Days 5, 6 and 7 Li River, Yangshuo and Flute Reed Caves Guilin

Day 5 Li River Boat to Yangshuo

Kevin our local guide
After breakfast, we collected our bagged lunch, we piled on the bus again and the regulars took their places on the back seat for the short boat ride down Li River (4 hours).  After a warning by our guides not to consume the food provided by the boat, as it is prepared using water from the river (one look at the kitchen area of each boat gave any further incentive needed to stick our packed lunch). 

Taxi – anyone?
The four-hour float down the river was very peaceful and with a backdrop of the most beautiful sentry all the way we will all remember this part of our trip for years to come. The brave went up to take in the full wonder of Mother Nature’s display of this magical place. 

Sharpy and I made a short stay up top to enjoy the little break in the misty rain before returning to comfort of our table in the cabin.  We arrived in Yangshuo in the mid afternoon and scramble up the steps through the intense market staller-holders that came to the waters edge to hawk their wares. Those who made the mistake of speaking to them (even to say ‘no thank you’) had following all the way to the hotel 20 minutes away. If you speak to them they take it as acknowledgement and you may be talked into buying something. A strategy that worked on a few in our group, they ended up making a purchase just to get rid of them.   

After walk through the ‘Hello’ markets (whole town is markets) and are known as the ‘Hello’ markets as the stall holders constantly call out hello, hello, hello in the hope that you will engage with them before then sell you then sell you something.  After running the gauntlet of the stallholders for the 20-minute walk through the market town to our hotel we checked in to comfortable rooms.

The Green Lotus Hotel was very comfortable and after a short break everyone headed out in pairs or in small groups to explore the markets for a couple hours. Our little group made our way to KFC to sample some western style food, we just had a snack of chips etc. it was nice to be on familiar ground once again albeit for a short time. 

Let the shopping begin, their were some great bargains to be found and I think everyone in the group made a purchase or two and others made many purchases. We had a pleasant dinner in the hotel before most of the group headed out to the world famous Impressions Show using the lime stone mountains as a backdrop. This is just something that words cannot described and one of the ‘seeing is believing’ parts of this fascinating country. This was an outstanding show and everyone thought it was a very worthwhile additional excursion.

Day 6 – Old Farm, Group Massage (Foot Reflexology) and Cormorant Fishing

A bit later start at around 9.30am we boarded the bus and headed out to a farm just outside Yangshuo the farm house was 300 years old and the two old farmers living here were both in late 70s. 

They didn’t want to live in the new house next door. It was very very primitive and cold.  We then re-boarded the bus and headed out to a small village where we wandered around and got the feel of village life, it was very interesting but not a place I would like to have to spend my days. 

Back on the bus and back to town for lunch, surprise surprise it was Chinese. Everything was good and we all ate up heartily before the highlight of the day and maybe the trip. Most of us booked in for a reflexology foot massage 120Yuan for one how. This was sensational and we were all in a room together with gales of laughter we enjoyed the experience very much and all felt better afterwards. Sharpy was very footsore and lame going in and came out feeling like a new man with fresh feet, must have felt better tipped his girl 100yuan.  

Cormorant fishing which interesting t see how they used to use the bird to catch their fish. The ride out into the middle of the Li River in pitch darkness on a bamboo raft with only the glow of town lights to guide was eerie but well worth every minute. This would never happen at home as regulations would not allow twenty people on a bamboo raft with no life preservers and a very swift flowing current in the pitch dark. We only ran aground once and all the boys had to move to the back to get us going again. The hardy ones headed to a Karaoke bar to belt out a tune or two and rest of us headed back to hotel and turned in after a long enjoyable day.
Day 7 – South China Pearl Museum and Flute Reed Cave Guilin
After another substantial breakfast we boarded the bus for the one and half hour ride back to Guilin, once back in Guilin we visited the South Sea Pearl Museum and boy there was some serious spending done here. Such a beautiful range of the most beautiful fresh and seawater pearls I have ever seen. Yes Sharpie had to kick the tin a bit too for the Guilin economy and I purchased a beautiful black sea pearl pendant and a few other bits and pieces. 

After the shopping stop and with all the boys on board feeling a little or a lot poorer on International Woman’s day we set off for the Flute Reed caves. What can I say they were spectacular and like nothing else I have ever seen, probably as I have never been under ground before. Other that had visited caves elsewhere were blown away by the beauty and formations they saw.

After lunch we headed to the Guilin airport here we said goodbye to our local guide Kevin (he was fantastic and so interested in our group) and were promptly being processed by security we all gathered at the gate and enjoys a bit of a rest, although a couple of they die hard shoppers still managed to fine some things to buy.  I was just happy to Skype all the kids and catch up on news at home. Little Indee still thinks we are at Chinese not in China, kept asking Poppy Ian if he was still at dinner. 

Doesn’t everyone defrost steak
on rack in street

The short 1:10hr flight found us in the biggest city in China (if not the world), Chongqing. Some 32 million people live in this very modern and glittering city, the bus ride to our hotel was just amazing and our hotel Harbour Plaza is bang smack in the middle of the downtown area. You guessed it after dinner the shoppers set off again and were probably still there when the shops closed at 10pm. Ian and I just had a wander around took in the sights and the sounds before retiring to very comfortable room.

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