Holding on to the Past in Yangmei, China

Surrounded by river on 3 sides this seemingly lost ancient hamlet ensconced amongst lush fields of sugar cane and banana plantations just 30 kilometres from Nanning is packed with mementos of a colourful past. Founded in the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279 AD) Yangmei slowly developed over hundreds of years finally transitioning into a prosperous…

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Fools Paradise – An evolving cultural masterpiece

Branded a fool over his decision some 13 years ago to create a large scale art park amongst the ethereal landscape of Guilin, Rhy Chang Tsao’s pet project, affectionately named “Fools Paradise”, now boasts more than 200 magnificently sculptured artworks that dot manicured grounds like rare species of flowers. Whilst it may be somewhat difficult…

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Koi Feeding Frenzy, Qingxiu Mountain, Nanning, China

Nanning is a vibrant, dynamic modern city with some 40% of its land mass dedicated to green spaces thus earning its reputation as China’s premier “green city”.   Getting a genuine taste of this relaxed and friendly destination is simply a matter of venturing into one of the many parks or gardens. Qingxiu Mountain is affectionately…

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Guangxi Medicinal Herb Botanical Garden, Nanning, China

Imagine strolling through a verdant, well maintained garden and being wowed by the range of uses each plant has in traditional healing methods.   The meticulously maintained Guangxi Medicinal Herb Botanical Garden is the largest facility of its type in Asia and is the place to see around 4,000 varieties of plants.   The garden is…

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Fall Colour in Yangshuo?

I love lush green landscapes however the gorgeous colours of Fall or Autumn which take over the landscape with reds, oranges and yellows are a spectacular sight.       Whilst out cycling, I realized that it is unfortunately something that doesn’t happen with any real effect around Yangshuo.  Most of the plant species are either…

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Jiuxian Garden Village Exhibition Centre

A few weeks ago I posted a slideshow on the raising of a building out at the Jiuxian Garden Village project under construction just outside Yangshuo.   Things have definitely been progressing with this unique and attractive structure now taking shape.    The bamboo side walls are in place as is the beautiful red wood roof and…

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Nanning – China’s Green City

Most of the guidebooks don’t have so much to say for Nanning however I found it to be one of China’s more likeable cities.   Green spaces and a population that is incredibly relaxed and happy.     Dancing is a past time that you can see happening most early mornings and evenings all around China however…

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Bananas

Hundreds and thousands of banana trees seem to stretch for miles and miles heading south out of Nanning.   Making this uniform blanket of verdant trees that roll across the landscape a very colourful scene are the large piles of harvested yellow and green fruit lying stacked on the roadside and in trailers.    Despite late November/early…

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Yangshuo to Longji Rice Terraces (4)

    Day 4 – Butterfly Valley to Pingan  (48 klms)   The hotel in Butterfly Valley is in a surprisingly beautiful location, next to a Yao minority village some 4 kilometres off the main highway in a gorge filled with luscious foliage and a gushing mountain stream.   For me, today was the big…

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Yangshuo to Longji Rice Terraces (3)

  Day 3 – Guilin to Butterfly Valley  (82 klms)   An easy ride this morning out of Guilin, we make our way through some wonderful little villages and classic rural China countryside under chilly but glorious blue skies and sunshine.    The karst scenery ended not far out of Guilin and for a short time…

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Yangshuo Specialties – Osmanthus

  The Guilin region is very well known for an abundance of Osmanthus.   The city also derives its name from these evergreen trees.  (guilin = osmanthus forest)   Renowned for its many health benefits, the sweetly scented flowers feature in a range of specialty products such as Osmanthus wine, Osmanthus tea, Osmanthus candies and Osmanthus…

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Yangshuo Specialties – Pomelo

  One of my lasting memories of the journey between Guilin and Yangshuo were the villages that seem to specialize in just one thing.   There is the village that makes cane/bamboo furniture, with chairs being the most popular item on display.   Then there was what I called “pomelo town”, clusters of pomelo pyramids neatly arranged…

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Yangshuo Specialties – Li River Stuffed Snails

  The abundance of waterways in the local area results in a good supply of snails which have long been a food source in the Yangshuo region.     The fleshy insides of the snails are scooped out, mixed with pork, chilli and green vegetables, then stuffed back inside the shell before being cooked.  Boiled, stir fried…

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Yangshuo Specialities – Beer Fish

  One of the most famous dishes in Yangshuo is Beer Fish (pijiu yu 啤酒鱼) and mustn’t be missed if you are into sampling the local cuisine.   Braised in beer, tomato, peppers, garlic, ginger and oyster sauce the dish is delightfully fragrant with the fish usually ending up deliciously tender pieces of flesh that…

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Yangshuo Specialities – Guilin Mifen

  A very popular local dish, “Mifen (米粉)” means rice noodles.   The noodles are quickly boiled and served with a few slivers of cooked pork either with or without soup/stock depending on the restaurant.   Various condiments and a basic “soup” or stock can be added according to your own taste.   Condiments usually include fried…

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Pure Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant, Yangshuo

  After spending a bit of time in Yangshuo you might notice that although there are many places to eat, often the dishes end up being quite similar.   One of my personal favorites is Pure Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant, next door to Magnolia Hotel in Diecui Road, Yangshuo.   Their menu is full of highlights…

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Gongcheng: Wen & Wu Temples

  Yangshuo is known for its wonderful scenery and abundant outdoor activities however there are a few lesser known cultural sights within easy distance of town.   The Wu and Wen temples in nearby Gongcheng are excellent examples.   Wen Temple   Wen Temple is also known as the Confucius Temple.   Built in 1410 AD…

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Lotus in Bloom

    Beautiful lotus flowers are starting to bloom in ponds around Yangshuo. Symbolizing purity, peace and perfection, the pink lotus is said to be the most sacred of all.         Two of the best places to view these sublime blossoms in town are in the large pond on the outskirts of Yangshuo park…

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Great way to detour in Guangxi & Guizhou, China

The weather, heavy traffic and re-construction on highway 321 between Sanjiang (Guangxi) and Congjiang (Guizhou) has left the road in a bit of a mess.    A great diversion to escape part of this nightmare drive is a small mountain road which winds it way up from Sanjiang to come out about halfway to Congjiang.    …

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Quiet Times in Hezhou, China

There have been few times in China when I have asked myself the question – where are all the people???   With approximately 20% of the world’s population, busy towns and cities are the norm.   So, 7.30pm Friday night at a restaurant quite close to down town in Hezhou, north eastern Guangxi province, I was…

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