Sunday, July 8, 2012

Guilin and Yangshuo

Taking a break from work to blog about my vacation. It's actually Sunday night over here and I'm still in the office. Anyway, I'm really glad I went on this vacation. It was really good to be away. I felt like I needed this break because the past couple of months have been so stressful. Pictures in the next post after I get them off of my friend.

I caught a cold two weeks ago (a week before the vacation) and spent a lot of time sleeping. I think there is a cold virus going around the office because a lot of people have been getting sick. I went to see a doctor and got some bags of prescription drugs. I think the normal practice here is that they prescribe 3 days worth of medicine and you go back if you need more. Prescription is included in the doctor's fees, which is really inexpensive compared to the US. The nurse prepares everything right away so there's no need to go somewhere else separately to get your medicine.

I was still sniffling a bit when I went on this vacation. I went with a coworker who is Chinese-Australian. We left the office a bit after lunch on Friday. There was an incoming typhoon but we managed to get out before it go to HK. Our flight changed gates and we nearly thought we weren't going to make it. But it turned out that it was delayed. We managed to find out way to the shuttle bus that takes us to Guilin city and then a taxi to our hostel. The hostel is very cute, with lots of art on the walls. We found food at a nearby restaurant and then wandered around the pedestrian streets that night.

The next day (Saturday), we decided to walk to the Seven Star Park, which was really close by. I think we made the most out of this park. We managed to find a less touristy part of it for the first half of the day and then joined the crowds and tour groups to see some of the other parts. At around 3 or 4pm, we were just too tired to keep going to another park. It was also really hot out so we went back to our hostel to shower and nap. We wandered around the city some more in the evening.

On Sunday, we joined a local tour group with a really random mix of people for a river cruise on the Li River. The tour group took us on a bus to a pier outside of Guilin. We went on motored bamboo boats that took us down the river and back up to the pier again. The scenery was really nice. The motor in the background not so much. We all got talked into going on an extended part of the tour to "the countryside". We stopped at this village on the way to Yangshuo for a "real" bamboo boat ride (no motors) to enjoy the scenery, see water buffaloes, and cormmorant fishing. So by the time we got to Yangshuo, it was nearly evening.

It took us a bit to find our hostel in Yangshuo because the it was down a small alley. This town is basically a vacation town with a ton of tourists from everywhere. There's even a pedestrian street called "West Street" that has lots of bars, hostels, and souvenir shops. We had a really good meal that night with beer fish, crayfish, and a taro dish.

The next day was a big biking adventure. We rented out bikes in the morning and biked down the a scenic road with lots of parks. We saw the 400 yr old bayan tree and then hiked up the Moon Hill. The bike ride was pretty easy since it was on the side of a big road. There weren't a lot of traffic and the road shoulder was really wide. There were a ton of people trying to sell us tickets and other things though. After a late lunch, we decided to take this country road that looked like it was supposed to be twice the distance of what we had ridden already. We thought this was doable so we embarked on this journey.

The start of the country road was pretty nice. It was good to be away from the big trucks. But then at some point, the road started to get really rough. There were a ton of rocks and the road stopped being paved. We were really glad we went for the mountain bikes at this point. The road wasn't hilly so we were still enjoying the scenery until we got to a point where there were a ton of forks in the road. We had to ask at every fork and I swear we asked more than 10 people total. At one point, this guy told us we were 20km away from where we want to be. I think we should probably just gone back to the highway at this point but we continued on this "country road" and made it back to Yanghuo a little after 7pm (before dark). It would not have been good to be on these roads after dark. I'm not sure I've ever been so soaked in sweat before.

We had an early evening flight back to HK the next day so we took it easy and booked a cooking class. These things are apparently very popular. We got taken through the wet market and then to the cooking school. They had burners and everything ready. We got to chop the veggies and meat. We cooked 4 dishes with a wok and 1 dish went in a steamer. It was really fun! Cooking with the wok was really fast as well. Wish I can do the same in HK but I think the wok really needs a gas stove.

Overall, it was a really great trip. We did a lot of stuff but didn't over stretch ourselves. Felt so refreshing to take some time off. Looking forward to more weekend trips to nearby cities now that I have a one year China visa!

1 comment:

yalu said...

Omg, sounds like a great trip! Definitely looking forward to seeing some pictures.

You guys went biking! I've always thought about biking around a new place to explore, but have never done it. Was going to do it in the Loire valley but it turned out we didn't have enough time. I think X wants to do biking in Martha's Vineyard, and this plan involves me biking for 26+ miles.. not sure about that!

I love how your last thing is "we took it easy and booked a cooking class" lol. Sounds like a really unique experience! maybe cause there are no wet markets here..