Yangshuo, a small town near the city of Guilin in Guangxi Province, is a very famous landmark of China and one of the InternChina Zhuhai office’s favourite travel spots. Philippe, our office manager, has been there all of seven times, and he likes it so much he will probably continue to go many more times.
For most of the 20 people who went on last weekend’s trip though, it was the first time, and we had high expectations. We left on Friday night and took off on an 8-hour bus ride, which we weren’t too fussed about because after Zhangjiajie, eight hours felt like a piece of cake.
We arrived early Saturday morning and stopped to eat traditional Gui Lin Mi Fen (Guilin rice noodles) for breakfast. Though it wasn’t cold, it was raining, so again we donned our ponchos. We were taken to the wharf and got on the boats for a tour along Lijiang River. Even though the rain and fog did not allow us to see much of the mountains around the river, it was still a nice ride and we were having fun trying to see whose boat would make it to the other end first.
One of the most famous features of Yangshuo is the spot on Lijiang River that is printed on the 20 Yuan notes, and of course, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to take some pictures to show we’d been there!
After the boats we took a walk along Xingping Town, a small town with narrow streets full of little shops where all kinds of souvenirs can be bought. Some of the interns bought amazing scroll paintings picturing the beauty of Lijiang River and its mountains.
Then we were taken to the Yinzi Cave, a huge cave full of stalactites and stalagmites in all kinds of shapes and sizes, which are made even more beautiful by the colourful light effects that surround them. Here you can also buy some special local products such as chilli sauce and chunks of solid honey, straight from the honeycomb.
After the cave we had lunch and then, since it wasn’t raining anymore, we decided to head over to Yulong River (also called the ‘Little Li River’), where we got on bamboo rafts again but this time, we had a mission: a water-gun fight! The funny part was that it took a while before all our rafts were assembled and ready to go, so while we were waiting we started shooting water at each other and by the time we actually got on the boats, most of us were already soaking wet. The rides were also a lot of fun, trying to aim at our friends from far away and even engaging in fights with other Chinese tourists who were more than happy to play around with us. Some of us even jumped in the river for a swim, the water was so clear and fresh we could have stayed there all day.
Then it was off to our hotel, where we took quick showers and headed to a local restaurant where we were served a feast of all kinds of dishes, including snails and the traditional Beer Fish. We were also given some of the local bai jiu (rice wine), which some of the interns drank with enthusiasm while others stuck to the safer option: the local Liquan Beer. After dinner we walked over to Xi Jie – bar street – for a night of dancing and bar-hopping.
The next morning, after breakfast, we visited the Butterfly Cave – another cave which goes up the mountain – and the Banyan Tree which is said to be 1000 years old. Afterwards we had a lunch of duck hot pot, and finally we were taken to West Street in Yangshuo Town, where we spent about an hour walking and looking around, eating fresh passion fruit and shopping for cool Chinese clothes and souvenirs. Then it was back on the bus and back to Zhuhai!
Last Saturday we took our Zhuhai interns to the exciting city that is Macau. Being at such close distance – the border is just next to downtown Zhuhai – we can go pretty much any day or time we want (if we have multiple-entry visas), but it’s always more fun when you have a big group and lots of attitude!
Instead of walking across the border, we decided to take the ferry early in the morning, because it is faster to get through and we wanted to make the most of our day. After landing on the other side of the bay, we walked to downtown Macau and up to Senado Square. Macau is a great mix of Cantonese and Portuguese culture, so just walking around and looking at the colonial architecture is extremely interesting.
From there we walked through the alleys around the square, past shops selling typical Macau food like cured sausages and almond cookies. The best part is that every shop gives you free samples, so we were able to calm down our hunger before we went off to lunch.
We then arrived at the Ruins of St. Paul, one of Macau’s most famous landmarks and a very exciting sight for us who come from Catholic cultures, since it is very odd to see a huge cathedral facade in the middle of an Asian town. The fort with all the cannons facing the casinos was also very cool to see!
After checking out the sights in the city centre, we decided it was time for lunch and took taxis to the casino side of Macau. We arrived first at the Galaxy, where we had lunch at the food court. From there we walked to the Venetian, by far the most lavish and extravagant of the casinos.
The boys, of course, wanted to try out their luck so we went inside the gambling area and sat at the electronic roulette. Dina and I – the Intern China interns and the only two girls in the group – are not really into gambling so after a while we got bored and decided to check out the shops around the canal on the second floor. If it’s your first time at the Venetian, you might get a bit disoriented when you realise the sky is actually a ceiling and the great Venetian canal (with gondolas and all) is all a big replica.
As with all games of luck, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, and this time the boys had to go home with a few hundred RMB less than they came with. But no one can take away the fun they had betting it all away!
We ended the night on a great note at a small, cozy Portuguese restaurant where we ate a delicious grilled chicken, French fries and salad. Some of us took a chance with the lime-juice-and-chilli sauce: it was spicy, but greatly refreshing after a long day of walking! Then of course, some well-deserved beers and sangrias and soon it was time to cross the border and arrive back home in Zhuhai.