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Summer Trip to Guangxi province

Time: 2019-08-08

During the summer of 2019 (1-7 Aug), I visited Yangshuo and Ping'an terraced fields with my family. We went not only for the chance for our child to play in the water in Yangshuo, but also to appreciate the stunning views of karst mountains and beautiful rivers there. In China, we often say that Guilin's scenery is the best in the world, while Yangshuo's scenery is the best in Guilin. The grand terraced fields were another reason for us to go!

On the first day, we took a high-speed day train from Zhengzhou to Guilin, which took about six hours. Although the journey was a bit long, it was still acceptable. High-speed day trains in China have developed rapidly in recent years and now reach most major destinations. They are also less expensive than flights. The train ride was comfortable, and we were even able to buy snacks or set meals during the trip.

Yangshuo is a county of Guilin city and it takes about 1.5 hours by car from Guilin. When we arrived in Yangshuo, it was already early evening, so we just rested in hotel and got ready for the trip next day.

We first visited the Li River in Xingping, which is considered the most beautiful part of this river. Although it is a little far from Yangshuo county, it only took us about an hour to drive there. The river here is stunning and it is also the location of the scenery depicted on the Chinese 20 yuan note. A motor is attached to the raft, but the noise is easily ignored as you become entranced by the breathtaking views along the river.

The raft journey ends at Nine Horse Painting Mountain, one of the famous landscapes of Li River. The mountains here resemble a group of horses, standing or lying down, with their heads raised or flying in the sky. It's a breathtaking sight to behold.

At the end of the trip, you arrive at the dock where you can see the fish bird that helps fishermen catch fish. We paid CNY10 to take some pictures with it, and it was very interesting!

The second place to visit is Xianggong Mountain, which is about 40 minutes away from Yangshuo county. The name Xianggong refers to a government official in ancient times. The whole mountain resembles a man wearing the official hat and costume of feudal China, hence its name. Locals also call it Hebao Mountain because of the Hebao Village at its foot.

Climbing the mountain is not difficult, as it is not very high and usually takes about 15 minutes to reach the top.
Once you reach the top, you will get a panoramic view of Yangshuo landscape. The Li River meanders through rolling hills on both banks, making a 180-degree bend here. The sea of clouds, sunrise, and rosy sun glows will surely not disappoint you. Looking downwards, you'll see boats and bamboo rafts sailing down the river. The view is marvelous, just like a picture!

If you're visiting Yangshuo, don't miss out on Xianggong Mountain. It's the best place to get a bird's-eye view of the Li River, and it will be an unforgettable memory for you!

When we returned to Yangshuo, we encountered a group of ducks on the road. They were walking slowly and didn't seem to care about the passing cars. We took pictures of them; it was such an adorable sight that you don't often see in the city.

On our way back, we were fortunate enough to witness a beautiful sunset. The karst mountains, with their double images, were like a watercolor painting, set against the colorful clouds. The green lands seemed to come to life amidst this stunning view - it was truly breathtaking. Seeing it for ourselves was an experience beyond imagination.

If you are in Yangshuo, another tour not to be missed is the bamboo raft on Yulong River. Although it may not be as magnificent as the Li River with its grand mountains, it is more elegant and quiet. One difference is that the bamboo raft here is poled by local people, rather than with a motor. The delicate mountains, peaceful river, and traditional raft give you a different but very nice experience.
Sitting on the raft, take it easy, just enjoy and feel it! When you close your eyes, you can only hear the soft sound of the local man poling the water. Then, when you open your eyes, you will be surrounded by lush greenery and feel calm and relaxed.

The Yulong River is peaceful, with only several small slopes during the trip. Although it is not dangerous, you will find it interesting. Just lift your feet to avoid the water, and in the summer, it will make you feel even cooler.

Another interesting trip in Yangshuo is to watch the famous light show "Impression Liusanjie". It is an outdoor show based on a true story about sister Liusanjie, using the natural landscape of Yangshuo and local people perform on the water. The show is directed by Zhang Yimou, a famous film director in China who also directed the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. It took Zhang Yimou and his group several years to complete the project, and now it has become a must-see show for whoever comes to Yangshuo.

