In the beginning of November our InternChina Zhuhai crew started another adventure. This time the destination was called: Yangshuo 阳朔 <<Yáng Shuò>> – a place with unique and truly stunning scenery.
But before I tell you about our trip, here is a little summary about Yangshuo:
Yangshuo County has a fairy-tale landscape with a lot of traditional Chinese, rural culture which has inspired many artists and poets in the past. Its history goes back to antiquity and was established in the Sui Dynasty in 590AD. The architecture and caves allow people to trace back the ancient history. Located in the Guangxi province close to Guilin, the area is a very popular tourist destination and a delightful escape from noise pollution in big cities.
On a Friday we started a 7 hour bus journey from Zhuhai together with about 10 Chinese tourists whom we didn’t know before. Needless to say we were all every excited.
Once we arrived, some of us went to find a midnight bite to eat. The hotel staff told us to be aware of the local “pirates”, which from that moment became the comedy theme of our trip. Nonetheless, we found very delicious BBQ lamb close by, got comfortable on miniature stools for a little while, and made it back safe and sound to the hotel without being made to walk the plank.
The next day we had an early start to finally explore the area and so we got on the bus and went to the world-famous Li River 漓 江 <<Lí Jiāng>>. There we took a boat to cruise along the river and witness the countryside imprinted on the 20CNY note. We also made the acquaintance of these lovely cormorants:
Next we went to XingPing old town aka XingPing fishing village 兴坪镇 <<Xīngpíng Zhèn>> – a street with many small shops and food stalls.
We were prepared for temperatures around 10-15 degrees, however, it turned out to be very sunny and warm that weekend and thus we were not equipped with the appropriate clothes. Speaking of clothes, this brings me to the next point on our budget list: Trying on traditional Chinese outfits at The Big Banyan Tree 大榕树 <<Dà Róng Shù>>. So on top of what were already warm clothes we put another layer of the finest Chinese materials.
We turned into the sight-seeing highlight for many of the Chinese people around us.
About 100 selfies and group pictures later we jumped back on the bus to see the Silver Cave 银 子岩 << Yínzi Yán>>. Luckily we weren’t there during the very busy season and thus had the chance to enjoy the colourfully lit rocks in only partially crowded areas.
But that was not it for the day. The moon-mountain as well as avery eventful dinner was up next.
And once again we turned out to be lucky: we met one of the ethnic minority groups “Zhuang” – really lovely ladies dressed in their traditional outfits – who ended up taking many pictures with us as well! Yangshuo is home to several ethnic minority groups and wearing traditional clothes in daily life still seems to be very common there.
Last but not least we went to see a very impressive, and the world’s largest natural theatre called Impression Liu Sanjie 印象刘三姐 <<Yìn Xiàng Liú Sān Jiĕ>>. Its stage are the waters and natural islands of the Li River and the twelve mist shrouded hills are its backdrop. The performance with 600+ actors is divided into seven chapters including the preface and epilogue which captured the entire audiences’ imagination.
To round off the day we enjoyed a cool breeze around bar street and celebrated the birthday of one of our crew members!
Like true pirates we woke up the next morning bright and early to continue our expedition. This time we took the bus to Yulong River 遇 龙河<< Yù lóng hé >> to go for a round of relaxed bamboo rafting. Even though the weather was drizzly that morning, we didn’t want to miss out on another great experience. The fog covering the mountain tops even gave the area a mysterious look and feel.
After a carefree float on the river we went for lunch close by before heading back to our beloved Zhuhai!
Yangshuo, a small town near the city of Guilin in Guangxi Province, is a very famous landmark of China and one of the InternChina Zhuhai office’s favourite travel spots. Philippe, our office manager, has been there all of seven times, and he likes it so much he will probably continue to go many more times.
For most of the 20 people who went on last weekend’s trip though, it was the first time, and we had high expectations. We left on Friday night and took off on an 8-hour bus ride, which we weren’t too fussed about because after Zhangjiajie, eight hours felt like a piece of cake.
We arrived early Saturday morning and stopped to eat traditional Gui Lin Mi Fen (Guilin rice noodles) for breakfast. Though it wasn’t cold, it was raining, so again we donned our ponchos. We were taken to the wharf and got on the boats for a tour along Lijiang River. Even though the rain and fog did not allow us to see much of the mountains around the river, it was still a nice ride and we were having fun trying to see whose boat would make it to the other end first.
One of the most famous features of Yangshuo is the spot on Lijiang River that is printed on the 20 Yuan notes, and of course, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to take some pictures to show we’d been there!
After the boats we took a walk along Xingping Town, a small town with narrow streets full of little shops where all kinds of souvenirs can be bought. Some of the interns bought amazing scroll paintings picturing the beauty of Lijiang River and its mountains.
Then we were taken to the Yinzi Cave, a huge cave full of stalactites and stalagmites in all kinds of shapes and sizes, which are made even more beautiful by the colourful light effects that surround them. Here you can also buy some special local products such as chilli sauce and chunks of solid honey, straight from the honeycomb.
After the cave we had lunch and then, since it wasn’t raining anymore, we decided to head over to Yulong River (also called the ‘Little Li River’), where we got on bamboo rafts again but this time, we had a mission: a water-gun fight! The funny part was that it took a while before all our rafts were assembled and ready to go, so while we were waiting we started shooting water at each other and by the time we actually got on the boats, most of us were already soaking wet. The rides were also a lot of fun, trying to aim at our friends from far away and even engaging in fights with other Chinese tourists who were more than happy to play around with us. Some of us even jumped in the river for a swim, the water was so clear and fresh we could have stayed there all day.
Then it was off to our hotel, where we took quick showers and headed to a local restaurant where we were served a feast of all kinds of dishes, including snails and the traditional Beer Fish. We were also given some of the local bai jiu (rice wine), which some of the interns drank with enthusiasm while others stuck to the safer option: the local Liquan Beer. After dinner we walked over to Xi Jie – bar street – for a night of dancing and bar-hopping.
The next morning, after breakfast, we visited the Butterfly Cave – another cave which goes up the mountain – and the Banyan Tree which is said to be 1000 years old. Afterwards we had a lunch of duck hot pot, and finally we were taken to West Street in Yangshuo Town, where we spent about an hour walking and looking around, eating fresh passion fruit and shopping for cool Chinese clothes and souvenirs. Then it was back on the bus and back to Zhuhai!