Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Yangshuo was simply stunning. It is a small town set on the banks of the Li River, and surrounded by dozens of limestone peaks. It is the China that most people imagine or see in the movies. The town itself is a bit of a tourist haunt, and one thing we have learnt about China is that 95% of the tourists are domestic. That makes for some pretty entertaining viewing. There is so much junk for sale - the Chinese are consumers, no doubt about that, and they will buy anything.

The area surrounding Yangshuo is really what makes this place interesting. Several rivers flow through the area amongst the limetone karsts and farms. Twice we hired bikes and rode around rice paddy's and small villages - a good way to appreciate how beautiful the place really is. We did a 24km hike along the river which was incredible. Sometimes its easy to put your NZ hat on and say that nothing compares to home, but this was unlike anything I'd ever seen before. I guess the difference being that at home its all in close proximity - in China the good stuff is REALLY GOOD, but so far has been few and far between.

On our final night we did a cooking course out in the country which was heaps of fun. Its the second one we've done now and its such an awesome way to get to know a culture better. In China the food reflects the seasons, and after cycling and walking around in the countryside you realise how important each ingredient is and how much effort goes into obtaining it. Yin and Yang is also represented in the food, and knowing these small facts makes a walk through the market more interesting and certainly gives you more appreciation for what you're eating, rather than just wolfing down a bowl noodles.
Despite a minor blowout in the form of a missed flight (quickly sorted out by the legendary Annelies), we finally left Yangshuo bound for Chongqing. It was an amazing six days and I can recommend it to anyone travelling in China.

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