With four friends from exchange we did an extended weekend trip to Guilin. This area is known for its beautifully shaped mountains, the Li Jiang river and the rice fields. Since we went there after the harvest, we skipped the rice fields and got lost in the beautiful nature. We started in Guilin but just spend one night in the main city.
We decided to take a bamboo boat ride on the Li River to Yangshuo. This landscape is stunning! This trip was booked at the hostel and included a drive to a small village near by where we again witnessed a wedding photo session. I think that in each city we went to we saw some newlyweds. Mostly in fancy dresses either white or red as the color of China.
On the third day we rented some bikes for a trip to some places nearby. Frist, we hiked up the moon cave mountain. Hiking in China is a one of a kind, it mostly is not a normal path, instead it consists of tons of steps. I think this is supposed to make it safer or easier. For me it makes hiking a fitness session on a stepper and thus really hard. At the end I prefer a more natural way of hiking. We also visited a garden not far away with a huge ancient tree with long air roots.
From there we looked at an offline app since google maps is blocked in China and decided to ride along the river. What the app declared as a road slowly decreased to a small rocky path. The guys where happy because they have chosen mountain bikes but another girl and me had comfortable city bikes and hoped that they will make it till the end. At a dam we thought we would have to return because it was broken at some parts so you couldn’t pass through. But some locals came and helped us with their bamboo boat. We were so glad about them being nearby because dawn was comming and we wanted to be in the city before it gets dark. Beside this small worry we were all caught up by the nature around us, the pure China, with no tourists around us and cute little farmers villages we passed through. Tourism is great because it takes you places and gives you an impression of the culture. But mostly it is “predigested” for you to make it less heavy. They just show you the bright sides. Being in poor villages in the middle of nowhere gave me the feeling to be near an more authentic China or maybe a China from years or decades ago. For the first time during the exchange I felt calm and happy at the same time and had some time to process the input I had during the fist month abroad. So much new things to process and not enough time to give the mind space for it. Riding trough the nature, a few friends in front of me and others behind I was on my own lost in thoughts. I realized how grateful I am having this opportunity. How appreciative I should be about the standard of living I can afford and in general how thankful I can be living on this stunning planet with all its different shapes. Looking back, I can revive the feelings I had and it makes me sad and happy at the same time. It was one of the best weekends I had on the journey while doing the least typical sightseeing at the same time.
The last day was short. We booked a kayak trip on the river and since it was off season and Guilin is less crowded when the rice fields aren’t green it was only our group of five (again, highly recommend going off season not matter where you go as I said in different posts before as well) . We rode up the river with an astonishing view. I’m always in for some water sports. Afterwards a bus brought us back to the main city and we took a fast train back to Shenzhen.
As already mentioned above. Guilin is not the area where you find tons of tourist spots, a skyline or fancy architecture but instead it rewards you with its amazingly beautiful nature.
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