Published: September 2nd 2011August 31st 2011
Yangshuo – Don’t talk to me about electric mopeds!
After a non-eventful bus journey to Yangshuo it was apparent on the bus ride there the mountains and scenery where exactly as described in the guide books. The panoramic scenery that stood before me was incredibly beautiful with mountains appearing from everywhere and somehow the layer of thin smog and mist that covered them made it feel even more amazing and more like a scene from a movie. It was like something out of Human Planet, although it did have one downside, because I could not stop looking at anything around me I wasn’t really paying attention to other minor issues such as the traffic and uneven terrain and therefore often walking out in front of the odd bike or stumbling over a particularly uneven path, thankfully no damage done to my incredibly good looks, so rest at ease ladies.
On our first day we hired bikes, this was another first for me in China, we all set off to join the insanely busy roads towards a bridge called Dragons Bridge on the Yolong River. After a really fun bike ride including a river crossing on a bamboo boat we
passed through several remote villages where we saw a few water buffalo soaking in small ponds and many local people tending to their crops, it was so picture perfect it was hard to take everything in. After seeking a small amount of assistance we eventually found the bridge complete with all the bamboo boats passing by carrying the less energetic tourists along the river. Dragon Bridge is approximately 10m high and is renowned for being a popular bridge to jump from into the river below whilst trying to avoid the boats. This was my moment, I had to make this jump or there was no way I would ever do a bunji jump. I went to the top of the bridge with Carol who needed no encouragement she just climbed the wall and jumped. I was so keen to do this but as I begun to climb the wall and looked over the edge my legs just started shaking uncontrollably. After several aborted attempts I decided I had to “man up” and do it, so with a small amount of help from an Aussie bystander I managed to get onto the wall and just went for it. I’m so pleased
Yangshuo - Bike ride
I'm not sure if we should have used it as a boat or a bridge?
I did and I actually loved it, I went back and did a second jump. Following a really good day where we had all forgotten about eating at any point during the activities we decided to head out for some Chinese food, it was a great way to finish the day.
The following day we were back on the bikes again, but only after waiting over one and half hours for our breakfasts to be cooked, we have since learnt that you need to try and avoid ordering such things as an American or English breakfasts because they just seem to struggle with the concept even though they are on the menus. The first stop of the day was the Buddha caves which included a mud bath and hot springs. It was such great fun being in the mud baths underneath such huge mountains (the photos will be added to a future blog once I have received them for a friend who kindly took their camera in.) Once we had finished playing around in the mud it was time to sit and relax in the hot springs that were just perfect. We then headed off to Moon Hill and
trekked up approximately 150m to take in the idyllic scenery and marvel at this impressive opening within the mountain. Another great day completed but I have to confess the bikes were not great and my butt was suffering from being on a very uncomfortable seat for two days.
When the idea was floated that we should get bikes the following day I simply said no way, which I lived to regret!! On the final day we decided to head out to a place called Xingping which is where the picture on the back of the Y20 note was taken. The journey was approximately 20km and I hired an electric moped to have a bit of comfort for the day. I was so smug whilst most of the group were sweating under the intense heat from the sun, but I would not be laughing for long. We reached the scenic point in Xingping took photos and relaxed by playing a bit uno with our new French friends we met the day before, to say they were competitive is a massive understatement!
After a while we decided to head back and those with push bikes got the boat back and
Yangshuo - Bike ride
Dragon Bridge - Jump 1!
I decided to ride back, it was getting late but my battery was still showing as full so I was happy. Well after just 4km the battery died and I was stuck in the middle of nowhere with no idea what to do, there was no way I was pushing the bike back for 16km! I pushed the bike to a small house which doubled as a restaurant and after buying some water from the owner she kindly let me put the bike on charge, I sat and waited for 1 hour and eventually headed off. I was watching the battery indicator the whole time and it felt like a bit of a top gear challenge, well after 12km it went dead again, by this time it was getting dark and I was slightly worried about the main road I had to negotiate on the way back, but I also knew there was nothing I could do everything now was kind of out of my control. After some comedy attempts at trying to explain to many local people my battery was flat a kind family let me put the bike on charge whilst we all sat in their living room
on miniature stools, although I think the living room actually doubled as a car repair workshop if I’m being honest. It certainly wasn't luxury but I was so happy to be sitting there with them all. I was so grateful but at the same time I was just dumb struck by where I was and what I was doing, I just kept having internal moments of nervous laughter thinking how on earth did I end up here!!! After another hour the bike was ready to go and should get me back, by now it was pitch black but thankfully the bike had lights………… well it had lights but the only problem being as soon as I turned them on the battery dropped like a stone. I had no choice but to brave a main road in China for about 3km without lights and all manner of trucks, bikes, farm vehicles and pedestrians as potential collision candidates, it’s fair to say I was sh*ting myself, but it seemed the safest option rather than having to walk with a bike on that road. After nearly hitting a fallen tree and a broken down car I got back to Yangshuo where I had
the benefit of street lights, I was so relieved I can’t explain how horrible that 3km felt.
A lesson learnt I feel, try and get a better explanation about how long the battery will last on a bike next time or get a motorbike with an actually engine and fuel tank!
It was an incredible day for many reasons, the views were amazing, the people who I shared the day with were brilliant and I got to see another side to the warmth and friendliness of the Chinese people. But it’s definitely the last electric bike I want to see for any journey over 10Km!
Yangshuo was simply picture perfect, a real must see for anyone who likes the great outdoors.
There are more photos below