Liquan Fresh Beer, The Giggling Tree and the Yulong River

I am travelling with a daughter in what is simply the most stunning place I’ve ever been to. There you go, said it. The most stunning place. I might top that tomorrow, but the scenery of Yangshuo and the Yulong River is just breathtaking (not just the heat and bike ride).

Yangshuo is the heart of a Karst covered area in the south east of China. The province of Guanxi borders Vietnam and is regarded by the Chinese as one of its most beautiful areas. The beauty comes from 70000 Karst towers that line still rivers. If you’ve ever seen the Painted Veil, then you know the countryside.

Despite the “touristification”, the area retains bucolic charm. It’s impossible to develop the Karsts, so the amazing views are preserved. We got lost, but biking, and carrying bikes through farmers fields surrounded by green towers was a real buzz. Yangshuo has become a party town and a base for the rock climbers, mountain bikers and cavers that come for adrenalin filled holidays. More about it tomorrow. Families and holiday makers that don’t require risk taking activities can stay in a place like the Giggling Tree.

In 2006, a well travelled Dutch discovered a dishevelled farm commune. He saw an opportunity to develop a unique place to stay in a beautiful area. He worked with the 27 owners to turn a bunch of stables and homes into the Giggling Tree. 22 family rooms in a court yard surrounded by Karst towers. There’s even a pool. The Dutch and his wife and child manage it and every now and then other Dutch couples help run the joint. Very gutsy, but gees, I’d do it.

The local beer is functional at best. At $2 a longie (630ml) the price is right and it is cold and wet. They’re the highlights of a very ordinary rice and barley lager.