Cycling around Guilin and Yangshuo

Since Mongolia we have been on the run from the cold of winter, but everywhere we went it kept following us. So it was surprising to arrive in Guilin and not having to wear more than one layer of clothes at a time.

Another thing that improved as well the further we went south was the quality and prices of food. We found a great buffet restaurant, where you could just point at the large variety of dishes served on big plates, which makes ordering that much easier.

We only stayed two nights in Guilin, one of which we spent clubbing and karaoke-ing with a group of travellers we met at the hostel. Like our previous night-out in Zhangjiajie, one generous Chinese host decided to treat all of us for drinks and food.

However we didn’t come to Guilin to party or tour the city, but to see the karst rock landscape that made the region so well known in the first place. Even the 20 yuan banknote is adorned with the iconic rock formations.

The obvious place to go to see the landscape was Yangshuo which was about a 1-2h bus ride south of Guilin. As with any other Chinese tourist areas, Yangshuo has been thoroughly developed with all kinds of shops, bars and clubs. All of it was too much for my liking, but the countryside was only a cycle ride away, which is what we did. We started by following the roads and signs to the obvious attractions like the Moon Hill, all whilst following the river. The weather was gorgeous, despite the bleak forecast the weather apps were giving us.

It felt great being able to go wherever you wanted, following ever smaller paths until we found ourselves in the middle of rice paddies and orange plantations. We continued to cycle until the sun was getting low and it was time to return the bikes back to the bicycle hire.

The next day Ronan and me parted ways, he was heading to Kunming with the train whilst I decided to take a bus to Hong Kong. I had still a lot of time left so I opted to go for a boat ride from Xinping everyone was raving about. Once I arrived there by bus I was immediately harassed by two ladies trying to sell me a boat tour for 250 yuan and after insisting not to pay anymore than 150 I managed to get the price I wanted.

The boat ride was pretty good, considering that I was freezing as the weather had completely switched from the summery heat of the day before to a grey and cold autumn one. My only other boat companion from Shanghai noticed my struggle with the cold and offered me the only thing the he could spare, which was his plastic rain poncho. It proved quite useless but I really appreciated his gesture though.

He later helped me with getting the right bus back to Yangshuo, right in time for me to grab my bags and head to the petrol station where the night bus to Hong Kong would be picking me up.