24 hours in Yangshuo

I try to condense my posts down to the Chinese province level as I don’t want to bore you with details of every place I see but Yangshuo needs some attention. The idea to write this came to me whilst holding on for dear life to my 60 year old motorbike driver whilst he was navigating the worst potholes in history. Did I mention on a motorbike? No helmet (and my brain is kind of a sensitive issue). At the time, I thought I’d lose a limb, but now that I’m safe and sound on a bus, we can joke about it a little!

Having arrived in Guilin (60kms from Yangshuo in the Guangxi Province of China) from Hong Kong, I’ll admit it was a complete anti-climax. Hong Kong versus Guilin is like trying to compare a Swedish underwear model to Rebel Wilson. 

Hong Kong is just so cool. Definitely a top 5 city for me. 

Yangshuo is the terminus for a raft trip along the Li River. The scenery consists of really beautiful rock formations- something you have to see. I was in 2 minds whether to do it as the weather was dismal but a friend I met in Beijing messaged and by sheer chance she was going to be in Yangshuo at the same time as me (and in the same hostel), so I decided to meet up with her. Thanks Cecile! 

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The Li River and the famous karst mountains. We didn’t have a good weather day but it was impressive nonetheless.

The rain on the raft to Yangshuo was nothing short of torrential. It wasn’t my finest hour- I don’t enjoy being wet in a humid place- it results in a fundamental failure in my sense of humor. Nonetheless, we safely arrived in this small town in the midst of serious construction, just like the rest of China. 

That being said, Yangshuo is lagging a bit. There are no roads- these are currently being built. Secondly, the natural beauty of the place is yet to be ruined by a cable car or mountain railway. Yet.  

The 24 hours here were awesome! There is so much to do, so much to see and so much to eat! I regret not staying longer, but alas, my limited Chinese visa sees me running off to Guangzhou tomorrow so I needed to depart. 

If you find yourself here, you need to do some of this stuff:

The karst peaks- they remind me of scenes from Jurassic park- incredible! The Li River is a great way to see them- you can choose to do a cruise but this is a little too smart for me (a big boat, a big meal, etc) or you can go down the river on a 4 seater raft- it’s a little touristy but the lesser of 2 evils. 

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Another pic of the karst mountains – a little haunting in the cloudy, miserable weather

We went to watch Cormorant fishing- these birds literally follow a manned raft, catch fish with their beaks and then deposit them into the fishermans basket. (There’s a bit more to it but you can figure that out yourself if you visit). 

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The local fisherman and one of his Cormorants 

 

West Road- the main tourist drag here. We cheated and had curry for dinner for multiple reasons:

  1. If I continue battling through with chopsticks, I may die of malnutrition 
  2. I’m done with noodles. Done.
  3. Indian food rocks

We also dabbled with the Chinese bar scene for a bit but wow, it’s too loud. There’s nice loud and then there’s Chinese club loud. I’m not even joking when I say I could see the hair on my arms move as the music washed over me. The vibrations in the walls and floor were something else. Not to mention my skeleton. My hands feel like they are still shaking whilst typing this!

Then just like that, 24 hours are over and I wish I had more time here. It’s funny- on the motorcycle taxi to the bus station, I wasn’t thinking this… the only thought in my mind was how much I miss 7 airbags, a decent suspension and a three point seat belt. Sometimes my old life in South Africa feels a million light years ago!

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