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Rice Terraces, China
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China: Guilin & Yangshuo on the Li River
June 2007

Rice Terraces Tea & Fubo Hill Guilin Food Market & Reed Flute Cave Li River Yangshuo
China - rice terraces


Beautiful rice terraces and stunning karst scenery on the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo.

Rice Terraces

Guilin
Guilin Park Hotel between karst and lake.

 

We arrived in Guilin in the early evening and were met by Lily and Mr Lo, our new guide and driver. As we drove to our hotel - the Guilin Park on the lake - we could see that the surrounding landscape is beautiful with huge karsts dominating. These limestone karsts are a distinctive shape, usually tall and narrow with a rounded top.

Guilin
Vibrant green paddy fields...

guilin
...and rice terraces.

The following morning we woke to rain. It was, after all, the rainy season, so not entirely unexpected. A long drive to the rice terraces through magnificent scenery: brilliant green paddy fields, tea plantations, clouds drifting between mountain peaks.

at the village restaurant
With the daughter of the restaurant owner; a really lovely girl who should do very well in her chosen profession of tourism. It was bucketing down at this point!

When we arrived at the village where we were to have lunch there was quite a downpour! Lunch was authentically local: young pea pods with smoky bacon, fried white cabbage, bamboo shoots and egg, seaweed and egg soup, rice - all good and in huge quantities. We did not wish to offend but really could not do justice to all this good food.

The girl serving us was lovely, a student at Xi'an University studying English and Tourism.

Guilin
Guilin
Climbing through the rice terraces.
Guilin
Guilin

 

 

We climbed to the top to view the terraces, passing farmers working the paddy fields, ignoring the rain. A horse drawing a manual plough pushed by a farmer covered in plastic, wading through water almost knee-deep.

 

Guilin
Guilin
Guilin

At the top we had a thunderstorm which was quite worrying. Afterwards the clouds cleared sufficiently for us to see the beautiful landscape of rice terraces named "Seven Stars and Moon" before the weather closed in again.

Guilin
Misty view of 'Seven Stars and Moon'.

At least we only had to walk in the rain - the people here must work in it if they are to harvest good crops.

guilin
Guilin

 

This is a place we plan to return to but we're not sure what time of year is best. We love the green of the terraces at the moment but at this time of year you always run the risk of rain storms!

Next time we'd like to stay in this area and do some walking in the fabulous mountains and terraces.

Guilin

Tea & Fubo Hill

tea plantation
Tea Plantation
guilin
A colourful page from the scrap book for Guilin. So many of the entrance tickets were beautifully designed it was a shame to throw them away.

 

 

 

On our return we stopped at a Tea Plantation and the second tea tasting of our visit.

One in Beijing had been exceedingly messy - here it was much better and we tasted five different teas: green (smelly and tasting of gooseberry, much stronger than hotel tea), lychee and black which is quite sweet, jasmine, ginseng and oolong, osmanthus (local flower - Guilin means "osmanthus flower") and oolong - we both liked this and the green tea best.

Fubo Hill
Guilin and the fabulous karst scenery from the top of Fubo Hill.

Back in Guilin the river was flooding.

tea plantation
Statue of General Fubo.

Quite a climb, the view from the top of Fubo Hill is impressive. The peak lies in Fubo Park - both named after General Fubo of the Han dynasty.

The view of the karsts behind the city is fantastic.

gardener
Guilin

 

Guilin Food Market & Reed Flute Cave

Guilin
Sacks of different kinds of rice.

Guilin
Guilin
Chopping meat with two fearsome choppers!

The following day the river was very high and there was some discussion as to whether the boats would be allowed down the river so we were able to spend some time on our own exploring Guilin while it was decided what would happen.

At 8a.m. lots of people were eating noodles in numerous cafes, usually furnished with very basic wooden tables and chairs.

Guilin

We came across a market which was fascinating: sacks of many different types of rice, counters covered with meat, beautiful fruit and vegetables, mushrooms, spices, duck (we'd seen duck farms on our drive the previous day) - some of the smells were rather strong!

Guilin
Guilin
Seaweed (foreground) & sausages.
Guilin
Ginger root?
Guilin
Guilin
Chillies & mushrooms.
Guilin


Back at the hotel the river trip was on. Before arriving at the jetty we visited Reed Flute Cave - named for the reeds growing at its entrance which are used in flutes.

Guilin

Inside the cave, which was formed millions of years ago, is a colourfully lit sequence of stalagmites, stalactites and other rock formations. Part of the cave was flooded which made for some beautiful reflections.

 

Li River

Li River
Each passenger was given a gift of a wooden comb in a beautifully designed packet.
Li River
Li River
Li River

 

At the jetty a very large number of boats were to go in convoy down to Yangshuo. We shared our table with six friendly oriental gentlemen.

Li River

The scenery is utterly spectacular, no sun but the mist drifting between the karsts was very atmospheric.

 

Li River
Li River

The karsts are just stunning. The river was running so fast that we made the journey in only two and a half hours - normally it takes four!

Li River
Li River

 

Yangshuo

Yangshuo
Paradise Hotel surrounded by wonderful karsts.

 

It was a short walk from the landing stage in Yangshuo to our hotel - the Paradise (Bill C. stayed here - the hotels where he stayed are very proud of it).

Yangshuo

 

Yangshuo

 

 

We wandered around Yangshuo which is great for bargains, though perhaps of rather dubious origin, then decided we had had enough Chinese food and opted for pizza and a bottle of wine. Not bad at all, and the crepe suzette was excellent.

It rained all night and in the morning the small courtyards in the hotel looked flooded, though not yet reaching the covered walkways. We walked down to the river, borrowing hotel brollies, and it was really speeding along.

We enjoyed a very scenic drive to the airport: lots of karsts and also water buffalo (good climate for them!). We had an excellent lunch there: beef/onion/peppers - quite spicy, chicken in a crispy coating (but quite bony!), beans and very good egg fried rice.