Saturday, April 17, 2010


While on the boat ride along Li River, I was talking to a couple from Ireland who told of a place just north of Yangshuo called Xingping and they showed me a hostel pamphlet full of some really nice photos. One photo in particular captured my attention, taken from the summit of Laozhai Hill. I figured I would go check out this town, so when I woke up I packed my bags and hoped on the bus. It was only a short ride and within minutes of getting into Xingping, I found the hostel that produced the pamphlet. I decided to check in and start exploring the area.

It was raining lightly but not enough to get soaked, so I packed my rain poncho and started hiking up Laozhai Hill. It was quite lush and the steps were very slippery from the rain during the night, but it didn't take long to get to the top. Unfortunately I was in cloud the whole time. The view from the top is supposed to be spectacular, with a bend in the river and a ton of limestone formations in the background. I was barely able to see the river.

As I started hiking back down, the rain intensified. Pretty soon it felt like I was swimming, not walking. I carefully made it down the mountain and wasn't quite sure what to do next. It's hard to get motivated when you're wet. I walked around the streets of Xingping for a bit and then returned to my hostel to get some ideas.

The hostel recommended visiting the fishing village that's nearby, about an hour and a half of walking. I started heading in that direction, but my rain poncho ripped and I was getting pretty wet. So I returned to Xingping, bought an umbrella and decided to save the fishing village for tomorrow.

I'm quite glad I decided to check out Xingping. It's pretty small, much smaller than Yangshuo and much quieter too. Too bad about the weather though. I'm getting quite skeptical that I'll get to see the surreal colours of this place at sunrise or sunset, the forecast is calling for more rain in the upcoming days.

Hiking Laozhai Hill:

Xingping Town:

Snail Hill in the clouds: