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"La Tahzan, InnaAllaha ma'ana" (Al- Quran: Surah At- Taubah- Verse 40)
Translation: "Be not sad (or afraid), surely Allah is with us."

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." ~Edmund Burke~

'It's not what the world holds for you, but what you bring to it' ~Anne of Green Gables~

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jumping with Joy in the Scenic YANGSHUO, Guilin

 Anastasia & I just came back from Guilin, China. We loved it there! The place was amazingly beautiful! Plus, it fed the starving landscape photographer in me!

We loved it! We loved it! We loved it!

I've heard about the beauty of Guilin for so many times... I've yearned of visiting the place for so long...

I was definitely jumping with joy when I was finally there! I love that place!

We originally planned for 4 days holiday in Guilin. But thanks to Air Asia for changing its flight schedule, we ended up having to stay for 6 days there. We originally booked the 'Yangshuo Outside' inn, but due to an unfortunate incident at the inn, we ended up staying at the 'Yangshuo Magnolia' hotel. One thing we learned from our trip this time was that there IS such a thing as a blessing in disguise and we're very thankful for it!


As per our usual traveling habits, we only booked for accommodation and airport transfers. All the tours we arranged with the hotel once we're there and the staff very very helpful. They speak good English, so no problem at all. The driver that picked & sent us to/from hotel/airport was a kind man. Didn't talk much.

There was something about this place that made us generous tippers :) Must be all that beauty, serenity, freshness & overall satisfaction... but the guides were all nice & friendly people!

And again, I was told that I look like Chinese people... that's it! I gotta admit! I've got Chinese look! :P

I'm gonna share with you the wonderful scenery of the places that we visited and the activities that we did while we were there. Enjoy! Let's see if my joy can be contagious :)

This entry is a long read... but, you don't want a miss a thing!

The view from the room we stayed in... lovely... relaxing...

Around Yangshuo Town:
If you think that this place was like some old China town... opppssss!!!! You're wrong! We were wrong! In fact, a few other tourist admitted that they underestimated Yangshuo and that was a mistake! This place is such a tourist town that the West End street reminds me of 'Bintang Walk' in KL! Except that this town was surrounded by hills. So many shops, so many cafes, so many restaurants and surprisingly, so many clubs... which is not to my preference. All the loud noise in such beautiful, serene place, it just doesn't match.

And the nights were alive.

The thing that I admire about the development about this town is that, they didn't cut down the hills for development. They developed around it. Which is very nice, very unique and very caring for the nature. I like!

From my observation, there was no useful land left unused in this part of the world... impressive!

Liu San Jie Light Show:
OMG! The show was brilliant. With all the coordination of people, music, lights and the lovely singing. The director, Zhang Yimou is also the person responsible with Beijing 2008 Olympics opening ceremony. I don't know how to express the feeling when I saw the show. You have to be there to experience the awe. It was impressive.

Perhaps a little peek here?

By the way, just FYI... I love those songs! 

My only sharp photo during the show... taking photo under low lights... challenging...

LongJi Rice Terraces:

OMG! The place is breathtaking! The green hills, the fresh air, the amazing view, all that nature, the nice & friendly people, the good feeling! Priceless!

LongJi Rice Terraces is located in Longsheng, about 3-4 hours drive from Yangshuo. We didn't mind the long ride because we were so excited and happily enjoying the view on the ride there. Once we arrived at Longsheng, we have to change to a coaster, a smaller bus because the road up the hills was quite narrow and winding. The view of the hills? Mesmerizinggg... I can still see the image in my head.

At the village, we watched a show on the life and culture of the ethnic there... do you know that over there the women is the head of the family and they are the ones responsible to 'bring home the meatloaf'? Or in their case, the rice? Do you also know that over there, if a woman likes a man, they'll pinch the man's butt? Hahahahaaaa... I found that is so cute although that is totally inappropriate in my culture :)

And over there, the ladies... they have a very long hair... almost the same as their height. Their hair was so black & shiny even the grandmothers'! I was so jealous of them! Their hair were so healthy & thick... no white or red hair whatsoever!

