China has more natural beauty than any country I have ever seen. Once you get out of the big cities you will find yourself in a different world, more like a fairy tale with untouched nature. It’s a place you have to see with your own eyes to believe it exists. My ideal day starts with waking up with my husband in Guilin, in the South of China.
We take the bamboo raft to travel to Yangshuo. The bamboo boat is the best way to travel in these parts, and to discover the hidden gems. As the boat drifts on the calm waves between the tall green and gray karst, the white doves fly over the boat singing. A herd of cows swim and take a bath in the river. Fishermen stand on their small boats throwing nets in the river to catch fish. Thousand year old pagodas are built into the sides of the mountains by the river. We can see the entrances to a few caves and we can jump in the water to have a refreshing cool bath. There are birds’ nest on the top of the karst peaks. During the few hours of the river trip, we forget all about the city. The only sounds we hear are the sounds of water and birds and the laughter of the happy people.
When we get to our destination, Yangshuo, in the afternoon, we go to the water cave, which is located a few kilometers out of the town. We take another boat, but this time it’s more like a kayak, and we enter the mouth of the cave. We paddle for a little bit then we find ourselves in a totally different world with walls of deformed rocks of different shapes and colors and some are shining, as if we are on an alien planet. We keep hiking further inside the mountain until we find the famous mud bath. It’s a natural mud tub and many Chinese people believe bathing there is good for the skin. We bathe there to cool down the heat of the summer.
We rent bikes to go back to the town, biking in the countryside and see the Moon Hill and big green fields with animals eating and walking freely. We meet local farmers and talk to the friendly hospitable people. We bike by the riverside and take a rest, and watch the breathtaking sunset. The sun disappears in the water.
By the evening we are very hungry. The best food I have ever had is always the street food. We head to the evening street market. Before we enter the market we can smell the flowing smell of authentic Chinese cuisine, a delicious smell that make us hungrier. We have a fresh crispy shrimp for dinner. The shrimp was just caught out of the river and cooked in front of us.
As I’m a traveler and an expat, a traveling experience can not be complete without meeting a local couch surfer. To many backpackers couch surfing is a great way to save money for traveling, but to me couch surfing is one of the best ways to meet people and make friends. We meet our host for a cup of tea, then he takes us shopping for souvenirs for our families and friends. Then we head to the theater to enjoy the Chinese acrobats.
At night we head to our host house to get some rest and sleep knowing that I spent the best 24 hours the way I want and with no regrets.
About The Author:
Dina Porell was born and grew up in Cairo, Egypt. In 2010 I moved to South Korea where I married the love of my life. The second love of my life is travel.
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