My best China experience

Old Mar 8th, 2002, 11:14 PM
Chris Winnan
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My best China experience

I was lucky enough to get sent on writing assignment for a local magazine to one the most beautiful parts of China, just before the Chinese new year and it was an experience that I won't forget in a hurry. I was supposed to write about Yangshuo but I knew that the surrounding area had so much more to offer than just another backpacker haven like Khaosan Road. Sure Yangshuo has some highlights but the real jewels are to be found outside the town itself.
West Street was good for copy CDs at great prices. Best buys included long scroll Chinese paintings which were bargains, and will make wonderful gifts as well a giving my apartment that authentic oriental feeling. All less than fifty RMB (6 USD). Our fave bar was the little Karst Café, and until I met Echo the owner, I did not know that rock climbers could be sexy. And of course, the beers were cheap at 6 RMB (seventy cents) a bottle.
Head right down to the very end of West Street to find the fireworks shop. We bought traditional Chinese hanging firecrackers, rockets and catherine wheels, a very big bagful for around sixty RMB (7 USD). Make sure you have somewhere safe to let them off, we were staying at the Mountain Retreat, next to Yu Long River which was perfect for a fireworks display. In fact, Mountain Retreat was pretty much perfect in every way. Situated right among the peaks rather than in the middle of the town, it was the best way to experience the true charm of rural China. Clean comfortable rooms with stunning views, delicious food and truly awesome surroundings. I'd recommend it to anyone. I am sure that part of the reason that it so good is that it was built and owned by an American that has lived in China for more than ten years. I'll be happy to send some pictures if you are still not convinced. Otherwise try emailing the equally charming Marketing Manager, Allen as she is just finishing the website and can send you the URL. Her email is [email protected].
Getting to Yangshuo and the Mountain Retreat is very easy, flights to Guilin are cheap but I advise against using the Chinese sleeper buses. Plane tickets are very competitively priced and very convenient.
Old Mar 9th, 2002, 11:20 AM
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Thanks for the recommendation. I'll check out Mountain Retreat the next time I get to Yangshuo. The last time I was there (Dec 2001) I spent a whole day cycling along country roads through all of these amazing karst formations. Recollections of the paintings of Li Ke'Jen kept popping up around every bend. Southern China is a gem and also represents the best of my China experiences. I especially liked the villages of Chenyang (where the Wind and Rain Bridge is located) and Huashan "resort" which is wedged in one of the most enchanting spots in South China.
Old Nov 6th, 2002, 09:03 AM
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Any other experiences out there?
Old Nov 6th, 2002, 03:33 PM
Take Care
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The guy at the top has some kind of relationship with this place. He's put this story in a few places on the net.
Old Nov 8th, 2002, 08:58 AM
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We just returned from 16 days in China. It was my son's 13th birthday. He celebrated by climbing 8 towers of the Great Wall at Badaling. Total round trip 3 1/2 hours. That was the tru highlignt for him. As for me, China has too much to choose 1 thing. I loved it all!!
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