|Up and ready at 6am we made our way to Shanghai airport for our plane to Guilin. The flight was very pleasent and only took two hours. We finally got out of the city and into some very pretty kaarst mountains not unlike those in Tahiti / Mauritius. Strongly recommended by the World Tourism Organization, Guilin is one of the most picturesque places in the world. It is said that Li River and Peach Blossom Rivers are like green silk ribbons, while the dramatic hills seem like emerald hair-pins.
All of the rich nature resource has long served as the inspiration for artists and painters since ancient time till now, the innumerous inscriptions and paintings have recorded the poems which eulogized its beauty in works of literature.
Guilin is a scenic town and one of the best-known tourist destinations in China. There are many scenic places within short traveling distance of Guilin. These include Longshang with its famous Longji rice terraces; The Li jiang river, a scene of which is printed of the back of ¥20 bank notes; Yangshuo, a small city downstream form Guilin; and much more. Guilin is a beautiful city. The town center is surrounded by two rivers and four lakes and studded with shear sided karst mountains.
Guilin itself is like most other medium size Chinese cities, other than that it has a large amount of western-style hotels, tourists and is relatively free of air pollution. Many Chinese domestic tourists also flock to this area. What makes it special is its proximity to many picturesque limestone mountains and formations.
From Guilin we took a private bus 2 hours to Yangshuo, much less modern buildings but still very touristy! it has incredible karst scenery and a parade of Chinese package tourists who can be spotted wearing baseball caps and following a tour leader who carries a flag.
However, it isn't your typical Chinese town. Yangshuo has a reputation as a foreigners' village in Southern China. This town feels like one of the stops on the travelers' trail, with lots of the same people you'd expect in Katmandu, Sihanoukville, or Dali.
Many travellers use Yangshuo as a base and spend their time exploring the karst scenery and rivers, or checking out caves and local temples. Renting a bike and taking off into the countryside, with or without a guide, is popular. There is also a whole community of rock climbers enjoying hills and caves. Some we met at the train station.
Others just take it easy in the many cafes and bars. While this certainly isn't the whole story, the town is in some ways a break from the rest of China. For this reason, it is very popular with foreigners who work in China.