After Yangshuo, we headed to our next destination in China. We boarded our first overnight bus in China for the long ride to the former British colony of Hong Kong. The business capital of the east, and one of the most visited cities in China. Hong Kong, with is blend of ultra modern and traditional lifestyles would be our last stop in China, before heading home.
After checking out the remote rice terraces of Dazhai, we hopped aboard a bus to our next destination, a place I was very excited to reach, the mountainous region around Yangshuo, China. The popular destination city is surrounded by hundreds of near perfect conical peaks, towering over lush rice fields and the wandering rivers, for as far as you can see in any direction. It turned out to be one of most beautiful landscapes we have encountered on our trip, and the perfect place to ask Krista a question...
Our next destination was the remote and very photogenic rice terraces in Dazhai, China. Located high in the mountainous region of Longsheng county in Guangxi province, the hills are covered in miles and miles of delicately made terraces, maintained in the region for hundreds of years.
After leaving the rugged landscape of Zhangjiajie we headed to the ancient city of Fenghuang, built along the Tuo Jiang river. Fenghuang's classic architecture has been crowding the river bank for centuries, and makes for a great place to see these ancient well preserved buildings.
Our next destination in China was the beautiful Avatar Mountains of Zhangjiajie, China. They are not actually called the Avatar Mountains, but they so resemble the floating mountains from the movie Avatar, and in fact at least one of the mountains here was used in the film, that one of the nicknames for this incredible landscape has become the Avatar Mountains. They are narrow soaring stacks of rock rising high above the ground and when there is any mist or fog beneath them, they appear to be floating.
From Wuyuan we took a bus to the city of Yushan, another speck on the map metropolis in China's burgeoning cities. Most maps we found of China don't even show it, but skyscraper condo towers and construction cranes dominate the skyline. As much of China's rural agrarian society leaves their old lives behind in favor of the fast paced city life, China's cities are growing by leaps and bounds and many maps have yet to reflect the rapid growth.
After the hustle and bustle of lively modern Shanghai, we boarded a bus to Wuyuan, China for a tour of the countryside. The hills in Wuyuan County are dotted with ancient farming villages still connected by a network of cobble stone paved trails hundreds of years old. We spent three days hiking through the hills, and staying in tiny guesthouses in different villages, trying the local food and getting to see small town life in China.
After our full month of relaxing in one spot in Thailand, we packed again and off to our next country, China! We started our Chinese travels in the modern mega city of Shanghai. Shanghai is well known for its importance in Chinese history and its modern beautiful skyline, along the water. China would become our 25th country visited on this trip, as well as the last. Other than a long layover in Korea on the way home, China will be our last chance to actually explore a country, and get to know its people and culture.