Their secret? They wash their hair using the water that they wash the rice! Those rice they plant at the terraces must be ultimately organic!

It rained when we were about to climb up to see the rice terraces from an 'aerial' view. But, we climbed up nevertheless :) It was really foggy & misty... not to forget tiring. All the panting and sweating despite the cold weather... we reached the top to see white clouds and no view of the rice terrace what so ever... heheheeee... see see... despite the disappointment and the tiredness, I'm still laughing... lalalalaaaaa...

We slowly walked down... the houses on the hill looks classical... other than a few cafes and shops, the place looked untouched by modernization. I loved the peacefulness there... We stopped at a souvenir shop where we bought some beautiful table cloths... happy happy happy!

The fogs dissappered once we arrived at the entrance of the village... I was so thrilled to see the vastness of the rice terrace. The place was amazing!

Huangyao Ancient Village:
A trip worthwhile... enough said :)

Have you ever watched the movie 'The Painted Veil', starring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts ? I watched it, I loved that movie... most importantly I loved the scenery!

I insisted of going to Huangyao once I knew that the movie was shot here. The ancient village was well preserved and you can feel like you're walking in a truly old Chinese environment.

You'll admire the old buildings and the landscaping of the village.. and the people was friendly too!

They were doing their 'business'. I shouldn't have disturbed them but I couldn't resist those cute faces!

Cycling around Yangshuo countryside:
My favorite activity! The countryside was amazingly beautiful! The ride was not smooth because of the puddles of mud, but it was really exciting.

From my experience from cycling in the town of Yangshuo... it was not dangerous at all. The other vehicles will not simply knock you down. They didn't even honk when we were slow & blocking their way. They would just slow down as well. But if you're blocking the road, please be kind enough to get out of the way :) The only danger when cycling is if you don't know how to handle the bicycle.

So in conclusion, the possible danger of cycling in the town of Yangshuo is you yourself :)

We cycled from the town to the countryside, then took the bamboo raft, then to the Moon Cave. But on the way back, we took a bus coz our bottoms were already sore... eiikssss...

Bamboo Rafting along Yulong River:
Mmmm... not my favourite activity coz the trip was slow and long (45 mins) and mostly because the nice view along the river were blocked by stalls on the river.

But, if you were here, don't skip this activity please... There were a couple of very nice areas along the river... if you were lucky, then maybe you get to shoot some nice photos as well.

I was pretty pleased with some of the photos I took. Of course I edited them a little bit before I uploaded them here, but the original photos were just as great :)

There are a few not too small waterfalls along this river... the drops were not deep, but it's enough to give us the suspense... hihihiiii... I enjoyed the waterfalls. It was fun!

Underground River @ the Moon Cave:
We loved this activity as well! Despite the tiredness, the sweating, the panting because of all the climbing and ducking etc... we got to see an amazing cave system and an underground river which was very clear and cold!

In the cave you can also enjoy a mud bath & hot spring... but we skipped both of that... 

We explored the cave wearing slippers! I gave myself a pat on both shoulders! Well done! Hahahaaaa...

We loved this activity! Plus, we got to meet a lovely couple from Ecuador where we shared a lot of laughs! They were really nice!

At the exit of the cave, we were presented by a mass of paddy fields! So green, so peaceful... so worth it!

andddd... Shopping! Yeehaaaaa...
silk scarves, table cloths, clothing, paintings, etc etc... just don't go crazy ok :)

Halal food? No problem!
Although this is the only Muslim restaurant in Yangshuo which food I truly enjoyed during my 5 dinners. Yummy yummy! They were friendly too!


Sooooo... how do you feel? Feeling like going to Guilin & Yangshuo or not? Ngeeeee... the place so beautiful, the memories so sweet and wonderful and amazing... I can say that, I'll be back! Definitely!

OMG OMG... I want to go there again!

