China - A Planner's Journey



We arrived in Yangshuo in the evening upon a bus from Guilin Airport. Outside of the big cities, Yangshuo is probably one of the principal tourist meccas of China - for foreigners and Chinese alike.

Our hotel was called the Morning Sun. I believe it was the friendliest and most pleasant hotel I experienced in China.

The image immediately to the left above shows the front of the hotel. The right image shows the view from the roof.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the Morning Sun hotel was the outdoor seating on the fronting sidewalk. These chairs afforded a great view of the adjoining pedestrian street and its vivid streetlife. We even had Chinese school girls stop to talk with us and practice their English.

River Walks

The term karst was first used to describe an area of the Dinaric Alps in Yugoslavia. It is now used to refer to any similar topographical region throughout the world. Karst topography is a three-dimensional landscape shaped by the dissolution of a soluble layer or layers of bedrock, usually carbonate rock such as limestone or dolomite. These landscapes display distinctive surface features and underground drainages. The limestone around Yanshuo was laid down in ancient seas over millions of years.

On our first full day in Yangshuo we awoke to heavy rain. It became intermittent by noon. Following a Tai Chi class, which lesson I promptly forgot, I followed Diecui Road to the promenade along the Li River at Binjiang Road. The surrounding karst peaks seemingly floating in the mist gave an ethereal quality to the morning scene.

The rainfall was moderate, not unpleasant to walk through. The streets tended to curve, but by keeping aware of the position of certain peaks looming over the village, it was easy to stay on the chosen course.

The venders at the riverfront had covered their wares. Relatively few people were up and about enjoying the fresh air. The images below give some sense of the beauty of this village in the south of China.

The rain stopped in the afternoon and I decided to strike out on my own along the Pantao Road, going out of town toward the river at the south side of town. Liyu Shao is an island in the Li River on the southwestern outskirts of the village. Walked over a foot bridge to the island where I took photos of the landscape, river boats and people. Returned by the same road back to the city, strolling into occasional stalls that interested me. Noted in passing the variety of goods for sale, the ubiquitous use of the cell phone, the relaxed pace of the venders who would sit and play a board or card game when sales were slow - the easy give and take of the people.

The slides below include scenes observed during both these walks.

Click on the box to the right to generate a series of photos taken on the walk to the river promenade and Liyu Shao Island

Xilang Hill

On my return to Yangshuo, I tried to find the pathway to a pagoda topped peak that had entrigued me since my arrival in the village.

The peak is located in Yangshuo Park near the center of the village. I finally found the hidden park entrance (it is shown in the lower left corner of the image above to the right). I had walked by it twice.

Once I was in the park, I discovered the route to the stone steps leading to the top of this peak. The peak sticks up like a castle in the sky of Yangshuo. On the climb to the top a series of magnificent views appear of the village below, the river and a horizon of peaks beyond.

Click on the image below, and then on the magnifying symbol should it appear, to see the eastern panarama visible from Xilang.

Sadly, the climb also brought one of my few experiences with graffiti and litter in China.

Cooking Class

The next morning we headed to a farm in Chaolong Village where we were taught how to prepare a meal using local ingredients grown on the farm. The location was delightful with rice fields stretching toward the surrounding karst hills. The meal I prepared, with a little help, was delicious.

H Graem © 2007