Wednesday, February 4th, 2004 – Day 351 to Thursday, February 5th, 2004 – Day 352

Wednesday, February 4th, 2004 – Day 351

We passed Yangshuo at 5.00am but it was too early to get off and place your self in the hands of touts. I stayed where I was and waited until I reached guilin at 6.00am. Tina was still o board and we got some breakfast. When it was bright was walked to the train station and got a 10 Yuan bus to Yangshuo.

Located at the terminus of the Li River cruise from Guilin, the small town of Yangshuo has long been a backpackers’ mecca. Set admid an awesome cluster of limestone pinnacles, Yangshuo is more beautiful, less expensive, and significantly less crowded than Guilin. In fact, some of the most impressive karst scenery in Guangxi can be found just a short bike ride outside town. With its inexpensive hostels and Western-style cafes, some foreigners have been known to stay for months, sometimes even years. Although today’s Y?ngshu?, overtaken by upscale hotels, new shops and bazaars, and hordes of eager tourists, is no longer the unknown, quiet idyll of years past, it remains a lovely and relaxing place to break a journey and to soak up some of China’s most beautiful scenery.

We booked into a hotel called HAPPY TRAVEL for 50 Yuan per night. You can get cheaper but it was a very clean place with 24 hour hot water. Heating, fresh towels etc. What sold it for me was the cute nice girl at reception. She had a great smile and laugh.

As I did not sleep on the bus last night, I fell asleep until 4.00pm. I met Tina and we headed down to West Street (called Foreigner street by the Chinese).

The majority of Yangshuo’s treasures are located a bike ride out of town. Xi Jie (West St.), with its souvenir shops and travelers’ cafes, has become a bona-fide tourist attraction for Chinese visitors, who completely take over the street starting in the early afternoon when boats from Guilin pull in. The former Ming dynasty, once the guild hall for merchants from Jiangxi Province, has now become part of the Hungfu Hotel on Xi Jie, but it’s worth a quick pop-in for its finely carved lattice doors and windows.

We called into the Karst Cafe as Tina is big into Rock Climbing. We met an Irish guy called Al (ister) and an English girl called Rachel was were well drink. Anyway we had a good time and we all signed up a half-day Rock climb tomorrow for 170 Yuan. We then went to a Disco (techo), which was poor and then a karaoke place until 2.30am. There were two funny English guys inside singing. We had the place to ourselves. Very drunk.

Thursday, February 5th, 2004 – Day 352

I was very drunk last night and did not leave the bed until noon. I had breakfast and met the other there at 1.00pm. We got to the company at 200pm and off we headed.

They run the website. We were climbing US grades 5.6 to 5.9 from 2-6pm. There were four of us and 2 instructors. It was tough especially as you need upper body strength. Well worth doing and we had great weather. It seems the bus was out for the first time in a month.

The pinnacles in Yangshuo were formed as a result of limestone erosion over millennia. This results in variable rock conditions, ranging from extremely smooth to razor-like fins. Sacrifice the skin!

They were hard to climb and it was my first time. I cut my hands a lot but I enjoyed reaching the summits of each climb. I will try this again some time.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Rock Climbing in Yangshuo (05-02-2004)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Yangshuo (05-02-2004)

Most of the lights in town were off as the Lantern Festival was on tonight. It is usually on the 15th and last day of the Lunar New Year period and people traditionally go out to see lanterns.

We went back to the climbing cafe to celebrate, eat and drink some snake wine. It was 2.30am before I got home. Very drunk again.

Snake wine is generally a rice wine bottled with one or more submerged snakes.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Lantern Festival in Yangshuo (05-02-2004)