Friday, April 16, 2010

Li River to Yangshuo

What a long day! It started with a trip down the Li River, from Guilin to Yangshuo. The trip lasted about four hours, but we first had to drive around Guilin to pick up all the people who were coming along for the boat ride. I thought there were a lot of people, but compared to other boats we some on the river, ours didn't look nearly as packed.

We set out from Guilin at around 9:00 am. By the time we reached the really scenic areas of the Li River, the sun was already pretty high up and didn't have the best light for photos. I wondered if a boat were to set out much earlier to get to get the sunrise, whether it would be a lot more successful with tourists. All the boats set out at around the same time -- maybe it's regulated? Really the boat ride seems to be the major source of income in Guilin, everybody and their mother will try to sell you the boat tour. I got asked at the airport, in the taxi, at the restaurant, at a gallery, at a tea shop and several other times while walking around. I was surprised that they didn't ask me again on the boat. I spent most of the boat ride on the top of the boat, admiring the limestone formations and the life along the river. It was a little bit cold and hazy, but at least it wasn't raining.

When we got to Yangshuo, I signed up for bamboo rafting along the Yulong River and to the nearby Baisha village. I barely had enough time to check in and put my backpack in my room before I was off again. The rafting was really fun, though for photos it was a little challenging, as all the tourists, including myself, were given bright life jackets which got in almost every photo. Not sure they were completely necessary, the water really wasn't that deep.

The scenery here has been used in a lot of media and movies. The nearby Dragon Bridge was used as a backdrop for The Painted Veil. The view from it is apparently one of the default desktop backgrounds for Windows.

Though things aren't exactly as I expected. For whatever reason, I thought Yangshuo would be a lot more rural. When I saw fishermen in photos before coming here, I thought they were actually using cormorants to catch fish. The guide we had was telling us there's actually very few fishermen that still know how to train the birds. Most of the ones seen in photos are actually dressed up specifically for photos or shows. I saw one offering to let me take his picture for five yuen. I may take him up on that offer tomorrow, if the lighting is better.

I've been really hoping for some sunrise or sunset photos, but that may be asking a lot considering it's been raining here for almost two weeks. The hostel I'm staying at today has a nice view from the rooftop and I spent the evening there having dinner and waiting in vain for the sunset. It just got dark and cold, so I went down to my room and started working on the blog.

Li River:

Yulong River:

Baisha Villager:



Cindy says... said...

Hi Marko!! Your pictures and stories continue to inspire my love of travel!! Happy and safe travels, my friend.

Brad and Anette said...

Amazing, Marko! Love the pics, as usual.. :)

Anonymous said...

Forever Li River! Beautiful pictures again.

The population of Guilin is not big, but the population of tourists is big. Many of the tourist sites are not old nor natural, e.g. the two pagodas in the middle of the lake are new. The scenery in Guilin is supposed to be its natural state, but the locals like to add on some man-made stuff for the Chinese tourists who have much different taste, obviously.

Juli likes your pictures and think she will go some of the places you have been while she is there.


Marko said...

Glad the photos are able to inspire! I'm thinking this day is probably the best weather I will have had in the Guilin area. I've been hearing people have been staying here for most of their vacation waiting for the weather to get better. I'll be moving on soon.

Liping, which places is Juli adding to her itinerary that she wasn't planning to see before?

Steve said...

Awesome pictures! Some of your photos show such interesting contrasts, like the people steering the boats -- dressed up in business suits -- not what I would have expected.

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