|After spending almost two weeks in Yunnan Province, my next
stop was now in Guangxi Province. My final destination here was Yangshuo,
a small village in the east part of
the province. To get there I had to pass the main city of the area, Guilin. The night train from Kunming to Guilin
took 19 hours for me. Some train takes 31 hours, so make sure you book the
Guilin and its surroundings is known for being one of the most beautiful
places in China. Thousands, maybe millions, of Chinese goes here every
year to enjoy the nice weather, the beautiful Lijiang River (not to be
mixed up with Lijiang city in Yunnan) and the scenic surroundings. Like
the Yangtze River this area is often used as a theme in traditional Chinese
Following the Backpackers
Guilin is now known to be a real tourist trap and today many travelers seeks alternative destinations in this area. And so was I, going where all
the other backpackers where going...to Yangshuo and the banana pancakes.
Mountains over the ricefields
Tourists on bamboo rafts on the Yue Long He, the
Moon Drake River.
A collateral to Li Jiang River.
Yangshuo, the backpackers paradise, is one hour south of Guilin
on the riverside off Lijiang. It's a perfect place to chill out after
being on the
road for a while. In that way it's a similar place to Lijiang in Yunnan.
Many tourists recharge their energy in Yangshuo before going down south to
Vietnam or Laos or east to Yunnan. For me this was almost the end of my journey
and I needed to settle down after being nearly two month on the road. I
didn't rest to much though.
I had a nice double with TV and my own shower for 40 Yuan. I couldn't
complain about that!
As you can understand, this place is crowded with tourists, both Chinese
and westerners. A lot
of Chinese from the neighboring Guangdong (former known as Canton) Province comes here just for a weekend
holiday. Other ordinary tourists maybe stay for a week. Life is
easy here and it's easy to get stacked, thus, the backpackers usually stays here for a week or
West Street is the place where all the tourists meet. Most of the restaurants and hotels
are placed around this street. And all the souvenir vendors of course.
Today West Street is so crowded that they have been forced to invent a "New" West Street.
Anyway, you can have American breakfast, Swedish vodka, English beer, Italian
pizza or just a ordinary steak. Not to
forget coffee, which you almost don't get any where else in China. And of course, the prices also are western style.
I don't really like this. What's the point in traveling halfway round
the world to eat breakfast from your home country. Stupid, isn't it?
Besides those crossover restaurants is not really good at making either Chinese
or western food.
Old west street...
...and the new west street
One of the most famous sceneries near Yangshuo is the Moon Hill. The
Moon Hill is a cliff with a round hole on the top. The easiest way to go
there is by bike about 30 minutes southwards from the city.
Bring Your Own Water
To get up to the top is
a 20 minute walk up the stairs on the slope. Not to heavy, but as it is
quite warm you probably need to drink a lot when you reach the top. The vendors knows this,
so if you don't buy water from them at the ground level they simply
follows you to the top. And the price increase according to the
altitude. I'll just tell you.
It's a nice view from the top of the Moon Hill.
The countryside and the mountains is disappearing in
On the Countryside
If you are not just looking for an easy life, there is still plenty to
do. Just rent a mountain bike, they have very good ones, go hundred meters outside the city and you are on the
Chinese countryside, surrounded by rice and sugar cane fields and
farmers doing their everyday work.
It's easy to bike around as it is not very hilly. There are beautiful
scenery with vast green and yellow fields, dramatic hills popping up like
mushrooms on the ground and you see the horizon disappearing in the haze.
Make sure you got a good bike
though, as the smaller roads are not paved and perhaps you end up on
just small paths between the fields.
Moon Drake River
West of the city is a small river, the Yue Long He,
the Moon Drake River. It' possible to bike along the river side criss
crossing between the rice fields and the small farmer villages.
Rice, Rice, Rice.
Rice fields mixed with sugar canes south of
The last day in the Guangxi Province I spent on a tour
Shen in the north corner of the province. It's an area called Long Ji Ti
Tian, the Dragons Backbone Rice Terraces.
Here you find a spectacular hilly
landscape with peaks of 800 meters. The slopes are all perfectly cut out
in terraces an from a distance it really looks like the back of a snake,
hence the name.
On the top of the hill is a natural spring supporting the terrace
with water. The chili grows on the top of the hill.
It's a area of minority people living here, like the Yao, Dong,
Zhuang and Miao. Until recently it was a very poor area, but today the
farmer villages makes big money on tourists coming to see the rice
fields. And now the villages are growing and you see a lot of new
buildings. Hope they don't forget how to grow their crops.
The small Yao women weight around 45 kilos but can carry 60 kilos of
grain. Until recently they had to walk for a day to get to the local
market and sell their rice. Now they have the broad tourist road that
takes them to the market in just a hour. Life is getting easier.
A Changing Scenery
They only has one harvest a year here in
the mountain. Down in Yangshuo they have at least two harvests. The scenery here changes according to the
In the winter it's all white, covered in snow. In the springtime it's
all drowned in water, reflecting the color off the sky, and in early autumn
the rice are shining in a bright yellow color. At the time for my visit, in late
October, the crops was already harvested, leaving just the brown soil on the
ground. Not the best time