Category Archives: China

Saving the best to last

This morning we took a bamboo boat down the river Li then a bus onto Yangshuo

The plan was to spend the next 5 days at a tai chai school but on arrival we soon realised the place was not for us 🙁

Luckily we managed to escape and after a quick phone call David and Sakhi came to our rescue 🙂

We now have a lovely room at the backstreet hostel for the next 5 nights thanks to a cancelation.

Yangshuo is a very busy lively touristy place and the scenery is breath taking.

Almost everyone speaks a little English here and most menus are in English too so it’s going to be a relaxing time 🙂

This afternoon we went out on another bamboo boat,this time with our new friends, of course Geoff and I could not resist taking advantage of being on the river and went for a swim.

Swimming in the river Li surrounded by mountains was far more beautiful than swimming in the river cam 🙂

The next few days promise to be filled with fun.

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New friends

You meet some lovely people while travelling around staying in youth hostels

Here in Guilin we have met a lovely young German couple, David and Sakhi

Not only do they speak perfect English but fantastic Chinese too.

They have helped us out on many occasions during our stay in Guilin.

Thanks to them we have had the chance to try things we would usually not try, chinese milk tea for instance.

A cold milky drink that comes with crushed ice and jelly balls 🙂

Last night they took us out for dinner. We went to a very local Chinese cafe. Somewhere we could never have gone on our own.

We left them to order all the food, they made great choices, it was the best Chinese food I have ever tasted,the spare ribs went down very well, Geoff really missed out there 🙂

David and Sakhi moved on this morning but we move onto the same place tomorrow.

We intend to get together for a meal on my birthday 🙂

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A day around Guilin

Today’s plan had been to hire bikes and cycle to a local village with a lovely couple we had met yesterday on our rice fields tour.

It had to be cancelled though as both Geoff and David had upset tummies.

So we got off to a slow start today but by lunchtime after having a very interesting chat with an American staying at our hostel, (more about that later )we were ready to start our day.

Before leaving the hostel we arranged to meet up with David and Sakhi for dinner.

Our plan was to go to the Solitary Beauty Peak but due to bumping into Mr American again our plans changed 🙂

So we found ourselves in a taxi with a private guide for the afternoon.

First stop was a local silk factory who specialised in Quilts and Quilt covers

We learnt about the silk worms and how they stretch the silk.

It was amazing to see 🙂

Did you know that they also fry and eat the grub out the silk cocoon, something I did not fancy trying.

We also learnt that real silk does not catch fire but just smolders and smells like burning hair.

The burnt ends do not go hard either but just crumble into ash.

Next we went to the Yao mountain, the highest mountain in Guilin.

You go up by cable car and the mountain views are fantastic even in the low cloud.

You then have the choice of coming back by cable car or toboggan, can you guess how we did the return journey ?

After this we went to the Guilin tea science and research institute.

Here we learnt about the picking of the tea then the process it goes through before it’s ready for using

We had a lovely guide who did a wonderful tea ceremony for us where we were allowed to sample 4 different teas.

All 4 we sampled tasted wonderful, one had a very surprising sweet taste.

It was hard trying to decide which one we should treat ourselves too but decided on the ginseng oolong tea 🙂

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Rice fields

Today we took a tour to the Longsheng terraced rice fields.

It took almost 3 hours to reach the beautiful 600 year old village of Pingan.

On the way we stopped off at the Yao village, or the long hair village as it’s become known as.

All the women have incredible long hair in fact they only ever cut it once and that’s on their wedding day.

Our guide also told us they wash their hair in the rice water so in summer it can smell quite bad.

We decided,along with the other 4 European travellers on the tour,not to pay for the show so unfortunately we have no photos of the long hair.

It took us about an hour of walking up hill to reach the best viewing point for the rice fields.

On the way up we stopped for lunch,there was many interesting things on the menu, like frog rat and snake.

We tried the special rice that is cooked in a bamboo stick 🙂

The weather today was typical for here hot and humid, feeling almost tropical, so it was a very sweaty walk.

Well worth it though for the fantastic views, so nice to be out in the countryside too.

Advice for anyone else going is take the local bus out to Longsheng then change bus for Pingan but be warned they speak no english.

Stay the night in Pingan then have a local guide and do a days walking.

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The book says tourists flock to this area

What makes it special is it’s proximity to many picturesque limestone mountains and formations

When we arrived it was pouring with rain 🙁 and the scenery was hard to appreciate

After a few hours it turned to drizzle so we ventured out

The best way to see all the beautiful scenery is by boat, but for today we settled with a walk by the Li River, going up elephant hill and around a lake to see the sun and moon pagoda’s

In the evening we watched the waterfall show , it’s the famous Lijiang hotel which has found it’s way into the Guinness book of records for turning into a waterfall

Off for a foot massage then,how can you resist when they work out at around £7 for an hours massage 🙂

Today we are off on a trip to see the rice fields which looked a little difficult to reach on our own

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Dancing fountains

As the weather was so overcast with lots of smog making visibility poor, we decided to give Mt Huashan a miss 🙁

So instead we started the day with a bike ride round the 14km city wall

Finally I got Geoff on a tandem something I have wanted to do for a long time and it was great fun too 🙂

Then we set off on foot to find the big goose pagoda where I had read they had the biggest dancing fountains show in Asia, with a show every night at 9pm

Although on the Internet it says the show is every hour.

We arrived at 4pm after a good 90 min walk which had taken us down some interesting roads, which included the pet Market

I also came close to having my things pinched as some kid managed to open my bag while it was on my back 🙁 luckily i disturbed him so off he ran with out getting anything.

All my stuff was in a dry sac inside my bag which I think saved the day

The pagoda was very beautiful and 7 floors high, of course we could not resist going in and climbing to the top

We then had a long wait as the dancing fountains show was at 9 pm

Luckily it was well worth the wait as the show was spectacular and went on for a good 30 mins

Amazingly you can actually stand between the fountains, you get a bit damp but it all adds to the fun

Then it was back to the hostel to pack as it’s time to move on

This time we are flying to Guilin as the train journey would have been 27 hours

Now at Guilin airport where Hamande wanted to charge. £6.80 for a coffee 🙁

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Terracotta Army

It was drizzling slightly when we set off to find the 306 bus , which would take us to the Terracotta Army.

It was much easier finding the buses here than in Datong 🙂

There are many reasons why we try to make our own way rather than take a tour

Firstly it’s usually much cheaper

Secondly you get to spend as much time as you want there

Thirdly your not forced into taking a Chinese lunch

The only thing you might miss out on is the so called English speaking guide but as I buy all the books I can always read up on all the history.

I was so looking forward to this day out and I was not disappointed , the army was totally amazing.

More amazing was seeing how they find all the small bits then match them together like a jigsaw

It’s well worth watching the introductory film in the cinema before hand.

Here you learn a little about the chinese history and why the army was built.

We also bumped into a lovely girl from Beijing called Sunny

She spoke beautiful English and told us many facts

Like how to tell the soldiers from the generals , it’s to do with the height of their shoes

All the terracotta army are said to have a different face, all the horses are 4 years old and have pointed ears , which is not seen today.

All the weapons were signed by the maker , if that weapon should break in war then the maker would be sort out and killed.

All very interesting stuff and to think it was discovered by a farmer drilling for water in his field

That farmer was there yesterday signing the new book all about the Terracotta Army,must say he did not look very happy 🙂

Today we are off to cycle round the city wall on a tandem 🙂

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Rain rain go away

Another day of torrential rain 🙁

So we abandoned our plans to go visit the terracotta army.

Instead we made plans for the remainder of my stay in china.

No more long train journeys for me,as flights have been booked 🙂

As the weather was so bad it seemed a perfect opportunity to have another massage.

Geoff picked a traditional Chinese massage and I went for the more gentle ( or so I thought ) European massage.

We then indulged ourselves by having foot massages.

I am beginning to realise when it comes to massages sometimes there is no gain with out pain.

When I have had all the toxins flushed from my body there will be no pain.

So far we have had 5 massages and I can already feel the benefits.

Especially from the foot massages,my permanent sore toe has never felt better and I can bend it with out pain, which is amazing.

So let’s see how many more massages I can squeeze in before I return home.

Tomorrow it’s the terracotta army come rain or shine 🙂

Our masseurs in Xi'An

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Location:Nanguangji St,Xi’an,China