Jason succeeded in arranging an awesome surprise 5 year anniversary vacation.
Well, the surprise wasn’t so huge as I had already discerned where we were going a few weeks prior; though he did try to throw me off a bit which still kept me skeptical.
When I realized boarding our 18 hour train ride that we would be waking up in Guilin the next day I was thrilled! We always wanted to go to Guilin and then south to the town of Yangshuo.
The train ride there was surprisingly comfortable, sharing our soft sleeper car with the parents of our neighbor, Jivko, Bulgarian born Americans from Chicago.
We enjoyed exchanging snacks and stories about living in China, Jivko having been a resident of Beijing for two years. Despite the parent’s heavy accent, they were a joy to share the long journey with.
Upon arrival, Jason had arranged for a private driver to take us the last leg of our long anticipated journey, a 1.5 hour drive through the karst mountain scenery to Yangshuo.
My first impressions of Yangshuo were magical, looks like a Chinese fairytale land with European touches. The rest of the trip only confirmed my first impressions.
The first three nights we would be staying at a resort a little bit outside of town as Jason said he wanted to spoil me the first few days. It was definitely worth it! One of the best touches this Belgium born owner had was awesome imported Belgian ales. We took full advantage of the great bar, food, and beautiful views from both our private terrace to our semi-outside huge shower.
Check this place out! The Village Retreat : http://www.guesthouseyangshuo.com/en/Yangshuo-Village-Retreat.htm
The room number we had is 401 and opens up to a gardened terrace outside the room. It is extremely quite at night, though the sound of nearby construction greeted us in the morning. They are very fast at finishing their work though and by day three the handsaw had ceased.
We ate a great, big breakfast on our terrace the second morning consisting of banana porridge, crepe style pancakes, fresh mixed juice, and homemade dumplings.
The burgers they do are yummy, I recommend the Australian beet root burger, any of the Chinese dishes aside from the fried rice were delicious, especially the beer duck, succulent!
The owner’s name is Tripper, married to Jenny with two kids, and also own’s Tripper’s Carpe Diem a couple doors down. You can take Tai Chi, calligraphy, or Mandarin classes.
The receptionist, Alice, is also great at booking any kind of tour or show you want, and they help make sure you are getting the right price.
We met some other great couples, one that was beginning their honeymoon, and will definitely be back!
You can easily jump on any of the resort’s nice bikes and find some beautiful areas within a 5 minute ride. The best is lounging around the river, swimming, and checking out the local water buffalos and views. It was all well worth the trip to get to Yangshuo!