15.10.2013 - 18.10.2013 24 °C
The last couple of days we have been based in Yangshuo - the first of our stops in mainland China! It is such a beautiful place with meandering rivers and beautiful karst peaks. The town is so pretty and quaint, but complete with a McDonalds and KFC it feels quite westernised too! We've done plenty of cycling, which in the main town area is a bit like taking your life in your own hands (definitely no cycle lanes in China!) but well worth it when you reach the countryide as the landscape is amazing!!
On our first full day in Yangshuo on Tuesday, we took a bamboo raft up the Lijiang River - it was so relaxing, and the scenery was breathtaking. The little Chinese man steering the raft even let Ben and I both have a go - much more difficult than they make it look!
Wednesday we cycled to these cool caves which house natural mud baths and hot springs - I wasn't such a fan of the mud baths, but loved relaxing in the hot springs! Wednesday we also went for the best Chinese dinner I've ever had at a restaurant called Cloud 9 - the Chinese takeout round the corner at home doesn't come close!!
Thursday was our last full day in Yangshuo and we spent it kayaking up the Li River - again the most amazing scenery!! The river's current did most of the work so I got a chance to catch a bit of a tan! In the afternoon we took a Chinese cookery class - health and safety was a bit questionable but it was so much fun, definitely going to have a go at making the food when I'm back home!!
Thursday also entailed our first experience of a Chinese supermarket - which led to lots of potnoodle type purchases and Ben behind the shop counter using their internet to look up the Mandarin translation for 'rum' and 'brandy' as the poor shopkeeper didn't have a clue what we wanted! Needless to say we made a few choice alcohol purchases!
I'm currently writing this on the way to our next destination - Cheng Du. We started our journey yesterday and 24 hours later we're still travelling! My first experience of a sleeper train! It's a bit cramped but lots more roomy than the 11 hour sleeper bus journey to Yangshuo from Hong Kong so I can't complain!
I left Yangshuo excited to be moving on to our next stop, but equally as disappointed to be leaving. Yangshuo felt authentically Chinese with it's beautiful latern-clad buildings and stone cobbled streets and is definitely somewhere I would consider re-visiting as even with all we did I felt there's more we could have done!