Upon arriving at the dock in Yangshuo, we said goodbye to our boat full of new Chinese friends and set off for our hostel. We heard many stories about the budget accommodations and even cheaper food to be had in China, but until Yangshuo, we had yet to fully experience them. Our hostel was awesome and we were shocked to find beds for only $2.50 USD. We instantly realized the cost benefit of traveling in China; no wonder so many backpackers flock to this region. Our one-year trip may have just been granted an extension.
The cruise down the Li River offered spectacular views, and during our four days in Yangshuo we continued to be wowed by the magnificence of the limestone peaks. At home we spend much of our free time hiking and enjoying the outdoors, so naturally, we like to do the same while on the road. One of the best bike rides of our life happened in Yangshuo, through the Yulong River Valley. We cycled for 20km up and down the river on rocky paths exploring small villages, rice paddies, and the surrounding peaks. The farmers who live in the region work hard under the heat of the sweltering sun, but man do they live in a beautiful place. We found ourselves wondering if they realize that their home is situated in one of the most unique landscapes on the planet.
We spent another one of our days in Yangshuo hiking toward the town of Fuli, but this time the heat was too much to handle. We only made it about 6km into the hike before opting for a more enjoyable plan: beers in the shade along the Li River. At our apartment in Denver, we frequently enjoyed sitting on our balcony and taking in the view with a beer or glass of wine, and we enjoy doing the same while traveling.
On our last day, we took a bus to the nearby town of Xingping. You can never really get tired of the amazing mountains in the area, but what we most enjoyed about Xingping was the town itself. Its relaxed vibe stems from its small size, smiling locals and lesser influence of tourism than its neighboring cities of Yangshuo and Guilin. We considered changing our travel plans to relocate there for a few days, but the Longji Rice Terraces to the north were calling our name.
Back home, cooking and savoring fun and inventive meals is something we truly love, and it’s no different when we find ourselves in a foreign place. We were surprised by a cafe in Xingping where we enjoyed one of the best Chinese meals we have had so far. The pineapple duck and side of taro root with bok choy lingered deliciously in our mouths for the rest of the afternoon.
Our week of biking and hiking in Yangshuo made us feel at home. May 16th marked four months since we arrived in Barcelona to begin our RTW trip. At times we honestly do get a little homesick, especially when our friends and family reach milestones in their lives. Even though we are living our dream, we know that life goes on back home for those we love. That being said, we are going to end this post with a throw-down of shout outs to some very special people; they have been in our hearts and minds throughout the journey (events in chronological order, no favorites here)…
Abe – We miss you greatly, but your love for travel lives as we explore this amazing world.
Max & Tamara – Another Siler, yes! We are so excited to meet Paul!
Cindy & Marisol – Congratulations again on your engagement! We will 100% be there to celebrate with you on your wedding day!
Alina & Mike – We welcome Sebastian into the world and our family!
Liz & Alyssa – Sorry we couldn’t make the Portland Juice Press launch party. So proud of you and looking forward to our first taste of the juices upon our return!
Nick – You the man! Congrats on your graduation and starting a new chapter in your life. We love you!
Christina – You’re done with law school! Congratulations friend! We hope to celebrate with you down south after you take care of that pesky bar.
And a big thanks to ALL of our readers! Sharing our experience via The Chamborres Expedition makes us feel a home wherever we may be.