Xing Ping

On our first weekend in Yangshuo the school organised a group trip to the little village of Xing Ping, which is about halfway between Yangshuo and Guilin on the Li River. We took a bus through spectacular scenery, whilst being introduced to the Chinese love of singing. When we arrived we took a quick stroll through the old village before heading out into the agricultural areas. The village is very quaint, with narrow streets, old buildings and the omnipresent limestone peaks perched in the background.

We then crossed the Li River and entered some of the most beautiful countryside imaginable. Xing Ping is located near the highest concentration of the region's famous limestone peaks, and many of these are extremely large and unusually shaped.

We were shown to the exact location that is painted on the Chinese 20 Yuan note. Here if you look closely you can see Georgia is holding the note.

We walked along the river to a farmer's home to have lunch. We sat on little tiny chairs in front of the spectacular river scenery whilst we waited for our food to be cooked. Lunch was delicious and very fresh to say the least. A full belly and a few beers later we set off to walk along a track through fields of rice paddies. Along the way we saw buffaloes being walked by their owners, children playing on the narrow dirt roads and a few lone workers in fields.

We crossed to the other side of the river by ferry to get a close look at Nine Horse Hill. This is a cliff face with black charcoal streaks on the white limestone. With some imagination the black streaks resemble horses. Legend says that the more horses you can see, the greater military leader you would make. Generals were supposed to be able to see all nine horses. Marty seems to be moderate military officer material as he saw four horses when most people couldn't see any more than one.

The initial plan for the afternoon had been to go bamboo rafting down the Li River. However, because it was the end of the Golden Week holiday the river was full of tourist ferries and the government had deemed the river too dangerous for rafting. Fortunately we were able to hire a small boat to cruise down stream past the most spectacular section of the Li River and this certainly didn't disappoint! The river has cut a path through the peaks and in many places it forms a canyon of vertical limestone cliffs. In other places hundreds of peaks are visible at once. Many of these peaks have been given names to signify objects that they resemble. We saw “Camel Hill” and “Old Man Holding an Apple” and many other famous peaks.

The day ended with a game of hacky-sack and a weary bus ride back to Yangshuo. The day was fantastic and the scenery in the Xing Ping area was unbelievably memorable. It will be a hard act to top and we highly recommend it to travellers to China.

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