For the third time this trip we took a nighttrain. From the karst mountains in Yangshuo we went to the coast in Guangzhou. The local Cantonese kitchen is known for all kind of animals. (Cantonese eat everything with four legs, except a table.) So we visited the market to see what could be on the menu that evening. To be safe we had a fishmeal before going on a boattrip on the Pearl river.
Guangzhou was our last stop in China before we headed to HongKong. It has been great to see what is going on in China. The countrysides are beautiful and the cities are growing fast. A minimum of 5 million habitants per city is very common. And pollution is a big problem.
I really loved the spicy food in Sichuan and the eggplant dishes all around. Chinese people are small and their use of umbrellas can be very annoying. They use them to protect against rain and sun alike. China IS happening!
In Kunming we boarded a flight to Guilin and we transferred by bus to Yangshuo. Yangshuo is surrounded by many karst mountains and winding rivers. We rented some bikes to enjoy this beautiful scenery. The gorgeous area was also enjoyed on the Li river, where we caught a ride on a bamboo raft.
Yangshuo is a popular tourist spot and there are plenty of bars and restaurants. We prepared our own lunch on a Chinese cooking class. I really started to love the Chinese food. Good to know how to prepare it myself!
In about 5 hours we went from the mountains to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province. It started to rain in the evening. Next day it was still raining cats and dogs. We visited the Shilin Stone Forest and where greeted by the many Chinese umbrellas. The Stone Forest is a UNESCO listed site of remarkable karst geography. Soaked to the bone we left Kunming area to go south. We were in need of sun!
Just a few hours after we left Lijang we arrived in Dali, our next stop in the mountains. With the beautiful Cangshan Mountains a short distance to the west of Dali Old Town and Erhai Lake a few kilometres to the east, Dali has a perfect natural setting. We rented some bikes and explored the area before we continued our trip to Kunming.
Our second nighttrain in China went from Chengdu to Panzihua, where we continued by bus to Lijiang. In total it took us almost 24 hours to reach the mountainous area of Lijiang.
The old town of Lijiang is an Unesco World Heritage Site and the Naxi-people here are still wearing traditional clothes. The city is popular by Chinese tourists as well. In Lijiang we rented bikes to go to Baisha, where Dr Ho explained us about his traditional medicines.
We flew from Xian to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. I loved the spicy food for which Sichuan kitchen is famous. In Leshan we saw the biggest Buddha statue of the world. At night we went to a 'Changing Faces' show in the opera. The other day we visited a panda research centre and the Taoistic temple of light.
It took us almost 13 hours in the nighttrain to get from Beijing to Xian. This city is supposed to be one of the oldest cities in China. We did a bikeride on the city wall and strolled around the old city.
From Xian we went to the Terracotta army, an enormous collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. The statues were buried with the Emperor to protect him in the afterlife. In the evening we had some drinks and socialized with Chinese people in the Xian bar district.
The first time I really travelled abroad I joined a package tour to China and Hongkong together Paul, a Dutch friend of mine. We started the tour in Beijing, the capital city of China, where we visited the Lama temple and Tiananmen square. We knew the square from television, and it was special to see the square was emptied by the military for unknown reason. The presence of Mao Zedong is still around at the square. His mausoleum is located on the square and a big picture of him is shown on the entrance of the Forbidden city.
We stayed in Beijing for almost 4 days, so we had plenty of time to wander around the old Hutong streets and parks and to visit the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven. By bus we went to The Great Wall. Together with many Chinese tourists we climbed a part of the 6000km long Great Wall.