Note: The challenge of this entry was choosing photos to share... there are so many that I want to show you... but I can't possibly upload them all here...


Anasatasia said...

as far as I can recall, our trip has always end up with giving XTRA 'generous tips'.. hahah..

love this place..wud definitely go again..and request for the same room!

CheeJa@Nizah said...

i'm so envy with u lar Nom..!! spare a time with me one day!!

The Sometimes Speechless said...

Anastasia... true true true... but it's ok coz we were happy happy happy!

CikJa... no problemmmm...

marinay said...

beautiful pictures, Miss A..
You have captured the serenity and beauty of Guilin...the photos speak to me..brilliant stuff!

One Short Life said...


You mentioned, "I insisted of going to Huangyao..". This is the first time I read of this place. Indeed, from the photos, they are so serene. I love them.

Now that I know of it, I will include it my itinerary for my upcoming Guilin/ Yangshuo/ Xingping trip in March next year. Where is it exactly, I mean, how can I find it? How far away is it from Yangshuo?

The Sometimes Speechless said...

Nay, thank you darling! I'm glad you like the pics...

The Sometimes Speechless said...

Alooooo OneShortLife...

So. you're going to Guilin! Yeayyyy!!! I hope you'll have as much fun as we did!

Ok, about Huangyao... it's located south east of Yangshuo, about 2hrs ride (one way) by bus. We asked for the hotel to help arrange this tour for us. It cost us rmb180 (if I remember correctly) for the bus fare (return) and an english speaking guide.

The walking tour around the ancient town took about 3 hrs... along the way, we stopped for green tea tasting, anastasia had a local wine tasting... then we stopped for some taufu fah :) and a local 'kuih' which looked similar to 'lepat ubi'... hihihiii... then we rested a while under a big, shady friendship tree...

I love Huangyao ancient town. I hope you'll have a chance to visit this place :)

Enjoy your trip!

One Short Life said...

Hi Nom (should I call you that?),

I am so glad you replied. I have been reading up about Huangyao on the net since visiting your blog but I can hardly find stuff from bloggers. That's why I am back to check whether you replied, and you did!

Yes, I will definitely be including Huangyao in my itinerary. Who wouldn't, especially after looking at picture no. 11. I will have 14 days for my China trip. Plenty of time to explore all the surrounding villages. I intend to go there on my own because I don't like packaged tour where the guide is more interested in milking you that showing you around.

From your experience, are there many places to explore in Huangyao, and therefore, worth an overnight stay?

The Sometimes Speechless said...

Alooooo OneShortLife... you're back!

You can call me Am :)

Anyway, I honestly don't know what other places to visit in Huangyao other than the ancient town. Ours was only a day trip. Plus, at that time our target was only the ancient town. So, we didn't asked about other places of interest around Huangyao.

I think it would be best for you to check with your hotel. They would know better :) Or you can contact Yangshuo Magnolia Hotel. They're helpful :)

Are you going to stay overnight at the Longji Rice Terrace as well? If yes, I so envy you... huhuhuuu...

One Short Life said...

Hi Am,

I am back!!

It seemed that going to Huangyao is not going to be easy without a tour.

So far, I have yet to read an articles/ forum on travelling to Huangyao from Yangshuo. Most will tell you to take a bus from Guilin to Hezhou (Babu) and then take another bus to somewhere and somewhere ... Too much time and hassle ... so it is very likely that I shall take a packaged tour too, after all.

Yes, Longji is in my itinerary, but I may scrap it if I decide to go to Wulingyuan/ Zhangjiajie and Fenghuang(have you heard of these places? You must check them out). Currently, the itinerary is Guilin -> Yangshuo -> Huangyao -> Yangshuo -> Xingping/ Yangdi -> Yangshuo -> Guilin -> Longji -> Sanjiang/ Chengyang -> (maybe Conjiang in Guizhou Province, still undecided)-> Guilin -> (the itinerary from Longji onwards may be scrapped - still thinking hard whether to go to Hunan to visit Wulingyuan/ Zhangjiajie and Fenghuang).

