We were itching to get out of the city for the weekend. Every couple months, you need to escape the pollution and noise for a few days to somewhere quiet and outdoorsy, just to catch some peace and oxygen. But getting out of Shanghai can be a little tricky. Hopping on a plane to Sanya or Boracay is perhaps the most hassle-free option too, but you need longer than a weekend for those trips.
If you don’t have a Chinese driver’s license, even if you want to road-trip, you have to hire a driver as well. You can still take the train to Hangzhou or Suzhou on the weekend, but those “tiny”, “nature-filled” cities still have populations of Scandinavian countries.
Last weekend a friend contacted Bohdi and they organized a private trip for ten of us out in the countryside, a three-hour drive from Shanghai, near the city of Yiwu. Including mountain-bike rentals, helmets, food, guides, one night’s hotel stay and transportation, the trip cost 850 RMB per person.
First of all, huge convenience factor – Bohdi organized every detail. Nick was our American tour guide. An avid outdoors man, he spends his spare time talking to local people in obscure places, figuring out routes and scouting the best water holes for future bike groups to cool down after a long bike trip.
The trip’s highlights were that we were able to go somewhere non-touristy, we saw beautiful countryside, the trip was well-organized, the bikes were in great condition and the routes were unique and we did it all in a weekend.
We left from Shanghai at 9am on Saturday and returned the following day at 7pm. Bohdi arranged two vans for the ten of us. We arrived in Yiwu around noon and then biked in the countryside—interspersed with mountains, valleys, rivers and rice fields—for 36 km before returning to Yiwu for dinner.
As Chinese cities go, Yiwu is a bit of an oddity on the basis of its large expat Muslim population. The city’s restaurants have Arabic signage, and you are just as likely to get served hummus, baklava, baba ganoush, feta cheese, olives and souvlaki as baozi, rice and noodles. Apparently, Yiwu manufactures a lot of products for Arab countries. Needless to say, we enjoyed the food.
On Sunday, our muscles were sore and the heat crawled up to 36 degrees. After a sweaty, but scenic ride of 30 km, we found a clean river and waterfall to cool down in.
Bohdi organizes trips leaving from Shanghai almost every weekend to nearby places like Moganshan, Zhujiajiao, Yuyao, Yiwu, Tianmu Lake and Linan. So check their website for updates and trips. They also organize a weekly Shanghai city night ride (usually on Wednesdays?).
Bohdi’s next trip is to Moganshan July 26-27, David Hasselhoff’s Moganshan Birthday Tribute Weekend which includes biking in the bamboo forests, BBQ at the lodge and swimming.
For a calendar of Bohdi’s trips over the next few months, go here.
Cross-posted from ChinaTravel.net.