The next day we went on a bike journey through the countryside of Yangshuo through the Yu Long River valley. We didn’t just stick to the roads but took many paths right through farmers’ fields and through back alleys of the local settlements.
We rode through some amazing countryside that only with clear skies and views could have been more amazing. We saw the active farms growing cotton, strawberries, oranges, pomelos, water chestnuts, sugar cane, rice and so much more. We also saw and learned bits of local culture like the meanings of the tombs we saw all around and how and why they use water buffalo.
Our first leg took us to Moon Hill, probably the most famous hill in the Yangshuo area. Because of the weather we couldn’t really see the hill from a distance or when we hiked up to the arch that cuts through the hill. Aaron and I hiked up the 800+ marble stairs in the rain to the hole in the mountain. I could only imagine that the view would be spectacular on a clear day.
After a warming lunch we rode to the Buddha Water Cave that also has a few other names. This is just one of the many cave systems in these karsts all around the region. It is most popular because of the mud baths and hot springs you can go in. We opted for the “dry” tour meaning no bathing in mud for us. It wasn’t too dry though. Most caves any of us had been in were usually dry inside and cooler than outside, but this was much warmer and very humid, so much that it was hard to take pics without the lens fogging up.
The cave was lit up with multi-colored LEDs and we were told that certain rocks looked like particular things, some of them more than others. There wasn’t much about how the caves were formed or the geology. Ann and John, who have been to many caves (John is the official photographer for Lehman Caves in Great Basin National Park), said this was a similar tour to what you would’ve gotten 15-20 years ago in a cave in the States. Maybe someday there will be a happy balance between the cutesy shapes and the geology.
From the caves we rode a little more through the countryside to find our way back to Yangshuo. Even though the countryside was along the same river in the same area, it looked and felt very different. These farms felt more real. I don’t really know how one farm can feel more real than another, but it did.
We went past the fields and around the mountains in awe of what we saw and were seeing. It was an awesome day even though we were all a bit sore, wet and sniffling and the weather obstructed wide views. I highly recommend this experience. Find a guide who will take you through the countryside so you can really see it.