Picture Perfect Postcard China

How could I top the stunning landscape of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park (previous post) in Hunan Province? Well a trip to Yangshuo in Guangxi Province provided a pretty good challenge! It’s the China of your dreams

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Yangshuo is a busy town with an incredible number of tourists thronging the streets…well not this one obviously, there’s just a guy on a bike
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The second hostel I stayed in in Yangshuo was cheap, clean and had a pool table at the rooftop bar. Best view I’ll ever have for pool. Played against myself, still lost :/ Why second hostel I hear you ask. Well the first was grotty and not very nice (and the same price). But as I’m a savvy and well-researched traveller (ha) I knew that Yangshuo is a bit of a Mecca for climbing. So I stayed at the Climbers Inn to meet some climbers.
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And meet some climbers I did! What a bunch of friendly and nice people. They kindly invited me to go climbing with them and when someone asks “would you like to come climbing with us in a cave? It’s called Treasure Cave and has beautiful views, a gentle breeze and has shade from the sun” you shouldn’t hesitate
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And what a place it was. Some climbers managed to climb up the side to the top and then dangle down like spiders
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The other end of the cave. Apparently it was used as a place to store things (treasure maybe?) during the war (which one I’m not sure). I’m great with info 🙂
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A big part of climbing is talking about it afterwards and also acting out moves
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…and then we lynched a guy. Despite what it looks like this guy is just dejected from falling from a tough climb (next image). No people (except me) were hurt that day
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This is the super hard climb. I would say it’s extremely impressive
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What I can discern from my foray into the climbing community is that when you’re not climbing you’re a spectator. If you’re a spectator it means a lot of craning your neck to look upwards to shout encouragement (right). This obviously requires high calorie snacks (left)
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This guy was an impressive climber (and all round great guy)

 

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Climbers like to climb. Even if that means stripper poles in Chinese nightclubs. On a side note I’ve never been offered so many free beers as I was that night
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Outside Yangshuo there is a hill with a TV tower at the top. I walked up and was entirely soaked in my own sweat but so were the other people that I met at the top. Everyone wanted to watch the sunset but officially no visitors are allowed (sensitive equipment apparently). This didn’t stop Gil, the Brazilian girl that’s been travelling for 14 months. She scrambled passed a small space at the side of a building and I followed. It was worth the effort as we were rewarded with one of the most stunning sunsets I’ve ever seen. We were afraid the workers would see us when we left and they did but they couldn’t care less; clearly we’re far from being the first tourists
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When people ask how is the food in China I guess they don’t mean the panda lattes and cheesecake. Afternoon coffee and cake is a hard habit to kick and when I have a chance, like a good junkie I take it
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I guess they don’t mean how’s the pizza either. Low expectations must be set for pizza outside Europe and North America but that said, this one was pretty good. I also ate a lot of local food too but usually my mouth was too busy burning for me to take a picture or I was too tired to think of documenting my breakfast noodle or rice soup
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I moved from noisy, crazy, tourist Yangshuo to the pole-dancing-free Xingping on the Li River
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What’s in Xingping? Landscapes so good they put one on the 20 yuan note
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You can take a river trip on a plastic bamboo raft
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Many people do
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However it’s not cheap so I decided to walk and got much the same experience
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Larger boats also make the journey
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The landscape is mightily impressive and imposing
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Cormorant fishing is a 1000 year old tradition on the Li River. The practice involves tying a snare around the bird’s neck so that larger fish cannot be swallowed but are collected by the fishermen, or at least in the past it was like that. Here you see a fisherman throwing a net into the river. What will he catch?
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Tourists of course! The fishermen only exist for photos nowadays
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I climbed the Laozhai Hill in Xingping in an attempt to recapture the great sunset from Yangshuo. Cloudy and smoky atmosphere made for a poor sunset (see video below) but the landscape is fascinating to see from above
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The hills are so steep-sided that it allows you an almost bird’s eye view

 

 

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Annoying tourist observation: “This is a ripe orange. It’s different from the ones you find back home.”
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The one time you actually want your souvenirs to say “Made in China”
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…but wait what? Good thing they have the Eiffel Tower as I forgot to pick one up on my recent trip to Paris (?!)
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My last few days in China. The flags (flegs?) were going up to celebrate the National Day on 1st October. All advice is to avoid this time as it’s travel chaos and very busy. So I escaped to Hong Kong

 

Next up: Hong Kong Part I: Daytime

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