google-site-verification: google9c16526066e87276.html


Saturday 11.08.2012

Because of our arrival in the middle of the night we stayed in bed until 10 am (a good bed for a change) This hotel, Li River Retreat, is located just outside Yangshuo near the river, with a wonderful view on the river and the mountains. Too bad it was a little foggy. But the atmosphere was good and the staff very friendly. They let us have breakfast first, before checking in, no rush whatsoever. After breakfast and check in we started to plan our 2 (1,5) days here. Yangshuo is a very lively place and there is much to do and see: We had already booked tickets for a well known sound and light show in the evening. And because of our late arrival we had only the afternoon left, so we booked a relaxed trip on a bamboo boat on the Li river and a bicycle ride and bamboo raft on Yulong river for the next day. This sounded like a good plan.

At 1 pm a driver picked us up to bring us to Yangdi town where we would “embark” on a two hour trip. Once in town he dropped us off at a restaurant. A few minutes later our “driver” arrived and took us to his “bamboo look” raft (made in China, so it was plastic bamboo ….) with chairs on it. We headed out on the river and our captain took it easy deserving the name “Captain Slow”, very okay for us.

On the river there were many boats similar to ours and also big “cruise boats” returning from Yangshuo where they had dropped off tourists that had started their trip in Guilin. Our trip was between wonderful karst mountains and small beaches, of course with shops on it. At one time we also stopped at one of the beaches to have a look around. Immediately after we set foot on shore, we were “attacked” by people that wanted to sell us “junk” or horse rides. We did spend a little money here though. Paul bought some stones for his collection at home. We had only spent 10 minutes before Captain Slow told us that we had to go on. In Xingpin town he dropped us of at a kind of station where small electric busses were waiting to take tourists back to the town center where we could take the local bus back to downtown Yangshuo.

After we had a nice dinner at the hotel a driver picked us up to bring us to the sound and light show. Now you have to know one thing... It seems to us that in China the only traffic rule is: if there is room for one car, there probably also is room for two or three cars. And the result … it is real chaos most of the time. But, much to our surprise, we had seen no traffic accidents. Until that moment, when our driver overlooked a woman on a scooter and he drove right in to her. Luckily in “slow motion”, so the lady was more in shock than in pain. Our driver had to arrange another taxi for us, as well as to take care of the woman. The police was also nearby and rushed in. We did not see the end of it, but it looked like only the scooter and the car had been damaged and that the woman was okay. On we went in the other taxi. When we came close to the entrance, the “room for 1 car rule” was stretched to “when 1 car fits in, there is also room for 1 or 2 busses and another car from the opposite direction”, we reached the next level in traffic chaos! Yet we managed to get to the entrance in time. We learned that we had to go into the park and would receive our tickets from the group leader … which group, what leader? All very confusing so we just started to “go with the flow”. In the end we actually had pretty good seats, second row!

This show, directed by the “maker” of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, attracts many, many people (like all other attractions in China). It is a spectacular show in an amazing setting in between the karst mountains (that were also lit up) around a lake, and it tells the story of the minorities in that region. It was beautiful, We hope the pictures will give you some idea. Once back, we had a beer and went to sleep... well until, somewhere around 4 am. Then Paul started suffering from a light case of food posioning (we won't go into details) ...

Sunday 12.08.2012

Paul was too sick to do anything and we decided that Hilke would just go out on the tour around the countryside alone, so you readers don't have to miss anything …..

After breakfast my guide, Mickey, picked me up, we walked down to the road to select a bike and drove off. First through Yangshuo and after that a nice ride of about 1 hour to a place where I could go on the bamboo raft on the Yulong river. First I bought 2 bottles of water … very expensive. Shortly after that Mickey, told me that the “boat drivers” would have to be tipped. Later I also had to buy the driver a beer … This turned out to be a pretty “commercial” area, but I decided not to let that spoil my trip. This bamboo boat was actually made out of bamboo and, not motorized, just a “driver” with a beam to push the raft. Much better than yesterday's noisy trip! And the scenery was just lovely … in the river there are 7 or 8 small “steps” we had to “conquer” (luckily I have “waterproof” sandals!).

After about 1,5 hours we arrived at the landing where Mickey was already waiting for me. From there we rode to Moon Hill. At the Moon Hill restaurant we had a small lunch before climbing the hill. Mickey would not accompany me …..... she had climbed the hill too much in the past! I don't blame her, it was very, very hot and there were 800 steps to climb! I thought of giving up several times, but after all decided that I could not let my readers (and Paul) down, so I went on and finally made it!

Up on the hill I was rewarded by some wonderful views. Back down again Mickey told me there were to ways to go back to the hotel: 1 that would take 1 hour and 1 that would take 1,5 hours. Because I already had a sore butt (of the boat and the bike) I chose the 1 hour ride. Back at the hotel Paul told me he already felt much better. So we had a small dinner, after that enjoyed the massage and had a nice and quiet evening.

Tomorrow we will move on to Ping'an, famous for its rice terraces.

Enjoy our photos