Posts Tagged ‘ Yangshuo ’

China – Yangshuo (part 1)

April 12, 2010

It was time to go to Yangshuo, our last destination for my week long vacation in China. There is a bus terminal in Xingping and it’s just a short walk from our inn, come to think of it, everything’s just a short walk away in that town. ;) Minibuses leave regularly for Yangshuo. Travel time is around 2 hours and costs 15rmb. One was about to leave when we got there so we got in for the ride which was comfortable given the cold weather. I was enjoying looking at small Chinese villages, at the many orange orchard and the beautiful karst mountains surrounding the area when they said that we’ve already arrived at Yangshuo’s bus terminal.

Getting off the bus, there would be people approaching you to lead you to their hotel or to encourage you to book a tour with them etc. Since we had no plans on where to stay there (only what to do), we followed one lady. She brought us to one hostel just near the main street. There is one room at the 3rd floor there with a balcony and a view that I liked. We were told that a room would cost 150rmb especially for that kind of room (located at the higher floors and with a balcony) but we didn’t want to spend much and we’d agree to only 70rmb. They also have a room with no balcony that they offered for 50rmb. When they wouldn’t agree at first, we went back down to look for another place to stay at, not wanting to lose a customer, they gave in. We just have to give an extra 30rmb for key deposit. :)

TIP: Room rates are displayed by the lobby. They’re normally overpriced. Be sure to ask for a lower price. If you’re not satisfied with the amount, walk away. They will most probably come after you.  If they don’t, keep in mind that there are tons of other inns in the area.

The inn we stayed at (at right)

The view from our balcony

Securing a place to stay at, check! Next in the agenda was to fill our grumbling stomachs, we’re famished! We backtracked the path back to the terminal because there were lots of eateries and shops along the way. Since it was still a bit early, not all stalls were opened. However, there was an old man who was busy cooking on a claypot and the food looked appetizing so we ordered from him. I got chicken (why do I keep on ordering it in China?!!! It’s mostly just bones! Ugh! haha) *note to self: skip poultry dishes when on the mainland* while my companion had some pork,we had some tea to accompany it. Mmmm… Brunch! :)

He was busy cooking our meal on a claypot :D

First meal in Yangshuo

Yangshuo is definitely a beautiful place. Everywhere you look at, there are karst mountains that add mystique to the area, I never tire of admiring them. Chinese architecture is  seen on every building built. It doesn’t feel busy and has a relaxing atmosphere despite the many other tourists in the area. Walking around is a good way of discovering this place. We never got lost no matter if we took different streets nor went inside an alley or two. We even trekked another mountain there though we only got halfway up as the trail we were following didn’t lead all the way up.  Another option is to rent a bike and then head out of the village to do more explorations, that one we plan to do on the next day. ;)

We never ran out of food nor drinks to try out. I loved their (rice) noodles! I want mine with chilis to it though. Yummy! haha Eating or drinking while walking there is common. :D

Street food abounds :)

Lots of condiments to choose from to satisfy every taste

TIP: If you have the time to spare and would really love to live with the locals, a surefire way to save money while meeting tons of friends is to volunteer as an English teacher there for a couple of days. You only have to provide at least 2 hours of your time to talk to their students (they’ll practice their English skills with you) and you’ll be provided with a place to stay at, food, and they even organize trips for their volunteers. Sweet deal huh? ;)

Volunteer in Yangshuo

 

Related Posts:

DIY: Chinese Visa Application

First time in Mainland China

To Guilin By Train

Cruising the Li River

The Quaint Town of Xingping

Trekking a Karst Mountain

China – Xingping (part 2)

April 11, 2010

While we were cruising the Li River and admiring the views we were seeing, I asked my companion if it were possible to climb one of  those mountains and he said yes. Amazingly, the inn where we’re staying at was built on the foot of one of the karst mountains. Our inn owner built a walkway(!) to the top of the mountain; all 1,159 steps of it using his own money, time, and effort. One only has to follow the markers that he put up along the way. The climb can be slippery and steep at some point so it pays to always be cautious. It is a bit tiring but there is a pavilion halfway and at the top where you can rest and enjoy the view of the Li River,  Xingping and the surrounding area. It is recommended by our host to stay there for the sunset as the view is stunning but I didn’t want to risk going back down in the dark so we didn’t wait for it. The view was still beautiful. :)

The map of the climb :)

Just follow the arrow

The path on the right leads upward while the one on the left would lead you back to the Japanese garden

Halfway through the trek; inside the Peace Pavilion

Watch your step!

