As beautiful as the town of Yangshuo is (as evidenced by the plethora of photos populating my posts from here), the surrounding countryside is even prettier, dotted with caves and scenic landmarks. So, I set out today with the mission of obtaining a bicycle and getting out of town, neither of which were terribly complicated. It was my first time on a bike since I was at Sukhothai in Thailand over 3 years ago!
My wonderful hotel (Bamboo House…not literally, it’s just the name) was able to rent me a mountain bike for a mere RMB20 (US$3) and give me some useful route information, as well as a map. On my way out of town, I did pass this beautiful vista:
And I was off! My goal for today was to ride to Moon Hill via the scenic route along the Yulong River (which eventually feeds into the Li River). The roue took me through some small villages, which weren’t terribly different from larger Chinese towns. These weren’t really minority tribes like I saw in Southeast Asia.
The villages seemed to sustain themselves on farming, as was evidenced by several individuals I saw working in the fields. It wasn’t quite clear what was farmed in the area, though once I reached the main road I did see many vendors selling fresh strawberries.
After a couple hours cycling (and a few detours), I reached Moon Hill, which was named after a hollow half moon shape in the karst’s peak. Once inside the park, it was a hefty hike up to opening (1,251 stairs according to Lonely Planet). But once at the summit, the views were absolutely breathtaking!
At the top, I met a nice German fellow who had come from northern Yunnan province and dispensed advice on Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La, all places I plan to hit up later in my trip. He was also kind enough to take a rare photo of me.
I took a few accidental detours on the way back to Yangshuo (read: got lost) and in the process, ended up (incorrectly) crossing the Yulong River by bamboo raft!
My new route did provide for some more absolutely astonishing scenery!
Finally, hot, sweaty, tired and with a pair of ripped pants (thanks to a snafu with the bicycle gears) I arrived back in Yangshuo, after being out and about for a good 8 hours! I was sore and pooped, but you know what? I’m planning on doing it all over again tomorrow, as there are dozens of sites around Yangshuo to be seen!