forests, cruise rivers, or hike mountains, you can be sure that China has something in store for you.
In particular, the rural plains of the southern provinces provide a welcome contrast to riders moving from the massive and hectic sprawls of Shanghai and Beijing. Further, adventure seeking motorbike enthusiasts will have the time of their life riding through the mountain ranges of western China – including Wudang Shan, Wutai Shan, Mian Shan, and Emei Shan.
When you do get off your motorbike, take a stroll along the ancient city walls of Xi’an and Pingyao, wander through the many local villages, or park up and go on a cruise down the Yangtze.
8) Better Health
Looking to lose weight? Need to stay fit? Then choose a motorbike as your chief means of travel when you get to China. Apart from the amazing scenery, the fresh air in the great and vast expanses of the country, and the delectable food, being on a bike will help you keep fit and lose weight.
In the same way, riding a bike through China will prove to be splendid for your brain. In the above section, we mentioned the Zen you’ll achieve when you travel China on a motorbike. However, your new option will also improve your mental health in the process.
9) The People
Apart from the many other riders you’ll meet during your trip, you’ll also have to make tons of stopovers to rest, eat, and use the little boy’s (girl’s) room – among others.
In the process, you will inevitably encounter tons of amazing human beings – good people as the Chinese are known. The hospitality in the country, the general well-being of the people, and the overall appreciation of visitors will all work in your favor as you tour the country on a bike.
Last but not least, nothing quite measures up to the freedom when you jump on a motorcycle and starting on your journey across a foreign land.
Is there a better way to set out in search of inner peace, enjoy freedom, and have the time of your life than on a bike? The next time you are in China, therefore, opt for a motorcycle and see the country in a way no one else would have shown you if you had used cars or trains during your trip.