After the hike through the “Tiger Leaping Gorge” I spent one more day in Lijiang to do some laundry, update my trip journal and to relax. On the 13th at 9 am in the morning I took the train to Kunming which arrived there at 8:45 pm. On the next day I went to the Vietnamese Consulate in order to apply for the Vietnamese Visa which luckily took only 3 hours to issue (compared to the 7 days the Chinese authorities needed to issue the visa extension), so I could leave to my last destination in China, Yuan Yang, with it’s beautiful rice traces, before on the 17th I would be crossing the border at Hekou, China, to go to Lao Cai, Vietnam.
Driving in the bus through the villages adjacent to Yuan Yang I realized that village after village became more and more rural. While on the one hand this meant less tourists, less cars and thus more relaxation, on the other hand it also meant that the language barrier would be higher, which is not really a problem but can be annoying when it comes to ordering food. So while I got more and more excited about the scenery, the green valleys and the Lichi and Banana Trees that suddenly appeared on the fields at the same time I didn’t want to get off the bus in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, my worries turned out to be unnecessary, since when I arrived I was immediately surrounded by two families running hotels near the station, which tried to make me choose their place over the other one
I am pretty sure the hotel has seen better times, but the rooms where clean and I had a beautiful view over the valley from bathroom (a sink and a shower which was installed over a Chinese toilette). After a short walk through the city – it consisted mostly of house built along the main road – I realized that except for another French couple I was the only Westerner here. When it was time for dinner the woman that had “picked me up” from the bus station recommended me a Sichuan restaurant where they had an English menu that turned out to be run by other members of the same family – so overall this very family could be considered the (Westerner focused) tourism industry in Yuan Yang.
Sitting in the restaurant I already could experience one of the main sights of Yuan Yang – a magnificent sunset.