Yanghsou - The Most Beautiful Place in China

Trip Start May 18, 2005
Trip End May 18, 2006

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Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Well we arrived here after a 27 hour (yes thats right - 27 hours) train journey from Shanghai. We got into Guilin which is about 60 miles from Yangshou at 10pm and got on a bus which drove through pitch darkness in the pissings of rain for an hour before it got here. The fuckers left us on the outskirts of the village too so we had no clue where we were (we think they planned it too coz there was a guy waiting there trying to flog us some crappy hotels). Plus it was literally pouring down in sheets of rain. So we ran for the nearest hotel and bargained them down from about 40 euro a night to 16. You can bargain for anything here, its great!!

The next morning we went about town to look for a better place to stay and straight away you realise that this is a stunning place, like something out of a chinese scroll painting with all those pointy mountains that come up out of nowhere. We found a nice hotel (6 euro a night) right on the Li river with a private balcony looking out across the river and the mountains and right in the centre of the village. Very nice.

This is a real back packer haven. Loads of little cafes and restaurants. Its real relaxing. But its not too touristy, not yet anyway. It'll probably change soon. There's loads to do here if you're into the outdoors, its the rock climbing capital of the world apparently. I tried a bit the other day, very hot and very tiring but worth it for the views at the top. You can rent good bikes too for about 1 euro a day and head off around the countryside cycling between the paddy fields towards anything you like the look of. The people here are so old fashioned - they still plough the fields with Water Buffalos and plant the rice by hand. Nice to see it though.

We went watching cormorant fishing last night, that was deadly. The local fishermen train these cormorants (birds for those of you who don't watch David Attenborough) to swim down into the water and catch fish for them. Amazing to watch. The fisherman lets the cormorant eat every seventh fish he catches. Don't know why the cormorant doesn't just eat them all or fly away or something!!! I'll stick up some photos of it later.

We have to go into town now and arrange transport for ourselves into Vietnam - we've decided to leave Hong Kong off our list coz its just too expensive. This way means we can spend more on luxury hotels in Thailand when we get there.

After organising that we're heading caving in some mud caves - about a 10km cycle from here. Apparently there are these hot mud pools that you have to get into naked coz there's no clothes allowed. I might not post photos of that!!
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