Viewing the Li River from above

The town of Xingping

Friendship Pavilion, a place to rest at while atop the mountain

Enjoying the breeze

Viewing the opposite bank of the river

It was almost dark when we got back to the inn. Our hostess had cooked a sumptuous meal for us and we joined their family for supper. She prepared four dishes, all of which I’ve tasted for the first time but enjoyed it all the same. If there’s one thing I noticed about Chinese cooking, it’s that when they serve poultry dishes, it’s mostly bones! What happened to all the chicken meat??? Guess they just love to chew and suck on chicken bones. hehe Another custom of theirs that’s different from us is the fact that they’d put their discarded food/ bones on the table itself and not on a small dish, bowl nor at the edge of their plate. I was just a bit surprised at first because it went against what I’ve been taught my whole life but no big deal there for me. Dinner lasted for more than 3 hours because of the conversation. We had to call it a night when it became too chilly to just hang out by the dining area.

Enjoying home cooked dinner

Picture with our hosts before leaving for Yangshuo

http://www.laozhaishan.com/

Room rate: 100rmb/ room/ night with internet cable

Related Posts:

DIY: Chinese Visa Application

First time in Mainland China

To Guilin By Train

Cruising the Li River

The Quaint Town of Xingping

Arrival in Yangshuo

China – Xingping (part 1)

April 11, 2010

After a lovely Li River cruise, our next goal was to find and check in at our guesthouse in Xingping.

Our boat unloaded the four of us to a small bank where a few vendors and minivans/multicabs where parked. We decided against riding coz we saw buildings just up ahead and thought that our inn would be somewhere along that area. We kept on walking and I didn’t mind it at all, the pretty landscape surrounding us was enough to keep me distracted.

However, as we walked the stretch of endless road, buildings were getting scarcer and scarcer in between (and with no cars nor people in sight), it got harder for me to keep moving forward because I didn’t know where we were nor do we have any idea of our proximity from our destination. I was thinking to myself  “please don’t let us get lost in the middle of nowhere!” Good thing I was traveling with a very patient person because I was getting irritable. He easily kept his cool. :) There were many fruit bearing shrubs and I was very tempted to take some from them coz I was getting hungry. I didn’t. I wouldn’t.  haha

A multicab filled with passengers would pass by at least every 20minutes, since I was beat, I made him agree to catch the next one, alas! It was also full. Lucky us, another one passed and the driver was able to squeeze us in. We were facing the rest of the passengers, mostly elementary school girls. Most of which were giggling a lot (hmmm… I wonder why) :D

Turns out we were still several kilometers away from our destination. Our destination was the port where the big boats dock for more sightseeing for their passengers. Our guesthouse was just by the riverside. We stayed at Laozhaishan Hotel, owned and operated by a Japanese man and his Chinese wife. The inn is right by the river. There is a Japanese garden outside and the view from their rooms is just superb! At first glance, the place looks cluttered. However, if you’ll look closely, you’ll see that each item is special for them. The stairs leading upstairs as well as the hallway on the 2nd floor was a bit dark. Linens used seemed a bit old and the bathroom wasn’t in perfect condition. It seemed like we were the only guest there though we did meet a few more. Despite all of these flaws, my companion wanted us to stay here because he has heard so much about the inn’s owner, Mr Hayashi, that he wanted to meet him.

The view of the river from our room

Inside the hostel

Looking around

The owners were very kind. They were  fussing over us, more so to my companion who is also Japanese. They were all speaking in Japanese, I didn’t understand a thing, though they’d translate some for me from time to time. They asked us what we’d like to have for dinner because they will cook for us (we were gonna cook for them too but it didn’t happen) so I said chicken, my fave. :)

After checking in our stuff, we decided to explore the area. Xingping is a small flat town along the Li River surrounded by beautiful karst mountains. Located between Guilin and  (27kms upstream from) Yangshuo, it doesn’t get that much visitors. It didn’t take us long to actually walk around town. There is one main road and there are many stores alongside it some of which were selling very cheap stuff (i was able to buy a toothpaste for 2rmb and some drinks for 2-4rmb), as well as many affordable eateries and a few hostel. Most of the buildings along the main street seemed new. There is a portion of the village wherein you’ll see the old streets though. They were very interesting, it felt like I was walking around ancient China. I met an old man who’s selling his paintings of the Li River along one of the old streets for around 30rmb (you can initially haggle it down to 20) but I got it for 5rmb. I wanted to buy around 10-15pcs for maybe 4rmb each as gifts for friends but he shooed me away coz he said the other tourists would buy his work for at least 20rmb! He said I was such a cheapskate! haha I liked his work but as I saw when I got to Yangshuo, his work was that of an amateur. I wanted t0 take a picture of him with his many paintings but then we would have to shell out some yuan so I didn’t.

Souvenir stalls

Old street

Related Posts:

DIY: Chinese Visa Application

First time in Mainland China

To Guilin By Train

Cruising the Li River

Trekking a Karst Mountain

Arrival in Yangshuo