For us "Laowais" (foreigners in China) Mid-Autumn Festival in China means a day off work and when there is a chance to travel... Me and my boyfriend, we travel! Out of Shanghai to see, try and experience something new. This time we went with four good friends which was so much fun.
Though not more than a long weekend this was enough for us to plan a get-away a little bit further away than just the outskirts of Shanghai. We decided to travel to Yangshuo (a county under Guilin the capital of China's Guangxi province) to explore this renowned area. In China, the Mid-Autumn festival is traditionally celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar under a full moon. So we got it perfectly right when we on this specific day found ourselves with four good friends under the clearest and brightest full moon in Yangshuo - or "Bright Moon" as the county's name literally translates to.
We had the most fantastic days in Yangshuo. Amazing weather, amazing accommodation, amazing food & amazing Yangshuo. I'd have to say this was probably my best trip in China so far.
What we did
- We left Shanghai Pudong Airport Friday evening at 19.45 and arrived in Guilin airport two hours later. A driver arranged by our accommodation (The Giggling Tree) was awaiting us in the airport and after a 1 1/2h drive we found ourselves surrounded by Yangshou's dark mountains.
- After a latte and a Western style breakfast on Saturday morning we rented bikes, explored the nearby area, went on an amazing bamboo raft on the Yulong River, had a swim, tanned and saw the sunset with beers from a rooftop in Yangshuo centre. We finished the day with the famous Light Show on the Li River. The River Lightshow is a big attraction in Yangshuo but not something any of us would highly recommend (especially after a few wines...).
- Sunday we went with the legendary one-eyed local guide Peter on an amazing full-day scooter ride through beautiful landscapes, old villages, magnificent mountains - we even crossed the famous Li River and found the exact landscape you can see on a 20 Kuai note (this is a must-take picure when in Yangshuo).
- Monday we relaxed by the Giggling Tree's refreshing pool, explored the nearby surroundings, ate Moon cakes to celebrate the Chinese Festival and recharged our batteries before heading back to Shanghai on a late night flight.
We reckon that Yangshuo can be done in a normal weekend's time and we are definitely going back!
The Giggling Tree
I had The Giggling Tree Guesthouse recommended by a friend from my Instagram community and though I heard good things about it I had never imagined it to be either so idyllic or so comfortable. The private rooms are charming and clean, the menu yummy & the pool such a refreshing surprise! I would almost say that The Giggling Tree made our Shanghai get-away feel like a luxury retreat for mind & body (and it is very budget friendly!). Call Paula and Karst, the Dutch owners, on +86 13667866154 or send them an email through the website here.
Day 1 - Biking, Rafting & Soaking the Sun
We took bikes from the Giggling Tree and after a couple of hours bike ride by the Yulong River we jumped on bamboo rafts with our bikes. After a couple of hours of drifting, rafting and swimming we head back to the Giggling Tree to get changed and hereafter to the Yangshuo Centre for the sunset and to enjoy our Saturday evening in Yangshuo.
Day 2: Through picturesque Landscapes, local Villages, magnificent Mountains and across the Li River
Guided all day by the local English speaking guide Peter who was recommended to us by our friends who went to Yangshuo earlier this year (check out Charlottes blog) and who we can definitely recommend to anyone who wants to get the absolute most out of one or more days in the Yangshuo area. Call and book him on this number: +86 135 9730 0650.
Day 3 - Chilling, exploring & getting ready for a new week in busy Shanghai
On our last day we stayed in and around the Giggling Tree - we just had to take advantage of their amazing pool. We also visited their Chinese neighbor: Yangshuo Eco Farm Lodge which is another option for accommodation in Yangshuo or just for a healthy yummy & Chinese lunch in their garden. If you are into meditation, yoga and retreats try to check out Inner Happiness Center which is also in the area of the Giggling Tree (3-5k out of Yangshuo Centre). Some of us had an amazing vegetarian western lunch here and this is definitely a place I'll look into booking for my next stay in Yangshuo.
Yangshuo is definitely a place worth visiting and if you've already locked your trip in - have an amazing time! Don't forget to subscribe and receive my travel updates & other healthy stuff
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