Laura's World Tour
27th Jul 2012 - 1st Aug 2012
Yangshuo - Backpacker Heaven
Suddenly it has arrived and I am in my last destination in China - time is ruthless like nothing else. I thought that I would spend one or two days in Yangshuo but on arrival I knew that I was going to spend as much time as possible.
Yangshuo is much like Guilin regarding the Karst formations but so much more impressive as the town is so much smaller (in Chinese terms which means that it is still massive) with old streets that are too narrow for cars to drive down, which are packed full of cafes and kiosks selling this that and everything. It is also on a river which has nothing but trees, grass, Karst formations and, of course the occassional water buffalo stopping off for a swim to cool in the days humid heat.
After settling into my hostel, Kev arrived to collect me and show me around town a tad and catch up over a beer. Followed, interestingly by a quick hike up one of the Karst formations to a pagoda. We walked through a park on the way which was filled with people dancing/exercising after work, milling around and kids enjoying the opening of the weekend theme park on Friday evening. We shared the many stairs with a couple friendly folks who were sweating as much as we were but happy with the fresh after the afternoon rain. The view from the top was just lovely. Peering past karst hills onto the town that was laid out between and around, but ultimately ending with a horizon of lumps and shadows. The retro pagoda lights were turned on and we returned to town to join friend's of Kevs for an evening of beer and chatter.
Kev has surrounded himself with awesome people who are in Yangshuo studying Chinese (mainly) and those that aren't, are there for the world class rock climbing of the area. An awesome mix and chats ranged to all subjects, coming to laughter filled end in the wee hours of the morning over street kebabs eaten sitting on low stools under the stars.
In true Kev style, he was late for our meeting time the following morning to go rock climbing at Wine Bottle (I think that's the name of the face we climbed) but he arrived which is the important thing... We cycled out of town for about 30 mins, out of the concrete and glass and quickly in amongst the karst hills and farm lands and grass (a the numerous tour buses herding people from sight to sight). I still don't know the different climbing difficulties but Wine Bottle is at a level that Kev and Joey were able to climb so they took the lead, getting the hooks clipped up and all. Then it was my turn, so cool! I didn't get to the top but I did damn well I think or rather well enough to the stiff the next day and the gents also struggled with the section I couldn't conquer - no worries.
Climbing is a whole day affair I learnt and we only found ourselves back in town at 4pm to be showered and ready for Saturday evening dinner with friends leaving for the States followed by further drinks and general festivities in numerous bars around the small old part of town.
At this point it might be easier to just state that every night we met friends at this place or that for a series of drinks and different watering holes. The people involved differed slightly but the core participants were always involved.
It being Sunday, Kev had time again for a day of activities - we went climbing. Kev has all his own gear which means absolute freedom which we exercised by attempting Moon Hill. We had hired a scooter to allow us to cover greater distances so as to meet up with friends later in the day at Dragon Bridge.
We climbed at Moon Hill which is a hill that has a hollow like someone drilled a hole through the middle of the hill - creating a frame to view the countryside on the other.
There is an entrance fee for Moon Hill but got in half price as a local lady took her fee and led us on the local path, through some dense bush but on a well worn path (she does this a lot) to the fence of the park which looked worse for illegal wear and we happily climbed over and were handed used entrance stubs. She smiled, waved us up the stairs and happily exited the park through the main gate to get some more tourists. The entrance officials had to know what she was up to as she never enters but exits numerous times a day...
We obviously didn't climb the overhang (one of the most difficult climbs in the word) but one of the side walls. We got a bit confused on the correct route up, Kev lead climbing and me pilleting (pillaying) and Kev found himself on a route that was beyond his skill so had to leave equipment there (Kevs neighbour collected the next day). We climbed this route all morning in the heat and packed up as the sun was creeping over the top of the wall leaving us no longer in the shade.
We then loaded us onto the scooter, just like old days in Indonesia, and zoomed off to the Dragon Bridge. We were too late to meet up with friends but what a stunning place. The bridge is uber old (can't remember) and goes over a smaller river which doesn't have engined boats, just paddles making the water so quiet with kids swimming and their elders watching from a distance. We ate late lunch at the restaurant there: egg and tomato, and eggplant and chilli dishes. Delicious!
And spent the remainder of the dying afternoon walking on both side of the river, taking pics and watching people.
The landscape viewed from the Dragon Bridge is the image that used to be the original Windows background, or so I was told. Quite stunning especially with the water buffalo hanging out on the river sides.
Monday saw Kev back at the grindstone so I hired a bike in pursuit of the Water Caves which Kev told me about. I ventured courageously into the unknown but unfortunately, didn't find them (I looked at the map again later and they were far away) but on my way back to town I bumped into other water caves (The Gold Water Caves) where I spent the afternoon.
These caves where created from water erosion through the karst hill over thousands of years. In the passages and chambers there are stalactite and stalagmites from above and below which are enchanting. I went with a compulsory tour through the caves and was not supplied with one piece of information about the age of the formations, how what or why just shown, with a flash light on top of the florenscent coloured lights what the formations looked like. Not quite what I expected with names such as 'frog prince' and 'bamboo' and other such obvious descriptions. Anyways.
We were then led to a mud bath which was fun, a little weird to embrace though and finally hotsprings to laze in. All this within the cave complex. A cool day spent in the coolness of the caves which I was reminded of when I returned outside to the heat of the day and my cycle back into town.
When I got back, I successfully locked Kevs keys in his room and had to get the landlord involved who speaks zero english and caused a bit of trouble that ended in my getting kicked out the building until Kev returned home from his lessons. All sorted though when Kev got home.
Tuesday, Kev took off from work in the morning and we went climbing somewhere - I forgot the name. Again, we cycled out of town, off the main road and through a small village before being completely surrounded by just the hills and the farmlands. We parked our bikes at someones house and walked for a bit until we got to the wall. This one we nailed and Kev got everything rigged up so that I could climb which I did like a boss! I got right up to the top - let's call it 26m in a slow and steady way. Such an awesome view of the world from up there, just the hills and farmland outstretched as far as the eye could see in a patchwork quilt of greens.
And that afternoon, I reengineered my CV while Kev was in class to send out to my future employer - if you know who you are, please let me know... While I was working at his computer, the sky opened in such a dramatic style and poured down, just for an hour. I love the way it rains in Asia!
Then, quite suddenly, it was time for me to leave Yangshuo and head towards the Vietnamese border. A bus to Nanning where I spent the night and then onto Hanoi via bus - hello Vietnam!
|29th Jul 2012 Yangshuo|
|Yulong River in Yangshuo with the Karst mountains in the background|
|1641 Words | This page has been read 19 times||View Printable Version|