Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Yangshuo

About 70km south of Guilin lies Yangshuo and if you’re in the area looking for some iconic Chinese scenery, then Yangshuo is the place to be. We stayed there for a week at the Outside Inn, a few miles outside Yangshuo and properly in the countryside.

Apart from the ever-present mosquito threat, Yangshuo is a bit of a rural paradise (aside: I have a pretty good way of avoiding the mozzies – stay close to Karen. They seem to prefer the taste of her blood to mine). There was loads to keep us occupied. We went swimming in the river, took a walk into Yangshuo and back (about 3h round trip), hired some bikes to explore the countryside and took a bamboo raft down the Yulong river.

We even got to pretend we were real explorers when our walk to the “Lost Plateau” behind the hostel turned out to be a bit more challenging than expected. The path was slightly more overgrown than advertised – we were warned good shoes were required but really needed a couple of machetes to find the path down the other side. No harm done (apart from a couple of falls and some thorns in my head).

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The "Lost Plateau" - we nearly were
We also spent one morning on a Chinese cookery course and learned how to make five delicious dishes. Turns out I’ve been using a wok wrong all these years. I also got some handy tips on how to hold my chopper.

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"Who you looking at?"
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I cooked all that!
The cooking lesson was preceded by a trip to the local market. I learned about a few new vegetables and also not to eat the local chillies raw (I couldn’t resist, they looked like cherries and the teacher said they weren’t spicy – she was lying). I also learned to be wary of the livestock section. The cages full of live poultry, rabbits and ducks didn’t bother me much – I’ve seen similar and worse all over China, but I definitely heard barking over in the corner. I didn’t investigate further…

We had to dodge the odd thunderstorm but that was fine because it took the edge off the humidity. The food was good, the scenery was idyllic and it was a very relaxing week; a perfect end to our Chinese adventures.

Now we’ve just got a short stopover in Nanning before getting the bus to Hanoi (note to self: must learn Vietnamese on the bus).

I’ll leave you with a selection of the best photos from Yangshuo. As ever, click on the photos link on the right for loads more. I'll try and upload a few more videos from the past few weeks' adventures too.

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Cooking with gas
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Rice paddies and karst hills around Yangshuo
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The swimming pool
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Chinese farmer with water buffalo
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More karst and rice
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Bamboo rafts on the Yulong river
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Our new breakfast buddy
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Us, bamboo rafting on the Yulong river
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Ah, young love (or in this case, two models getting eaten by mosquitos)
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Yangshuo scenery
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Distant karst hills
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Raft race

Yangshuo panorama
Current Location: Nanning until 20th July
Next Stop: Hanoi

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