Wednesday, May 25, 2011


There were some unexpected discoveries and there were some disappointments.

Huangyao is a real discovery of a gem, courtesy of Am of sayingtheunsaid ( Visit this place before high-rise buildings started sprouting up on the periphery of the village and spoiling the beautiful, rustic scenery. Some parts are already being developed. The Chinese are already there, but not in hordes as at Yulong River, Li River or Yangshuo.

Xingping is nice too. There were a lot of Chinese day trippers but was very quiet at night, with no night activities. Explore the river front, both at the jetty and the area near the bridge which were over-grown with bamboo groves. Right across the bridge, within a short walking distant, is the viewing point of the hills denoted in the RMB20 note. The old part of the town, which you can reach by walking along the alleys, was rustic and charming too.

The greatest disappointment was the scenery along the Yulong River and between Xingping and Yangdi. Maybe, my expectation was too high, thinking of the time before mass tourism came to Yangshuo. Maybe, I thought I could see super still water with those clear, blue sky reflecting off the Yulong River or Lijiang, green leaves in abundance everywhere, with nobody around or man-made structure at every corner. It was the pictures like those on this page and those in Chinese painting that drew me to this part of the world.

The timing of the visit in spring with the misty weather, the horde of Chinese tourists and the artificial and man-made structure everywhere spoilt everything. Every where you look was misty white. The cold winter turned the bamboo leaves brown on the edge, which otherwise could have been beautiful, especially along the Yulong River. The Yulong River and Li River at Yangdi could have been very still, reflecting the beautiful hills in the sun but no, there were the never-ending ripples from moving rafts carrying the hordes of Chinese tourists. The hill and water scenery at Gongnong Bridge could have been so beautiful but those man-made structure and the tourist rafts really spoilt everything.

Chengyang was a disappointment. There was only the Chenyang Bridge to see. The Drum Tower was not spectacular. Ma’an Village, right across Chengyang Bridge, sees its traditional houses slowly being replaced with brick and cement houses. The villagers are going to kill off tourism in Chengyang if they are so money-obsessed. When you cross the modern bridge from the village side to the main road and attempt to walk along the road towards Chengyang Bridge (not on the village side) or other villages the next day, you will be asked to pay for entrance fee again. This is unbelievable! The entrance fee of RMB60 is already steep enough and squeezing more money out from visitors is not going to be healthy for the local tourism industry.

Dazhai could have been spectacular. At this time in spring, only some of the villagers were getting their rice fields ploughed. The raining season has not arrived and the fields were brown from the dead rice stump. It there was rain and sun, the water-filled field would reflect the sun light giving the rice terrace its magnificent sight. Unfortunately, the sky was misty white, not clear and sunny.

I read a fair amount on Zhaoxing. Getting there directly is a problem. I read in blogs that buses departed from Sanjiang to Zhaoxing twice a day, early morning and mid-day. The morning bus was said to be reliable on its run. However, this was not the case. There were no direct buses. This was a great disappointment too.

Anyway, the best part of this trip was the first four days, and it was really fulfilling. If I were to go back, I would be going there in June.


  1. nice backpacking..i will be going in may but still have not decide the itinerary

  2. If you are into landscape or scenery, you should not miss Guilin/ Yangshuo