Yangshuo — by Bike, Kayak, and Canoe

In a way, this trip has been all about different modes of transportation.

Our plane flights from SFO to Beijing totaled 7000 miles (plus an airport tram). Our bullet train ride to YueYang was more than 900 miles. And we’ve taken two other flights since. But we also rode a limo to the airport, took a gondola up to the Great Wall (and a toboggan on the way down), and have ridden on multiple and varied tour buses and passenger vans, even the subway in Beijing. And maybe you could count the roller coaster and the bumper cars in Chengdu.

And then there are our three days in Yangshuo, which set a new standard for adventure in transportation. We weren’t done after our bamboo rafts (and the three-wheeled motorcycle tuk-tuks) the first day.

On Day Two in Yangsuo, we rented “bicycles” (such as they were) and went on a “ride” (such as it was).

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IMG_5686It all started innocently enough, with a pleasant cruise through the spectacular karst cliffs. But then the chain fell off the tandem bike that Karen & Felicia were riding. And in general, it turned out that “brakes” were somewhat optional in most of our bikes. And then our map led us onto some footpaths that really weren’t wide enough for bikes. And we rode through some mud, and had to lift bikes around some obstacles.

But the views were outstanding, and I’m sure we would have done it all over again!

Later that afternoon, we booked a trip to the Moon Water Cave, one of many, many caves inside the karsts, but one of the less-touristy options recommended by our resort. So it began with a rickety rope-drawn canoe ride deep into the cave, which was followed by a fun ascent through awesome stalagmite and stalactite formations, with some short and narrow passageways. At the end, we were treated to a mud bath in an enhanced man-made pool.

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Not to be outdone, our last full day ended with a kayak ride down the Li River out of Fuli, itself not quite as unique as the barge ferry ride we had to take to get to the riverbank to ride the kayaks.

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Too bad we didn’t also get to ride those real-life yaks (although I think they might technically be water buffalos)!