Easily one of the most beautiful landscapes we have seen. The Yulong and Li River had fantastic views that we won’t forget. It was completely different than what we are used to and was a great dose of culture at the same time.
Being one of the staple landscapes in China, we wanted to bike, hike, and climb all over this goodness. Well, we got our wishes, and it was pretty sweet. We decided to head to Yangshuo instead of going to Zhangjiajie National Park due to the possible cold weather. Getting to Yangshuo was a long travel day. Since the flights to Yangshuo were a lot cheaper to connect through Shanghai we decided to go for that. So our plan was depart at 12:15 fly to Shanghai, then have a 3 hour layover, then fly to Guilin, then take a cab to Moon Hill, which is just south of Yangshuo. Katie was a little suspect of China Eastern as some website put them on one of the top ten worst airlines. As we got to the airport the flight was delayed 45 minutes, after boarding the plane we were delayed more, they even served us lunch while we sat on the tarmac. We ended up sitting in the plane before take off for 3 hours. We soon found out that it is pretty common for mainland China to screw everyone coming from Hong Kong. Once we arrived in Shanghai we went through immigration at exactly 15 minutes before our next plane was supposed to take off, which was when they closed the gate. So we got booked on a later flight to Guilin to which the person who was re-booking our flights on a dodgy screen shrugged his shoulders and said sorry, then walked away. So our new flight was now supposed to leave at 9:45 and get into Guilin at 12:15, then we would have an hour drive to where we were staying and possibly get in around 1:30. Not to bad. Well that plane was delayed 4 hours and ended up taking off around 2. We got into Guilin at 4 and then got into bed just after 5 am. Fun travel day!
So anyways, back to the Yulong and Li River. The first day was pouring rain pretty good so we decided to get a massage in our room for 15 bucks each. It was easily the worst massage both me and Katie have ever had. The scratched our skin, left our jeans on, and made a lot of snapping noises, to which after the massages we more likely had skin burns and some knotty backs.
The next few days we did some bike rides, hikes, and took in some awesome views along both rivers. We decided against doing a bamboo raft because well, we like to bike more, and sitting on a raft for 2-4 hours seemed a bit boring. The tough thing about exploring this region was the lack of any decent map. Since we couldn’t use google maps on our phone we had to use a map, which would have been fine, except there didn’t seem to be any good maps in town. Every map was a general tourist map outlining the major cites to see and detailing nothing about small dirt paths. So needless to say we got lost quite a few times, and the trail we went on was completely wrong on the map we had. Besides that fact, the bike ride was beautiful. Riding along the river and seeing the beautiful limestone pillars pop up all around you was awesome. We went on a bigger road at first, then hit a smaller road, then a smaller path that went through some villages on the southern side of the Yulong river until we hit Dragons bridge. We tried to go back a different route, but we ended up hitting quite a few dead ends after a while riding so we went back on the path that we initially rode on. It was a beautiful day with some beautiful scenery. Biking along those limestone peaks was definitely something we won’t forget.
Katie ended up getting sick while we were in a cooking class together. The cooking class was fun, but going to the local market here was the most interesting market we have seen. Lots of sights and smells to take in. I’ll let the pictures describe what I was going to describe through writing.
Since Katie was sick I decided to hike up to Moon Hill one of the days. Although this “hike” was no hike and we quickly found out the culture of “hiking” in China. The trails are actually steps straight up the the top of the mountain or to the site. People get off a bus, walk up the steps, take a picture, then go to the next site. Its not about experiencing the serenity around you, but about seeing as many things as you can, and taking a bunch of pictures to say you were there. Not our style, but thats the culture in China. So after walking a km or two up stairs I reached the top of Moon Hill which was cool to “see”.
We also took a scenic ride up the Li river. We were thinking about doing another bike and hike day, but then I woke up sick! So instead we decided to head to one of the most scenic spots in the area. This was probably the best view we will have while visiting China. It is across the river from the town of Xingping. Nobody was around us as we stared off into this crazy world.
The world is so different. Different people, different cultures, different sceneries. Nothing is the same. Everything is unique, its such a gift. Find that uniqieness!