Last month I posted Part 1 of Highlights From 60 Days In China.
Now I’m back with highlights that are more scenic, greener, and further south.
Here is Part 2 of my China highlights.
8. Biking around Shuhe and Baisha(Yunnan).
Lijiang was one of my favorite places in China.
It’s a nice village with plenty of sites nearby to visit.
One of my highlights was renting a bicycle in Lijiang and riding it to the neighboring villages of Shuhe and Baisha.
On a clear day this is one of the most relaxing bike rides you can take.
Once you’re out of Lijiang the traffic and people really thin out.
The landscape of this area is beautiful and the ride is easy and peaceful.
The villages of Shuhe and Baisha are both small ancient UNESCO towns(with entrance fees).
Shuhe is about 40 minutes(by bicycle) northwest of Lijiang Old Town.
Baishazhen is about 30 minutes(by bicycle) north of Shuhe.
Both of these small towns are home to the Naxi minority tribes that live in this area.
Baisha is actually the earliest settlement of the Naxi people.
Shuhe and Baisha are perfect examples of what villages in this region used to look like.
They are both nice places to walk around and get lost; and neither of them are very crowded.
9. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain(Yunnan).
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain might be the main reason most people visit Lijiang.
And I completely understand because it’s a magical place.
The top of the mountains are snow-covered and foggy.
While the base of the mountains are lush green with turquoise pools of water.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is like 2 different worlds.
The highest peak is at an elevation of 18,360 ft(5,596 m).
You can take a cable car 15,354 ft(4,680 m) to “Glacier Park” which is the highest viewing platform.
I visited in June and this area was packed with people.
There’s 2 cable cars to other lower elevation areas, Spruce Meadow and Yak Meadow.
But I didn’t go to either of them.
I descended back down to the base for warmer weather, waterfalls, and turquoise ponds.
This area was less crowded and much more spread out.
And the surroundings are gorgeous.
I saw couples taking wedding photos in some spots and people lying around relaxing in other areas.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is a gorgeous and peaceful place to spend the day.
Even if you want to be adventurous there’s plenty of areas to hike around.
Without a doubt it’s one of my most enjoyable China highlights.
10. Hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge(Yunnan).
I thought hiking around Switzerland gave me some of the best mountainous views I’d ever seen.
Then I arrived in China and that all changed!
The views you get hiking through Tiger Leaping Gorge might be the best.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is a very easy 2 day hike.
The first part of day will be the most difficult.
Just when you start to think it can’t get any worse you approach the infamous 28 Bends.
Luckily for you there’s a vendor selling a variety of things(even marijuana) before you tackle the bends.
The 28 Bends suck.
There’s no easy way to say it.
But after the bends it’s all easy.
After the bends you’re also closer to the guesthouses near the halfway point.
The most popular guesthouse in that area is Halfway Guesthouse(very creative name, I know).
It’s a first come first served type of place.
Unless you’re hiking in high season you should be able to find plenty of room.
The guesthouse is very large.
I was there in June and had a whole dorm to myself.
Halfway Guesthouse also has a huge lookout point where most people eat and relax.
Surprisingly this place in the middle of the mountains had one of the best WiFi connections in China.
That was a huge surprise to me.
The next day is the easiest hiking of the Upper Gorge Path.
The path is flat, hugging the edge of the mountains, and not strenuous at all.
Eventually you want to make your way to Tina’s Guesthouse for your bus back into Lijiang.
Tina’s Guesthouse isn’t far away from a path down to the river that cuts through the gorge.
Since I arrived at Tina’s early enough I decided to go down towards the river.
Down there there’s many platforms and viewpoints out near the river.
Some of the locals charge an extra price to enter those areas.
I didn’t think most of them were worth it, especially since there’s a few good free areas to see the same thing.
The Sky Ladder.
One thing I didn’t mind paying extra money for was the extremely unsafe looking Sky Ladder.
Rather than hiking back up to the road near Tina’s you can take this ladder up as a shortcut.
It’s a series of metal ladders that are bolted into rotted wood that MIGHT be bolted into the mountain.
The ladder is about 40 steps completely vertical to the top.
It only took me 3 minutes to go up with a GoPro in my hand.
It’s completely worth it and only looks worse than it really is.
The whole 2 day experience was very nice.
Aside from the 28 Bends it was a relaxing hike.
11. Longsheng Rice Terrace(Guangxi).
Who knew rice paddy fields could be so cool to look at?
Even though it was raining when I arrived it was still a picturesque landscape.
Despite being 62 miles(100 km) from Guilin, this rainy adventure was quite satisfying.
Taking a cable car up to the top put everything into perspective rather quickly.
The views were immediately amazing.
Once at the top I was pleased with the weather because there were hardly any tourists around.
When you’re at the top you can even venture down some paths closer to the fields.
Getting back down you can choose to take the cable car again or you can hike.
I chose to hike and it wasn’t difficult at all.
If everything wasn’t wet it would have been easier.
But the path is pretty decent and it wasn’t unsafe or exhausting.
12. Li River cruise(Guangxi).
For me the only way to travel from Guilin to Yangshuo is by cruise.
Four hours of amazing landscape and views of daily life on the Li River.
In all honesty I didn’t know a cruise was an option.
Some people I was hanging out with mentioned it and it sounded better than a bus.
So we opted for that instead.
Now I consider it the ONLY way to make this journey.
Great views, very relaxing, and fascinating.
Unfortunately the time went by rather quickly.
We ended up in Yangshuo faster than expected.
I wanted to stay on the boat longer and travel further down the river.
13. Yangshuo bike ride(Guangxi).
Renting a bike and taking the trails of Yangshuo is one of the most breathtaking bike rides you can do in China.
The paths are paved and well-marked.
And there are photo opportunities every minute.
This region is one of the most beautiful areas in China.
Anyone that has been to northern Vietnam would understand.
As this area of China is almost identical to that area of Vietnam.
The bike trail I was on took me through farmland and rural areas of Yangshuo.
Large karst mountains as far as the eye can see surrounded me.
And all around were lush forests and rivers.
Yangshuo is like a place out of a fairytale.
Worthy Of Repeating.
For 60 days I traveled through 7 different provinces.
These 13 highlights are worth repeating with any visit back to China.
Have you been to any of them?
Would you go back?
Let me know in the comments below.
My name is Jeremiah and I'm a photographer from Arizona.
I'm always in search of picturesque landscapes and adrenaline pumping adventure.
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