Having left Southeast Asia behind us, we’ve just arrived in Guilin, China – a laidback, tree-lined city hemmed by karst mountains, rice fields and winding rivers. Coming from the chaotic traffic-congested metropolis of Bangkok, we’ve warmly welcomed the transition and eased into the peaceful setting.
We are excited to be traveling with China Odyssey Tours, crossing the country from the southwest to the eastern corner. Over the past few days, we’ve already experienced different parts of the Guilin prefecture – including cruising along the scenic Li River amidst karst mountains, planting rice in the fields of Yangshuo, wandering through the charming 1000-year-old town of Huangyao, as well as meeting minority tribes in the mountainous Longsheng county. It’s not our first time in China, but we’re definitely new to this side of the country, one sprinkled with beautiful natural sights and slow countryside way of life.
In the following weeks, our pace will probably pick up as we make our way eastwards into the provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi and eventually Beijing. China Odyssey Tours has come up with an excellent itinerary that includes visiting a panda research center in Chengdu, exploring the legendary Mount Ermei, the terracotta warriors in Xi’an, and wandering through Beijing’s hutongs by rickshaw. Unfortunately, our plans to go to Tibet have been thwarted as our application for the entry permit has been rejected, but I have a feeling we will be back here soon enough.
China is my ancestral land, where my great-great-grandparents are from, yet it’s both foreign and familiar at the same time. The language is one I can relate to, yet the customs, traditions and mindsets are something that intrigue me endlessly. I’m sure this trip will give us a better glimpse of the country. We will be writing about China over the next few weeks, and also sharing stories and photos from Myanmar and Thailand along the way. Meanwhile, here’s a look at some of the photos taken (by Alberto) in Guilin and its surroundings over the past few days.
The evening sun shines its last rays over the karst hills surrounding the rice fields of Yangshuo.
Dragon’s back rice terraces, as the name implies, resemble the winding green curves of the mythical animal.
A photo shot from the back of a river cruise as we sailed through the beautiful Li River, with the Chinese flag in tow.
A lonesome farmer works in the fields surrounding Yangshuo. Almost 90% of the population of Yangshuo live on agriculture.
Terracotta-roofed houses are stacked amidst the Longji rice terraces to form the town of Ping An.
1,000 years have gone by and the streets remain the same in the charming ancient town of Huangyao.
Guilin city is known for its waterways – this is one of the lakes that flow through the city.
Typical wooden houses in Ping An town, Longsheng.
A minority tribe lady who treks almost 1.5 hours daily to Ping An to sell embroidery in Longsheng.