South of Guilin, in China, you can find the biggest karst formation of the world. The erosion has created unique mountians that are cut by different rivers: Li River, the biggest, is the main way to reach Yangshuo by a cruise boat. Yangshuo is a touristic capital in the middle of the karst formation. Although many tourists pay for an hotel in the town, we decided to stay in a small hotel in the countryside, close to Yangshuo but far enough to have a quiet and pleasant stay. The Moondance Hotel was next to Yulong river, the most beautiful river we have ever seen.
The day started with the views of the river from our room. The bamboo leaves and palms grow easily in a landscape full of water. We had breakfast in the hotel and then took two bicycles to spend the day around Yulong river. The bicycles were free for the hotel guests. However, most of them were not in good condition. We spent almost 10 minutes trying to take the two with no flat tires, good breaks and comfortable enough.
The first thing we did is to get lost. We could not get any map in the hotel, so we trusted the maps.me app for iphone. This app is highly recommendable in all your travel to China. It allows you to navigate without internet connection. However, in the countryside it can be difficult to use it. We wanted to follow a well mantained walk and bicycle path all along the river. Unfortunately, we didn’t start our journey to the right direction and we ended up in the hotel again.
We started again in a heavy humit environment. The heat was oppresive. We passed on the Gongnong Bridge, which is just next to the Big Banyan Tree, a one thousand years old tree, dating back to the Sui Dynasty (581-618). And after some minutes riding next to electric motorbikes, cars and trucks, finally we found the walk and bicycle path.
Along the river we could see some people walking, having a bath, riding bicycles, sailing with bamboo boats… fishermen, farmers with buffalos…
The heat increased its level and we didn’t have a plan for lunch. We thought it could be easy to find a restaurant but it wasn’t. This is a tip. We were hungry, sweating a lot, thirsty and the sun was burning our skin. This was our worst moment in the paradise.
When we thought we were going to have a sunstroke we found something like a restaurant. We stopped there although there was no one in any table. We asked for water and drank like 3 or 4 bottles. The waitress said to us something in chinese that we could not understand. After a while she gave us the menu… all written in chinese and no photos! It was going to be difficult!
At some point the waitress said something like “Chikin” and we thanked God.
– Chicken! Yes, yes, chicken!
Then she pointed her clock with her finger, like meaning: “You will need to wait a lot”. It was ok for us. We continued drinking water under the shadow of the terrace when we saw a man coming from outside with a dead chicken. What the hell??? They killed a chicken just for us! Then we understood why we were asked to wait a lot. I think this kind of things just can happen in the most authentic places.
When we arrived to the hotel we were so exhausted that it was one of the greatest pleasures to drink a smoothie and have a bath in the swimingpool. It was time to relax and enjoy the pass of the time.