|Yangshuo By Night|
|Not The River Li (Yangshuo)|
|Cycling Along (Yangshuo)|
|Light Peeking In (Yangshuo)|
|I'm So Excited I Just Can't Hide iI! (Yangshuo)|
|Yeah We're In The Karst Region!! (Yangshuo)|
|Calming Down (somewhere along the Li River)|
|Peek Inside & You'll See The Great Leader (Xingping)|
|Xingping Village (Xingping)|
|Practising Psychopathic Look (Yangshuo)|
|Cooking Result, Abs's Favourite... Eggplant (Yangshuo)|
|Cooking Mates (Yangshuo)|
|"View" Of The Rice Terraces (Darzhai)|
|Abs Venturing Out In The Cold (Darzhai)|
|Misty Longji Rice Terraces (Dazhai)|
|Professional Noodle Station (Nanning)|
|Typical Outdoor Restaurant (Nanning)|
|Tangerine Market (Nanning)|
|Big Big Cucumber (Nanning market)|
|I Sell Glasses With A Smile (Nanning)|
After what turned out to be a 6 week break we finally returned to China. Unsurprisingly not much had changed in our short stint away and the South turned out to be well worth the return visit.
Yanghou was our first destination and despite being dropped off from our night bus under a cold drizzle in the dark, early hours of the morning on an unknown street in town we could tell immediately that this place was special.
Everywhere karst (limestone) peaks jutted into the sky like fingers ascending from the ground and reaching for the heavens, the last remnants of long ago collapsed super caves. From our hotel room the Li River provided an awesome background on one side, whilst Monkey Jacks Bar would light up our evenings with pumping music and strobe lights on the other.
We liked this town and stayed far longer than we intended. Other than the first morning the days were uncharacteristically sunny for this time of year and we took advantage by hiring bicycles and heading into the countryside or walking between little-known villages nestled amidst this extraordinary landscape. Water buffalos munching in the fields and chickens were our main companions on those days, with the face of Mao peering out at us from nearly every abode we passed, evidence of his influence having sifted into every rung of society.
To supplement our Yangshou experience we also took a cooking course and would highly recommend one to anyone heading this way. We were also fortunate to meet up again with friends we had previously met in Kazakhstan. And when we weren't doing any of the above we were simply relaxing in a coffee shop in this extremely quaint town (Disclaimer: “quaint” in this case is defined as rather pleasant other than the butchered dogs and cats we saw hanging at the local market.)
After a week in Yanghshou we headed to the village of Darzai set amidst the Longji Rice Terraces. It was low season and we could see why. Not only was it freezing, a temperature that Diana is innately allergic too, but 90% of the time we couldn't see more than 10 metres in front of us. The other 10% we were usually huddled under the electric blanket (in fact Diana was constantly huddled under the electric blanket).
We stayed around for 2 nights in the hope that the weather would improve, but had no such luck, only momentarily getting glimpses of the layered rice terraces stretching out into the distance when the mist subsided. It was clear that in good weather this would be a beautiful place.
The unknown 7m people populated city of Nanning was our last stop in China and the last major city before Vietnam. We hung around for a few days, taking advantage of what turned out to be our favourite night market in China before catching the train to Hanoi, the gateway to South East Asia.