The performance takes the Impression Liusanjie as the general theme, creatively combining the classical Liusanjie’s songs, ethnic groups' culture, and the fishing lights together to reflect the harmonious atmosphere between human beings and nature. The performance lasts for 70 minutes and involves over 600 actors and actresses.

Normally, there are two shows each evening during summer time, starting at 20:00 and 21:35. Different standards of seats are available, and you can choose to book them.
Here are some nice pictures of the show.

After our trip in Yangshuo, we drove for about 2.5 hours to reach Ping'an terraced fields. There are two parking lots available, and you can purchase your entrance ticket (CNY 80 per ticket) at the first parking lot. From there, your car will take you to the second parking lot, which is located at the entrance of the village.
Also, at the entrance of the village, you may encounter local residents with baskets on their backs. If you plan to stay in Ping'an for 1-2 nights, they can help you carry your luggage inside the village for a fee.

Upon arrival in Ping'an, we decided to try the famous local dish: chicken cooked in bamboo tubes. The chicken is raised by local farmers and cooked in the bamboo tube, giving it a unique and delicious flavor. If you're visiting Ping'an, this is a must-try dish that you shouldn't miss out on!

After lunch, we planned to go on a hike in the village to see the terraced fields. Unfortunately, it started to rain heavily and the sky darkened. However, rain during the summer season doesn't last long, and we were lucky that it stopped after an hour. The weather also became cooler after the rain, so we started our hike.

But before we get to the terraced fields, let me give you a brief introduction. The terrace here is called Longji Terrace. It features a range of steep-sided rice fields on hills that are owned by local ethnic communities such as the Zhuang and Yao minorities, who have inhabited the area since ancient times. These linked rice terraces vary in appearance from season to season. In the spring, the fields are irrigated with water, and the terraces look like great chains or ribbons hung on the hillsides. In the summer, green waves rush continuously down the mountainside. The theme of autumn is harvest, with the mountainside decorated with the gold of ripened millet. If you visit before November, you will see a golden picture. In winter, the whole mountain is covered with white snow, just like dragons playing with water.

There are signs in the village that show the way to the terraced fields, but sometimes different paths can lead you there. If you have trouble finding your way, don't worry and just ask the locals or other tourists. We went on a different and somewhat challenging path, but we barely saw any other tourists. It was peaceful and perfect for hiking.

After the rain, the air is crisp and clear, making it the perfect time to take in the stunning views of the mountain range. As the sun begins to set, the sky is painted in a beautiful array of warm colors, providing a stunning contrast against the lush greenery below.

In Ping'an village, hikers can experience breathtaking landscapes as they walk among the terraces. The Seven Stars with Moon and Nine Dragons and Five Tigers are remarkable lookout points that offer unparalleled views of the picturesque terraces and villages.

For a more extended tour, visitors can hike from Ping'an village to Dazhai village, taking in the terrace's beauty throughout the five to six hours trek. In Dazhai village, travelers can enjoy a well-earned lunch break or rest before heading back to Ping'an via the local minibus.

After the exhilarating tours in Ping'an, we headed to Guilin, a transit city that connects visitors to Yangshuo through trains, buses, or flights. If your departure or arrival schedule is inconvenient, you can stay a night in Guilin and seize the opportunity to explore the city's charm.

One of the must-see sights in Guilin is the Reed Flute Cave, which is about five kilometers northwest of the city center. The cave is on the southern shoulder of Guangming Hill and offers a fantastic fairyland experience of karst caves and rural landscapes. The cave's length is 240 meters, and its walls and floors are adorned with magical stalactites, stalagmites, stone pillars, stone curtains, birds, plants, and animals, all lit up with colorful lights. A visit to the Reed Flute Cave is a unique adventure that any tourist in Guilin should not miss.

Reed Flute Cave is a breathtaking natural wonder that boasts a variety of stunning rock formations and caverns. However, what truly sets this cave apart from others is the presence of several ancient writings and inscriptions that adorn the walls. There are said to be a total of 77 travelogues and poems etched into the rock face, capturing the essence of life and culture during the Tang Dynasty. These priceless artifacts provide a unique glimpse into the past, showcasing the art and literary achievements of a bygone era.

After the nice visit in Guilin, we took high speed train back to Zhengzhou. It was really a great trip in Guangxi province!

By Fiona Sun - Charmission Travel


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