Friday, January 30: Our original plan was to take bicycle rides in the Yangshuo countryside, to take a bamboo raft ride down the Yulong River, and to rent an electric bike to explore the mountains and kumquat orchards north of Yangshuo. The bicycle ride we did take was short and rainy. The Yulong River rafts were closed for the season and weren’t due to open until Chinese New Year, or February 18. And the rain prevented us from renting e-bikes to explore the countryside north of Yangshuo.
Weighing our remaining options, we arrange with Vivian at our hotel to have her husband drive us through the countryside north of Yangshuo on our way to Guilin. We tell her we’re checking out a day early, and she reminds us we’ll lose our money for the hotel room tonight. We don’t care. Her husband will meet us at 10:00 a.m. to drive us through the countryside, with our suitcases in the van, and he will take us directly to our hotel in Guilin when the drive is over.
We eat our breakfast and take a walk around the hotel before we leave. Across the street, we enjoy our last gray view of the Li River.
Behind our hotel, we find this pretty little courtyard.
And we take a parting shot of the Yangshuo River View Hotel.
Outside of town, we come to rolling hills covered in kumquat orchards. At this time of year, they’re all covered in plastic sheeting to protect them from the rain. In October when I was here, Vivian herself took me on a motorbike ride through this same countryside. It was so much fun riding on the back of her e-bike with the wind in my hair! The weather was lovely then. You can see the differences in the countryside in this post: a motorbike ride through orange groves to xianggong hill
Our first stop on today’s drive is the Seven Star Green Tea Plantation. In Chinese, it’s called Qi Xian Feng tea plantation and it’s about 14 km from the center of Yangshuo According to a brochure from the plantation: It is about 600 meters above sea level. Cloud and mist surround it perennially. Specially when it rains, the whole plantation looks like a charming beauty in white.
I just love Chinese descriptions of places!
We walk around the tea plantation. Luckily today it’s not raining, just awfully cloudy.
The green tea plants aren’t covered up. In the distance, the covered kumquat orchards stretch as far as the eye can see.
The plantation is a lot browner than when I was here in October. If you’d like to see what the plantation looked like in sunnier weather, you can check out: the seven star tea plantation and return to yangshuo
After we walk around the tea plantation, a young lady performs a tea ceremony for us. I’m not a big fan of tea, especially green tea, but today it’s a warm and welcome treat.
After the tea plantation, we continue on our drive through the countryside, heading for Xianggong Hill, where we get marvelous views of Xingping and the Li River.