Friday, January 30: After leaving the tea plantation, we head north, passing through boundless farmland. The kumquat orchards sprawl over rolling mountains, less sharp around the edges than the karsts; these mountains are clustered in the midst of the karsts between Yangshuo and Guilin.
Here are two views of the same valley, but in the first one you can see the karsts in the distance, and in the second you can see the road to the village. For some reason, I love that little road, snuggling up to the edge of that mountain.
Along the way, we stop at a view-point where we can see, to our north, the famous karsts of Xingping, and beneath us, the Li River winding its way through the jagged peaks.
We continue our drive with Vivian’s husband. He knows all the same places to stop that Vivian stopped with me in October. I don’t even need to ask him to pull over. This is a gorgeous valley filled with villages, kumquat farms, forests and other farmland.
I love how the karsts fade into the mist the further away they get.
Finally we end up at Xianggong Hill, where we climb hundreds of steps to the top; here we can see Xingping to our south, with its CNY 20 Banknote View and Chaoban Hill, among many others. To the north, we can see Nine-Horse Fresco Hill. Other peaks around Xianggong Hill have names such as Wave Stone View, Lad Worships Goddess, Grandpa Watching Apple, Chicken Cage Hill, Lion Hill, Pen Holder Peak, and Carp Wall.
After we leave Xianggong Hill, we continue on our way to Guilin, making one more photo stop along the way.
Back in Guilin, which is just another sprawling Chinese city, we head directly to our hotel, The Guilinyi Royal Palace, where we pamper ourselves on the last night of our holiday together.