Yangshuo to Guilin to Shanghai

Lake inside the Reed Flute Cave.

Image via Wikipedia

Went for a 6am bike ride that really helped us discover the beautiful countryside villages outside of Yangshuo. The villagers were extremely nice and we were able to truly see their way of life as they plowed the rice fields with water buffalo, sold unrefrigerated fresh meat to locals, ate their morning breakfast of rice noodles, and  performed their morning chores. After an 1.5 hr bike ride, we wandered the streets for local fare and came upon some yummy buns filled with meat with a delicious seasoning.  Then, we opted to head out to a park near our hotel and check out the awesome workout equipment all around the park. Additionally we took a quick, but steep climb up one of the park’s hills to the top, which housed a pagoda with magnificent views of the city.  After heading back down, we watched the people in the park participate in tai chi and Chinese dance.  Finally, we headed back to the hotel to grab a quick breakfast and meet our tour guide at 930a for our trip to Moon Hill.  We took this climb up with two Asian women from the nearby village. One was roughly in her 50s while the other was at least in her 70s. It was a steep 900 step climb to the top of Moon Hill which provided us with beautiful views of the surrounding farms and village. Next, we headed back to Guilin for Elephant Trunk Hill…a beautiful park with the signature mountain. After this, we checked out Reed Flute Cave which was a 22C welcome to the hot, humid weather. The lights were beautifully arranged and colorful! Using your imagination, you could see the different animals, vegetables, fruits, and tangible items in the limestone formations.  Lastly, we headed to the South China Sea Pearl Museum which educated us on the different aspects of pearls and how to choose a good quality pearl. It’s not surprising that a jewelry store was at the end of our tour.  We said goodby to our sweet guide Sophie and checked in at the Guilin airport.  Dinner had pretty limited options, so we hit up an American (and apparently, Chinese) favorite….KFC!  There were slightly different menu options, but I’m not sure what the options are in America as I havent been to one of these in ages.  I got the 4 piece combo…and what came back was fried chicken the tasted like KFC, but was the size of hot wings….not the standard fried chicken size. It came with French fries and we ordered a side of fried dough.  To top it off, I had to get a vanilla ice cream.  After passing through security, we checked out the various airport stores and discovered a couple of interesting items.  1) ants….chopped finely. We discovered that it goes in wine…not sure about the flavor. 2) different cakes: osanthum (a type of tree in the region), chestnut, and some other flavors. The cakes came it quite dry, crumbly, and chalky.  Good thing we didn’t get these as gifts for souvenirs! 3) cool panda hats and backpacks.  They were incredibly cute!

 

Now we wait in the Guilin airport a bit longer as there is a delay in our flight to Shanghai (Pu Dong) secondary to air traffic congestion.

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Guilin to Yangshou

Guilin landscapes

Image via Wikipedia

Took a beautiful run around one of the 4 Guilin lakes around our hotel. It was extremely serene with many older Chinese people doing tai chi and exercises. A more traditional hearty buffet breakfast awaited us…congee, fried rice/noodles, hard boiled tea eggs, dumplings, and other yumminess!  Sophie picked us up and we headed out on the Li river cruise.  The Lijiang River originates in Xing’an County in northern Guilin. It flows 437 km down Guilin, Yangshou, Pingle, and Wuzhou into the West River.  We took a 50km ride down the river from Guilin to Yangshou. The river was winding like a ribbon which beautifully displayed the region’s characteristic peaks.

After disembarking, we walked up West St…a tourist trap.  We checked into New Century Hotel for a couple of hours and then set out for dinner that was about a 10 min walk from our hotel.  We ordered the beer fish, pork-stuffed snails, and meat stuffed tofu and Yangshuo‘s local tea, which was an orange appearing refreshing drink.  Later this evening, we went to the Impression show, which was a splendid display of music, water, dance, and lights….all on the Li River. There were 300 farmers who performed choreography in the water on their bamboo boats, 300 performers from the Impression performing arts school, and 3000 audience members. It was outdoor seating in the hot, humid, blood-thirsty insect happy environment….but it was worth it. The show was incredible! I highly recommend it! It was directed by the same guy who directed the Beijing Olympics in 2008.