Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yangshuo and the great Guanxi bike ride

We got to Yangshuo in the afternoon and after finding our hostel (in a small village about 20 minutes’ walk outside of Yangshuo), we spent the rest of the night exploring the downtown area. Yangshuo is known as the Ko San Road (famous backpacker street in Bangkok) of China and it didn’t disappoint. The main downtown area consists of two walking streets with stores, restaurants, bars and clubs.

The next day we rented bikes and headed up along the Yulong River that runs between beautiful karst formations (show pictures). The ride through the small villages was great, and took us about 2 hours over paved roads, small paths, and everything in between.  

After getting lost a couple of times, we finally made it to our destination, Dragon Bridge. The bridge was built in the 1300s. We just got there in time to see a waigouren jumping off the bridge. To many surprised onlookers, Juli decided to join him and barely missed the bamboo boats streaming under the bridge.  

Not to be outdone, Todd jumped third as the Chinese tourists cheered him on. Unfortunately Todd is no Chinese diver. He over-rotated a bit and nearly landed flat on his back (reverse belly-flop). We attempted to negotiate a float down-river but ended up deciding just to bike back instead.

We headed back south, past Yangshuo to Moon Hill and climbed the many steps (about 900 I think) to the lookout point, the “moon” in the hill. Here's the view from the ground:

Luckily Todd was nice to one of the locals trying to sell beer and water and she told us about an “off limits” route to the very top of the mountain where we were rewarded with the best views of the area, as well as two goats hanging out at the top - fortunately they didn’t mind us hanging out for a while too. 

From there we went to Moon Hill Cave where we tried to relax our sore muscles in the mud pools and hot water springs. It was really fun to see Todd slide into the mud pools (almost as fun as trying to listen to him get a massage without laughing).

Unfortunately, we weren’t done with physical activity and still had another 1.5 hour bike ride back to the hostel. My bum is still sore thinking about that day (I think we left at 9 and didn’t get back until 7 that night, plus we had to ride our bikes into town that night).

The first night in Yangshuo, we had many young Chinese women come up to us and ask us if we would go with them to the English Corner. Sensing a “tea ceremony” scam, Juli was hesitant to go with them. After doing some research, we learned that the english corner was legit and decided to try it out. We had a great dinner and then headed to the English Corner where they were having a party, with free beer and fruit for english speakers. It ended up being a great night where we got lots of free beer, took lots of pictures and met many young Chinese men and women who were learning to speak English.  


The Nextian said...

Free beer for English practice? Sounds like you negotiated a good deal.

Toddmy said...

It was a good deal, wish we hadn't dismissed it as a scam on night one and gotten two nights of free beer. of course, the common Chinese beers max out around 3.6% ABV, and one of the more common is called "Snow" which is a pee-inducing 2.5%. Snow indeed.