Guangxi - Day 4 -Moon Hill Village to Yangshuo
- Distance 38km
- Max Elevation 239m
Guangxi - Moon Hill Village to Yangshuo Ride Profile
The morning dawned bright and sunny. Steve was still a bit jaded. Karen
decided that rather than just cycle 9km up the busy main road to
Yangshou we could go across country to the Li river valley and follow
that north to Yangshou. That would sort Steve out.
With only the previous day's "tourist map" to work from and the hotel
receptionist's warning of "they've built a new road" but not the
expertise of English to explain how this would affect us, we set off.
The first section was easy along a narrow unsurfaced lane through the
typical Yangshou countryside. We eventually came in sight of the new
motorway. There was a choice of either going under it through a small
underpass or forking left towards a little village. We took the left
fork and the next 5kms rode along a single width track through little
villages, around fields and orchards, weaving between the karst rocks
and crossing under the motorway a couple of times.
The path ended at a smooth concrete road which again took a circuitous
route through the fields and fish ponds, resulting in us loosing all
sense of direction. The sat nav didn't help much because here in Guangxi
there is quite a significant south west offset. At last there was a T
junction with a signpost (in Chinese of course) and by some miracle the
symbols matched those of the village we were trying to get to.
After a bit of a climb and a long downhill we arrived at Puyi, formally
an end of the road village on the banks of the River Li. No more though
because they have just replaced the bamboo raft ferry with a brand new
concrete bridge. The bridge is complete but the road has yet to be
surfaced, with huge mounds of gravel and sand and mud. As we watched, a
small three wheeled scooter type van drove over and tilted so alarmingly
from side to side that we were sure it would overturn. The stalwart
Guangxi driver knew what he was doing and arrived safely.
We rode through the old village on the narrow "main street" . There were
typical Guangxi shops and houses lining both sides with fold back
wooden doors at street level and small balconies above. As we rode past
we caught glimpses of life through the open doors. Small shops selling
essentials, families dining, three old ladies playing cards and a
carpenter working his wood.
On the river shore a family were mending their boat, using traditional
methods and the woman had the job of sawing the wood planks.
It wasn't easy to find our route out of the village and Steve announced
that there was no way he could ride back up the hill that we had just
descended as his legs were too shaky. Then Karen spotted a narrow
alleyway between two houses and an old lady in a field assured us we
were on the right road.
Again it was a rough unsurfaced farm track winding through the hills,
passing little hamlets with happy smiling people, strutting cockerels,
ducklings sleeping in the shade and even friendly dogs. In one village
it seemed like the whole male population were working together
constructing a house. They were all so busy, mixing cement, laying
bricks, moving gravel but happily chatting and laughing and greeting us.
Navigation wasn't always easy and we took a couple of wrong turns in the
villages. The lane now had a smooth concrete surface and there were a
few tourists cycling on rented bikes so we knew we were on the right
road. Steve was very pale by now but there was only one bit of hill and
suddenly we were into the melee of Yangshou. Buses full of tourists, the
river packed with boats, touts at every turn trying to sell bike hire,
pictures and boat trips. On the river the "bamboo" rafts were instead
made from lengths of blue water pipe. It was all a bit of a shock after
our peaceful day.
We had decided to try the River View Hotel recommended in the Lonely
Planet but the tiny town map of Yangshou was too confusing to make sense
of and it took us a full circuit of town to work out where we needed to
go. Once we found it we got a room with a huge balcony overlooking the
Sitting out on the balcony we noticed a man on a recumbent bicycle on
the pavement opposite. Steve had recovered enough by now to go out to
chat and have a go on the imaginatively modified bike, complete with
wing mirrors, umbrellas, headlight and boom box sound system.
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