Can you believe it? This is the final part of my lengthy China travel blog!! Wow, I started writing about my China travel back in August this year! I could have written a summary for my travel but rather, I preferred to write a blog for each place that I visited so readers like yourself will, hopefully, find it more interesting and useful if you do decide to visit these magical places one day. (Oh all those pictures that I took would just be too many for one summary anyway :D)
To continue from our rather ‘common’ experience from Li River, my originally sky high expectation got struck down a couple of notches. I’d seen pretty pictures of Yangshuo, but I also saw pretty pictures of Guilin and Li River too. To be fair, we didn’t have the best of weather during our time at Guilin and at Li River but our experience really hurt my expectations towards Yangshuo.
After the boat journey, we arrived at the dock where everyone got off. The modern looking buildings told me that Yanghuo was already a touristy place. Like most of our stays in China, we didn’t plan the in-between travels too much, i.e. from airport/train stations to hotels or hostels. So we all lugged around our bags and suitcases from the dock and walked around a bit before we found ourselves a couple of taxis who eventually took us to our hostel, just outside of the main city.
Our hostel was superb! Giggling Tree is definitely one to recommend to anyone who is planning to travel to Yangshuo. Check them out HERE! They are easily be our best stay in China. My guess was that this Dutch-family-run accommodation was very ‘European’ and with a touch of Chinese so it was just perfect for us (Europeanised-Chinese).
After dropping our luggage, we headed back out to the city centre. The hostel organized a small van to take us out due to its rather remote location. Yangshuo city centre was not big at all. It’s probably a size of West End in London, about a couple of miles radius. The main high street was… umm… rather touristy. Buildings were new but designed and constructed in some old-style-village cottage look. There were hundreds of shops along the main street and some side aisles. Any western tourists would be familiar with the type of night lives here though. There were plenty of restaurants, bars, and clubs! I really didn’t expect this.
Sky was getting dark and we were hungry. So we found ourselves a restaurant and filled up our bellies. Obviously these big restaurants along the high street was catered for western tourists and we were greeted like ‘VIPs’. Not bad. Although I forgot the name of the restaurant, I did remember their NICE dishes! We ended up going there again just before we left.
It was a tiring day and that was our first night.
The next morning, after our ‘English Breaskfast’. We decided to take a walk around. Giggling Tree gave us a hand-drawn map that would take us most of the day to venture. Brilliant! The sky was still rather dull but there was nothing to stop us. The hostel owners told us that we would not be disappointed and I believed them.
I always loved hiking and this was a rather special one. We walked through villages, along the rivers and everything we was was just ‘perfect’. This was what I always wanted to see. Unspoiled landscape and locals. Many in these villages were farmers and still had no televisions and used coal blocks for heating. I guessed my expectations were not only met but exceeded. Rather than describing them, here are some photos I took.
I had taken lots and lots of photos during the walk. Too many to show here but it was wonderful. I had never felt like this before, got excited to talk to people and started photographing them. At the end of the day, we were all treated by a spectacular night show. It was one of a kind. Impression of SanJie Liu was a light show with a big cast. I couldn’t describe it enough with words but it’s a show that worth every penny! Information is HERE. Despite the rather foggy and drizzling weather, we enjoyed it very much. I saw many tried to record the show, I was one of them but later on, I stopped because I realised I couldn’t enjoy it fully. A jaw dropping performance indeed.
The next day, our final stay, we hired a bicycle each and we ventured out to the surrounding areas. Most of the area were flat so even if you were not that good of a cyclist, it shouldn’t be a problem at all. Though you would need to be able to cycle on the road because there was no pavements.
Yangshuo continued to impress me. The landscape was simply stunning. Layers of mountains, simple and kind local people and stunning food. My very first stop was to taste the local To-Fu. The daughter of the To-Fu stall was there looking at me, perhaps she found me rather interesting. I couldn’t help myself but to snap one of her portrait.
Then we carried on to a small local park where they had some camels for photos.
After about 20 minutes ride, we arrived at the famous Moon Hill. We hiked up again but this time, the weather was too humid to continue the accent and we simply didn’t have enough time to complete the round trip so we stopped half way. I found a nice vantage point to take a nice photo of the hill and the village below.
We then approached this village and stopped for lunch. March was a difficult season in Yangshuo. Always misty, humid, mild and wet. But even with this weather, I managed to ‘see’ Yangshuo and captured all those nice images. I could image that Yangshuo was just THE place to see, whatever the weather.
I had never had that much fun walking and taking photos. I WILL COME BACK! Hopefully before it turns into another Guilin.
If I was to summarize our China trip, I would say that it is by far the most fun and scenic tour ever! At least until my next big trip that is. I did save the best until last and Yangshuo has lived up to my expectations and more. But my suggestion would be getting out of the city centre (only go there for food and a beer if you fancy one). Hire a bike and cycle around, enjoy the beautiful backdrops and fields. I strongly suggest anyone to engage the locals as they love visitors. Man, what a place this is.
Until my next big trip, which can be a few years from now, perhaps when my twins are a bit older.
If you have missed my previous blogs of China travel, here’re the links:
Before I stop writing, I will leave you with this gallery highlighting some general snaps from my wife and a few more photos from me. Enjoy!