Rest and relaxation in Yangshuo..... or not
Trip Start Apr 14, 2010
96Trip End Apr 16, 2011
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Yangshuo is on the Li river surrounded by incredible karst landscape, and has plenty of western tourists and therefore lots of restaurants serving western 'staples’ like pancakes and banana & oreo milkshakes. Having consulted the Lonely Bandit we of course chose the hostel with a rooftop bar with a view out over town to the hills behind and started looking at what we would do there. The answer was lots – and not much relaxation! Yangshuo has some of the best climbing in Asia so that was top of the list, and we soon had recommendations to go cycling, caving and kayaking as well
In a bid to get Sarah on a bike again we decided that instead of hiring normal bikes we’d try taking out a tandem together which proved to be hilarious. The first day it took us a little while to master it but soon we were tackling roundabouts and dirt tracks with aplomb. We may have looked ridiculous but it was a lot of fun! The weather was gorgeous so we took the bike to the bottom of Moon Hill (see pictures) which we then climbed, timing our climb perfectly for the heat of the midday sun – doh!
We then headed on to the ‘Water Caves’ to cool off which were huge and contained mud baths, pools to swim in and hot springs. We had to go with a tour that consisted of about 20 Chinese tourists and 5 westerners including us. Our guide spoke only a tiny bit of English and we found ourselves wandering through the huge caves with her giving lengthy commentary in Chinese, followed by her turning to us and shouting ‘hello, hello’, then pointing her torch at a rock and proclaiming it to be ‘beautiful girl having a bath with six babies’ or ‘Asian people having a party’ (not sure why the little vaguely people-shaped stalagmites couldn’t be from anywhere else) or ‘seven headed lion sitting on a octopus which has its tenticles around a carrot, an aubergine and 12 lychees’ (okay might have made that one up)
The next few days we carried on our tours of the area with some hiking and then a morning’s kayaking down the Yu Long river which we even enjoyed (our last time in a canoe together was in Belize when we were chased by an alligator – this was a big step up!), spotting water buffalo and bamboo rafts
On our final day in Yangshuo we decided to tackle the tandem again and do a 20km cycle up to ‘Dragon Bridge’. It was absolutely beautiful but definitely not designed for a tandem bike; the track took us through rice paddy fields but at times was only a few inches wide with drops down to the paddies on either side and some sharp turns! We managed to stay on it though with only a few moments of having to carry the bike but the next day were more than a little saddle sore.
From Yangshuo we visited the beautiful Longsheng rice terraces for a day’s hiking but decided to take the local buses rather than book a tour and stay overnight afterwards in Longsheng town halfway between the terraces and the airport we were heading to the following day
We found our cheapest room of the trip so far there; for the grand total of £3 we got a double room with an en suite bathroom (albeit a Chinese style one!). The town obviously didn’t have many foreigners either and we were the subject of much amusement, particularly when we ventured out to find dinner and ended up having hot pot with what felt like half of the town. We’re still not quite sure what the meat was in the hot pot as our sign language didn’t get us that much detail but it was really tasty!