Relaxing in the Countryside

Trip Start Sep 05, 2011
Trip End Nov 07, 2011

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Flag of China  , Guangxi Zhuang,
Friday, September 23, 2011

We were very excited on Wednesday morning waking up to the famous mountains of Guilin. I say waking up, but we didn't really get much sleep on the sleeper train.

We slept on the two middle bunks of a 6 sleeper cabin, a cabin that doesn't have a door so people walk past all night; unfortunately we were right by the toilet which is used for the Chinese tradition of spitting!

Anyhow, we made it to Guilin for about 8am in the morning. As soon as we stepped out of the station we were bombarded with people trying to sell us bus journeys to Yangshuo. After much harassment we eventually found what we thought was the official bus, the price of 18 Yuan looked more realistic that some of the unofficial buses which were around 80 Yuan. The journey to Yangshuo was just over an hour.

Yangshuo is beautiful. It is a small tourist town located next to the Li River and Yulong River, surrounded by small mountains. It is a bit cooler here, the humidity of the previous cities has gone leaving a nice comfortable temperature, and luckily it is still sunny.

The town is full of nice restaurants, bars and markets; hopefully we will find some souvenirs here as we haven’t yet found any in the cities. We have got a hotel room for 7 a night and it even has a jacuzzi shower!

Chris joined us the following morning. We hired some scooters so that we could go out into the countryside. Everyone drives scooters out here you don’t even need a driving licence! We hired one scooter so Mike decided to drive as he thought this was for the best! Mike has never driven on the right hand side before (not that it matters over here as everyone drives anywhere), Chris doesn’t even have a driving licence! So once we had got used to the scooters we set off into the countryside.

We headed towards Moonhill (you can see it on the photos), basically a mountain with a hole in it. As you drive along the main road, there are lots of tourist attractions to see such as water caves. We turned down onto a side street to try and see some more countryside outside of the main tourist area. The road led to a small village where the residents have grouped together to form an unofficial toll of 10 Yuan. We didn’t mind paying as they don’t exactly look rich; we don’t think they even have running water! We saw the village school and a few people said "Hello" as we drove past. After the village, the path turned into rubble and looked handmade, we continued for some time passing fields of crops and the odd house. People were working in the fields collecting vegetables. It was so incredible to see people living such different lives to ourselves. We even saw some cows wondering around the roads and people with animals on ropes walking along.

We have been on a bamboo river cruise along the Li River. We decided to go to the Li River as we had been told that this is where the best scenery of the mountains can be seen. The cruise was just over an hour long and was a good opportunity to relax and enjoy the view. We stopped off a couple of times along the river where people try to get you to pose for photos; we avoided these and took our own pictures. This was definitely a highlight of our trip so far, the scenery on the river is just beautiful.
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