The Sometimes Speechless said...

Alooooo OneShortLife...

OMG! u're going to Wulingyuan/ Zhangjiajie??? Aaaaaaa... so syok! I saw in books & on the internet... the place is soooooo nice! I wanted to go there last year since 2010 was my visit China year... but it was going to cost more and I need to take longer leave if I want to go there... So, I'll save it for next time... hihihiiii...

Your trip is coming nearer right? Make sure you blog about it ok... and make sure you put lots of pictures :)

By the way, I must tell you. I love the foods in China... especially the plum juice in Xi'an (the best!), the kebab in Beijing and all the foods in Guilin... even the bread and ice cream were nicer... hihihiii... maybe it was because I was so happy that time :) Point is... make sure you enjoy the food there!

One Short Life said...

Hi Am,

Yes, the time is getting nearer and nearer, and I am rushing to finalise my itinerary.

14 days on this trip is to long just for Guilin, Yangshuo and Longji. I need to find other places to go and the choices are to the North-East to Hunan Province (Zhangjiajie, Fenghuang, Changde) or to the West to Guizhou (Congjiang, Zhaoxing, Ronjiang, Anshun, Huangguoshu, etc.)

I very much want to go to Zhangjiajie and Fenghuang since these two places are "must-visit" places ... but I have just found out that there is no flight from Guilin to these places. Flying indirectly to these places is too costly. There is also no train or bus going there directly, and any indirect land route will take up too much time.

The other option is to explore the minority villages in Guizhou, but I have read many times that the roads in Guizhou (Congjiang, Zhaoxing, Rongjiang, etc.) are in a very poor state and that will take up a lot of travelling time!!

So what am I to do now? Probably, I will just spend more time in Yangshuo and Guilin.

Talking about food, I have always been fascinated by Xian and Xinjiang Muslim food. They look so delicious ... but I have no such opportunity yet :(

I have been neglecting my blog for sometime now ... partly because I have nothing new and partly because I am too busy with work and finalising my itinerary. Once I am back from my trip, I will certainly post lots of photos there.

LiCiOuS said...

Dear Am,

Boy I'm glad to read your blog! I've been searching for halal shop in Yangshuo but to no avail. Please tell me how to locate it.

Will be going to Yangshuo next week. Soooooo excited :)

The Sometimes Speechless said...

Dear LiCiOuS,

There is only ONE halal shop in Yangshuo... it's located at the main road... I think you won't miss it if you look very careful :) But, to be safe, maybe you can print the photo so that it would be easier for you to ask the people there, just in case... hihihiiii...

I love the place... So I think you have every reason to be excited about your trip... Have a fun trip!

LiCiOuS said...

Hi Am,

Thanks! I'll do just that :)

One Short Life said...

Hi Am.

I am finally back, literally, from Guilin/ Yangshuo.

It was great, except that I have too much time in my hand after I scrapped the Zhaoxing part of the trip because there was no direct bus going there.

Yes, I visited Huangyao, which is a great place and I love the waterways, old buildings and great scenery.

For Longji (or actually Dazhai) and Chengyang, it could have been more beautiful in summer when the terraced hills are filled with water/ green with growing paddies. In addition, it was foggy.

The Yulong River and the Xingping-Yangdi part of the rafting was a little disappointing because of the foggy weather and not as green as I had hoped. There was also the mass of local tourists on the river that the scenery was somehow compromised.

The Sometimes Speechless said...

Aloooo OneShortLife...

Glad you had a good time... even though it could have been better *wink*

Anonymous said...

Hi..from bus station at yangshuo...issit near to walk to Yangshuo Magnolia Hotel..?? Tq

The Sometimes Speechless said...

Hi Ved,

I don't remember exactly, but I don't think it's far. You can check with the hotel. According to their website, it's not far.

I hope this helps (sorry for the late reply)

Have fun there!