A Travellerspoint blog

On To Yangshuo!

semi-overcast 24 °C
View To Asia and Beyond!! on AmyRossiter26's travel map.

21EE4B2F2219AC68177152F16F40C260.jpg 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!
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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!!
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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!!
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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!
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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!
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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!

Posted by AmyRossiter26 17:52 Archived in China Comments (0)

...And So The Journey Begins!

sunny 28 °C
View To Asia and Beyond!! on AmyRossiter26's travel map.

IMG_3899.jpg IMG_3902.jpg Hong Kong - familiar yet unrecognisable, so much like any other big city but yet so unlike anywhere else at the same time. With it's towering scrapers and busy shop fronts it could be any city in the world, but what separates Hong Kong is its juxtaposition of beautiful mountain peaks that form the backdrop to this 24 hour city. Infact, more than 70% of Hong Kong is made up of hills, mountains and tropical forestry! On Monday we'll be hiking up Victoria Peak - we could take the historic Peak Tram to the top, but I need to burn off all this delicious food somehow!
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Today we took the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour from Hong Kong Island to mainland Hong Kong and Kowloon - a MUST do if you're situated on Hong Kong Island, if only for the spectacular view it gives. We took time to walk the harbour concourse and took some photographs of the view of HK Island. We then walked the 'Avenue of the Stars' - Hong Kong's version of The Hollywood Boulevard! A great opportunity to appreciate everyone from Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li to other world famous superstars including the legendary Yu So Chow, Fung Bo Bo and William Chang Suk Ping... Hmm, maybe not.

We then vanished into the city's neon-clad streets, bustling with shops selling everything from tailored suits to traditional herbal medicines. If you've got money to blow, there's Chopard jewels and Rolex watches aplenty! (Slightly out of our price range unfortunately!) There's also lots of restaurants catering for varying tastes and budgets! After a bit of a wander we found a restaurant within one of the many shopping centres, and what a find it was! A dinner of beef steak and udon noodles cost the bargain price of $HK45 - which is about £4!! It was a delicious wagamama-esque meal, only slightly dampened by a gradual losing battle with our chopsticks! What's wrong with a knife and fork?!
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Tomorrow we're heading again to the harbour, but in the evening, so as to witness the Symphony of Lights display - a laser-light show projected from atop the skyscrapers across the harbour - apparently not something to miss!

Although first impressions of Hong Kong are just that of a city filled with shops and skyscrapers, there's so much more to it!! Hong Kong is dripping with history, so tomorrow we're also making a visit to some of it's many historic museums. Kowloon is also home to a picturesque park with a Chinese garden, which we're told is worth a visit - we may go along there tomorrow with a picnic!

Hong Kong is the first stop on our RTW trip and I am so glad it is! It's nice (if a bit strange) to be in a place so far away, but which has so much to remind us of home - we've already made two visits to McDonalds!!

Posted by AmyRossiter26 10:01 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (4)

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