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Last weekend, I had a Li River Hiking with some of my friends. It was my first hiking travel and I could not disguise my excitement.
Li River is the soul and mother river of Guilin, which is famous for “the most beautiful landscapes under heaven”. Nobody miss it once coming to Guilin.
We started from the city center of Guilin at 8:00 am, and took bus to Yangdi Ferry terminal in Yangdi Village, which was the starting point of Li River Hiking. The name of village was derived from a hill that shaped like goats’ horns. We visited Yangdi Village, which was located at the bank of Li River. Many old villagers hawked their local food and handicrafts like Li River fishes, Li River Shrimps and silk balls to us. I tasted the fishes, it was really good but a little salty.
We took the knapsacks and began our hiking tour. The hiking path was along with Li River, we appreciated the two-side landscapes and passed through the local villages to experience the real farmers’ lives.
After one and half an hour hiking, we arrived at another village, Langshi Village at 1:30 pm, which was famous for the different shapes of stones. Langshi meant shaped stones were eroded by waves. In the village, it still preserved the old irrigation system and houses, which were not used any more, just for visiting. There is a old saying: “Nature gives the power to Guilin, and Guilin pays back the marvelous hills”. Most of hills in Guilin were named as their shapes, and the Apple Hill in Langshi Village it is. Look far away, one of the hills like a huge apple floats on the Li River, and an old man is watching beside it.
The whole hiking tour lasted 4-5 hours, and we prepared the simple lunch including bread and few of fruits. Of course, you could buy some local food from the villagers. The food was not expensive, you could taste all kinds of local food by less than 10 Yuan.
Frankly speaking, we were tired as long hiking, but the landscapes of the two sides were really beautiful and marvelous, we could not stop, and we all knew that more attractive sceneries waiting for us.
The next destination was Nine Horses Fresco Hill, it was the most renowned hill along the Li River. Standing out with a height of 416 meters, the white traces on the precipice facing the river looks like a picture with nine horses assuming a variety of poses. The cause of formation lied in the dead and calcified lower living beings as algae which ever lived on the seeping water along the cleaves of the precipice, and by and by changed into varied colors, hence forming colorful strips different in light and shade.
This spectacular scenic spot has attracted many poets, painters, scholars and tourists, both at home and abroad. It is also a best place to take photos.
Considering there would be still 5km from Nine Horses Fresco Hill to Xingping Ancient Town. We decided to take a bamboo raft to Xingping, we haggle over price with the raft-man, and got the low price at 10 Yuan for one person. Rafting in Li River, we made a wise choice, because it was the different scenery absolutely to see in Li River. There were always hundreds of bamboo rafts in Li River, and the raft itself was a splendid scenery.
Xingping Ancient Town was located at 17 km from Yangshuo. It was set up in Three Kingdoms (220-280 A.D.), and used to be the center of Yangshuo County until Yangshuo Town was set up in 590. It has been the most important town beside the Li River for the past 1700 years. The scenery from Yangdi to Xingping is the most beautiful section of Li River. In 1974, after one of the Marshals of our country, Ye Jianying, visited Li River, he wrote a poem, which said "Xingping ranks first in Li River."
Another highlight in Xingping is Fishing Village. In 1921, Sun Yetsan, the president of the Republic of China, visited this village when he went to Guilin from Wuzhou for the Northern Expedition (1926-1927 A.D.). In 1998, when the former U.S. President Bill Clinton came to Guilin, he stayed in the village for one more hour and praised as “the first village of Li River”.
Xingping is also the location for the picture on the back the Chinese 20 Yuan note. You can actually go to the exact spot from where the photo was taken. The primary image on the back side of the new 20 Yuan note is a view of a fisherman on his bamboo raft floating down the Li River through the spectacular karst mountains. That is the short distance between Xingping and Fishing Village.
Li River takes a big turn at Xingping and the beautiful landscape and country scenery will never disappoint you, verdant bamboo greeting you all the way along the river in breeze, fishermen floating by on bamboo rafts with their cormorants. The reflections of the verdant peaks show the fascination of Guilin landscape. Intoxicated in the natural painting, you will get to know why the newly-issued RMB 20 note carries the painting of this part of the river.
Xingping was the terminal of the Li River hiking, and the bus took us to Yangshuo, which boasted as “the paradise of travelers”.
Yangshuo is a focus of Guilin’s landscapes, there are more than 30 attractions including West Street, Moon Hill, the Big Banyan Tree, Yulong River Raft Cruise, Green Lotus Peak, and Yangshuo Park, etc. Yangshuo is a must be place once everyone come to Guilin.
The most attractive site in Yangshuo is West Street, also named as “Foreigners’ Street”, because there are always lots of westerners and backpackers, and some westners settle there. Night life is rather active in West Street: crowded travelers, noised DJ music from the bars, various kinds of local handicrafts and charming lamplight, all that construct another world, and the night life always lasts 3 or 4 o’clock of the middle night.
We chose a bar, and seated on the second floor, and then drank beer freely, we just wanted to relax ourselves. Of course, the beer was not too expensive. We can not stay up until the night life ended, we got to have a well sleep for the next day’s course.
Hiking ended, and experience was still going on.