Often depicted in traditional paintings and long regarded as China's most spectacular region, the scenery in Guangxi Province along the Li River has been fascinating travelers since the time of Confucius. Flying into the region, I was awe-stricken by the limestone towers and lush green valleys below.
The view from Moon Hill.
Next to me on the plane was an American named Don with a Masters degree in Environmental Studies. He explained to me how these most unusual formations came to be. