Bewitching Yangshuo, part I: The voice of the Ancients

January, 12th, 2012

It´s cold, and a damp chill is slowly winding its way up my worn-out denim jeans. A myriad of different impressions is bombarding my nervous system, still worn out from the long flight across the Indian Ocean. Next to me: Chickens and bus seats, and people conversing in loud, passionate sounding voices I cannot understand. The people are carrying the chickens, not the other way around. Or is it?


The massive culture change must be getting to me somehow. It all seems a bit of a blur, but suddenly the scenery changes and jolts me wide awake with its awe-inspiring beauty. Finally, the 90-minute journey over bumpy country roads is coming to an end! Not that I don´t enjoy feisty chickens as travel companions, but I do enjoy gazing upon mesmerizing, majestic mountain ranges thinly veiled by blue shaded fog that much more.



Common, let´s drop our luggage off at the hotel and get ourselves a nice warm pear tea. It´s freezing, and I can barely feel my feet anymore!” my travel companion states.
Sounds like a plan!” I answer distractedly while taking in the cozy beauty of picture-perfect Yangshuo all around me. Its contrasting appearance to Guilin, the city we had arrived in and where we had oddly enough been the only people who had left the plane, is staggering.


Where Guilin suppressed the soul with its tightly stacked grey upon grey high-rise buildings, leaving barely enough room for one’s being to breathe, Yangshuo is an entirely different matter. It opens your heart and feeds you images straight out of nature´s endless palette of spellbinding imagery. The picturesque resort town in Southern China´s Guanxi region is set amid pinnacles like Bilian Feng (Green Lotus Peak) and is a pure paradise of all shades of green and blue and grey and wonder.


A popular destination for hiking and rock-climbing enthusiasts alike, Yangshuo is undoubtedly a charming little minx. She first winks at you and then enchants you with one single gaze, transporting you to an exhilarating world of wonder and possibilities. Visitors can choose between countless intriguing options: From quaint Li-river tours to warming Pot-Luck meals, and from healing Qi Gong classes to exciting Bamboo-rafting experiences – a world of Chinese-wonderland- options awaits.



After a lovely little tea-time time-out, we head to our hotel. Once in my cozy room, I flick through a very artsy Yangshuo travel guide that someone seems to have forgotten on the bedside table…


The booklet whispers to me through the subtle magic of the written word: 

欢迎亲爱的访客, Huānyíng qīn’ài de fǎngkè, welcome dear visitor! The ancients bid you welcome. You are blessed indeed, as Guilin’s scenery is the finest under Heaven. Show respect and gratitude to the land and its people always. For thousands of years, this spring of poetic radiance and harmonious splendor has inspired countless artists, poets, and musicians alike. Know that their creative electricity still dwells all around you in the rivers, trees, and majestic mountains. And give thanks to both the seen and unseen sources of your vitality, the gift of your life.


Know, esteemed visitor, that here in Yangshuo, you will feel protected by the strong Qi (life force) of the mighty karst mountains. You will be washed clean off your worries and doubts by taking in the gentle beauty of the two rivers. Remember that too much fear imbalances your kidney energy, so take time to quieten your mind with the help of some ancient Chinese wisdom in the form of Tai Chi or Qi Gong. It might please your Spirit to soak in a natural hot spring in the Moon Water Cave or to strengthen your Wood energy, your inner adventurer and warrior, by practicing the art of rock climbing. Wherever your choices and your path may lead you, always remember: Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”


A knock on my door – my travel companion awaits, and our very own Yangshuo adventure is about to be born. Through which of the many doors laid out before us will we walk? Join me in practicing the virtue of patience, and find out more in the next post. As the ancients would say –

Patience is a bitter plant, but its fruit is sweet

Chinese Proverb

Back to you, dear reader: What is the most inspiring location you have visited so far? And why did it inspire you? As always, I would love to hear from you:) Stay well and curious!

Categories: Posts in English, Reiselust- Hungry for travel | Tags: , , , , | 48 Comments

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48 thoughts on “Bewitching Yangshuo, part I: The voice of the Ancients

  1. Very nice post, this brought back a lot of memories of my own visit here in the summer of 2010. Interesting to see those mystical peaks in winter mode.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Leighton, nice to e-meet you and thanks for your kind words here. Very cool that you got to check out this gem for yourself! I bet Yangshuo is awesome in summer as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful and heartwarming post Maria! Those mountains are so majestic with a little magic from the fog and river setting. I love the poetic travel brochure. You and the brochure writer have tapped your soulful muse for this adventure. My favorite place so far is Glacier National Park in MT, USA for the mix of mountains, alpine lakes, wildflowers, and wildlife. I also had a close encounter with a mama bear and her two cubs. It’s amazing how fast they can move.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi mate, thank you! I am happy you enjoyed this:) I and my alter ego the brochure-writer do like to hang out with our soulful muses, and I am glad you resonated with the end result of our writing session 😎🙏💚 Thanks for sharing your inspiring place information with us – it sounds divine. And so awesome re the mama bear and cubs encounter!! That would have been a remarkable experience hey?? Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic! Do tell more! I want to know how you picked this location, how long you were there and so on – it looks heavenly!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow awesome and marvelous pictures of such an amazing place to be in Maria. Beauty at its best 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It was a pleasure to read this post and I love the Chinese proverb at the end. I love your descriptions – I felt like I was there with you discovering Yangshuo along with you. Looking forward to the next post and practising patience until then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Amanda, Xièxiè nǐ! (Thank you in Chinese) I am so glad the post resonated with you. That’s one of the best things you can hear as a writer in my perception: that you felt right there with me on the ride! Awesome. So glad you had fun with this adventure. The power of patience is a good one to cultivate! Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

      • Xièxiè nǐ – I like to learn a bit more of language. I am not able to learn Chinese, but it is great to know a little and not embarass myself to some Koreans on my next flight through Asian airports!
        I actually am a little embarassed to mention that I enjoy watching a Chinese dating show that airs here on the Multicultural TV broadcaster. I recognise that phrase from the show! Xièxiè nǐ!

        Liked by 1 person

      • OMG Amanda, do you mean “If you are the one”? lol lol lol, I used to watch that show all the time when living Down Under! In any way, you are in good company watching Chinese dating shows, lol 😀 Xiexie ni for your fun comment, and have a fab weekend x

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      • [shamefully hanging my head] – yes I mean that same show. I loved the theme song but more than that, it was fun. I have watched it on and off. There were some strange contestants and some we felt sorry for and questioned the girls’ choices. They seem to have changed the format now so I don’t watch it much now. Happy weekend to you too. Thanks for the chat! Oh one more thing: Did I ask How long were you living down here? Can’t remember if I did ask you before this.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lol that is SO fun that we are refering to the same show! It was interesting for me to learn about the Chinese culture and ways of being through that format. I was blessed to live in WA for 4 years. Australia always has a place in my heart! Blessings to you in Queensland:)

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      • Yes indeed. Funny about the TV show. It is educational then! 4 years in WA? Did you travel up north at all?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes Amanda, I sure did:) Did a fair bit of travel around WA including up north. You can check out some of
        these adventures here: https://agypsyatheart.com/2020/02/26/daring-to-be-fully-alive-indian-ocean-adventures-in-coral-bay/

        as well as here: https://agypsyatheart.com/reisekunst/australien/
        Have a fun day!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I enjoyed this post very much. The combination of mountains, water, and healing energy always inspire me. There’s a river in the mountains of North Carolina where I feel this energy flowing. I have always been attracted to photos of villages or houses protected by a mountain seen in the background. I’m also a big fan of growing slowly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello dear JoAnna, thanks so much for your wonderful comment. I am happy you enjoyed it! The combination of mountains and water is a wonderful one, I agree! Growing slowly is something I am just starting to appreciate, thank you for bringing it up:) I believe it is a very healing approach and a good counter-balancing act to the instant gratification impulses fostered in our age and time. Blessings 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “May you live in interesting times.”
    ~ Confucius X
    Good to see you taking the time
    to live an interesting life, Gypsy 💛

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  8. Dear amigo Mr. Redpath, gracias por tu bello comentario.
    It’s an interesting life indeed 💛
    I just remembered I gotta listen to some Bob Dylan again!
    Always soothes the soul, I find.
    Que tengas un gran dia Down Under 💛

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  9. Hello my beautiful kindred amica across the ocean. How your writing and pictures transport me and how those words from the travel guide inspire me. They speak to my soul and I feel the same energy where I am right now, in Kakadu National Park where today I hiked and swam in crystal clear waters amongst tiny fish and surrounded by ancient gorge walls.
    I’ve missed your evocative writing and the way you embrace us and allow us to share in your journeys. Thank you lovely for your magic and this heartwarming post and I’ll hang out for part two! Sending you lotsa love, big hugs and tanti baci 💜❤️ xx

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    • Ciao cara amica, thanks so much for your gorgeous words here. They warm my soul, truly. OMG I saw your pics on FB and the energy from where you are right now, the whole vibe is off the charts. Truly wish I could be there with you right now and hug you. Sending lots of love my friend. Big hugs 💜❤️ rockstar amica xox

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh cara amica, I can feel your hugs from here. And you know what, you ARE with me, every time you look at my photos. I’m so glad I can transport you. Sending you huge hugs back and lots of love my sweet friend. xxx ❤️🌴🥰

        Liked by 1 person

      • Aww grazie querida, you are so kind!! And you are right 😃 You are such a lighthouse of kindness in this world and I love connecting with ya through your beautiful words and images. Keep shining and warming us all with your spectacular light while enjoying your life in your inspirational way! Tons of amore my friend xoxo 🤗🌴🥰

        Liked by 1 person

      • Molto Amore and hugs back my beautiful friend xxxx ❤️❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Gosh what a wonderful travel post – the description and photos are so authentic and can sort of relive it with you. How adventurous you are! You know I still feel like I’d prefer to travel in China with someone who can speak the language or get around, it’s how I feel about India too. The architecture is so special here in Yangshuo and you photograph and describe it so well (I also love all your photos here you look soo lovely). By the way I didn’t realise the Chinese believe they are somehow descendants of the dragon! But indeed I know it features very prominently in most of their aesthetics and folklore. Ahhh, soo good to be reading your travel notes again… big hugs Maria Elena…

    Like

    • Hello gorgeous, it’s so great to have you back here!! I am so glad you are feeling better also. What a time we live in hey. I am so grateful for you taking the time out of your day and life to read and comment:) Thank you, beautiful soul! I actually did only travel to China from Aus on my own and met my brother in Hainan, who lived in China at the time. Thank you for all your beautiful compliments and your human warmth!! 💕💕 You are a wonderful being, dear. Sending you much much love over to KL💕 Big hugs and I will be by to read your posts soon 💕

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  11. Most beautiful and spritual travel of china,my dear gypsy soul❤you are most lucky to go there and to see Gompa(Boddh Temple)they are most anceient according to Chineese culutre.And Chines art iz famous in all world.I like that proverb”Patience is a bitter plant but its fruits are sweet”.so you would feel it ,dear my gypsy soul!! My soul are travling with you at that holy places.enchantiya,yaar!! Much love and big hugs,meri jaan.❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤💕💕💕💕💕💕💖💝

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear dost, dhanyavaad for your lovely comment! So happy to hear from you! I am so glad you enjoyed this post! Are you back home yet? Much love and big hugs dear Aruna. Keep spreading love, light, warmth, and inspiration with your beautiful heart and soul ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

      Like

  12. It seems like the past 18 months have been moments suspended in time, so much travel I wish to take but the world is just not quite ready to open up again 🙂 This post makes me long for my time back in China ~ I just had my return trip planned for this month to Hangzhou and Hong Kong, once again put off. Sigh, I least I can come here and get captured in the spirit of the culture with your writing and photographs. The spirit of Yangshuo and the rich Chinese culture in general matches your philosophy of life. These days, traveling with the mind to these special place will have to do until the veil of all these restrictions we have around us these days get lifted. How are you doing? Hopefully, the autumn season is going to bring some magic to you. Wishing you well, amiga, and keep you head high so we can all see your magnificent smile 🙂 Take care ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Dalo, so good to hear from ya! I can totally relate to what you are describing here – “moments suspended in time” , so true. It feels like we have all been through an extra-ordinary time, for sure. A time which has brought with it a depth of feeling, a need to look at the more serious aspects of life without being able to run no more, is my perception. And that within a cultural framework that truly encourages running away, or numbing oneself out in order to not look at certain stuff… maybe, the collective crisis IS the healer… what do you reckon? Drifting off lol. Sorry to hear about your canceled return trip to China!!! I can imagine your frustration, amigo. Well I am glad you enjoyed the post and it brought back some good homely China vibes for you! Thanks for your beautiful comment and encouragement! Loved it. Hugs 🤗🤗

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      • I think the numbing of oneself is what happens these days with so much uncertainty… It is not a bad thing, but how good it feels to stretch our legs when we can running around somewhat recklessly compared to our current state 🙂 Wishing you wonders, Maria Elena ~ take care!

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  13. Yep you have a good point there! I guess it’s all about finding a balance 🙂 Confronting and looking at reality and taking positive action on what needs healing, combined with enough joy and fun, and maybe some running, or let’s make it dancing haha, feels good to me. Thanks Dalo, sending you good vibes from Andalusia! 🌈 Enjoy those awesome hikes!

    Like

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