By far one of my favourite places in China, as you can probably guess. This is countryside unlike any other. Life in the rice fields is set against this glorious backdrop of peaks in every direction. The karst peaks are…bizarre in that they rise at right-angles directly up from the otherwise completely flat land.
Do what the guidebooks tell you: rent a bike and ride and ride until you can ride no more. The countryside is wide open for exploring: take all and any of the little dirt paths you see and you will end up in one kodak moment after another:
Or even better: do it on a motorbike!
The rivers are bridged by these stunning almost circular bridges, each one made famous by some poet or other – not hard to see why, huh.
Moon Hill: an arch-shaped mountain. It is not that difficult a climb, and the views from the top are just… wow. The arch itself is a rock-climbers dream, and the two times I went up it, it was crawling with climbers. At the top, we were greeted by “The Moon Lady” who climbs the mountain everyday, (carrying a load of water bottles with her) to sell water to tourists (who obviously need it more than she does). She also keeps a notebook of messages and mementos left by every tourist she has ever met. It really touched my heart that she had made something so meaningful and heartfelt out of a laborious daily task.
We stopped regularly to chat people on the way. The local people are so smiley and friendly it is hard not to stop and say hi. My Chinese improved significantly as a result!
We also stumbled across an ancient stone village. Exploring those ruins left to crumble in the forest led by a bent-over old lady with missing teeth was nothing short of an enchanted fairy tale experience…
Even Yangshuo town is really very beautiful. Those of us who like to hate on towns in favour of countryside… I feel like this place makes it possible to have it all!
It’s great because you can go from local street alleyway to mountain top in the space of half an hour.
I’ll never forget the awesome people I met there! From all over the world, we definitely gelled together nicely…
I always like to end a post with a sunset scene. Very befitting, don’t you think?