We fly to Guilin on Labour day in the evening, and stay one night in Guilin, next day we got up very earlier and floated into Yangshuo on a modest vessel made from 10 lengths of bamboo fitted together into a raft, with bamboo chairs resting on top. The landscape slowly revealed itself until we were completely immersed in it. In quiet moments like these the silence feels more like music than an absence of sound.
Famous for its natural landscape adorned with limestone hills, Yangshuo possesses a humble and effortless brilliance. each hill contains more words than a poet could dream, each one is an ornamental chord strumming the song of nature’s own sweet voice, and each one of the majestic limestone hills seems to hold an a ancient and everlasting tranquility.
The hills are not alone in their beauty. The landscape in which they live is adorned with rivers that reflect golden light, and fields that slope and contour around ancient villages and farms. They exist within a pale sky that paints a misty streak across the horizon, and a soundtrack textured with animal calls and the dancing of branches, and a soft breeze carrying earthy scents, free of pavement dust and smoky exhaust. In this area one can find a laid-back calm that loosens the pinch of stress that often squeezes the breath of so many city dwellers.
In the town of Yangshuo, where many travelers stay. Our accommodations were outside of town at the Yangshuo Village Inn (associated with the larger, more luxurious but equally charming, Yangshuo Mountain Retreat). The room, which was part of an old farmhouse, offered a cozy setting in which to enjoy the colors and textures of the surrounding countryside.
One of the many great ways to take in the area is on bicycle. We rented bikes from our hotel and rode them first on paved roads, then onto gravel roads, and then onto dirt trails. We rode them through villages, over bridges, between hills, past chickens and pigs and water buffalo. We rode them through rice fields and along riverbanks. We are so often shadowed by the towers of modern life that no light is able to reflect off us, shine through us, or fill the space around us; riding through the scenery and the open air felt as though the countryside was endless and forever full of light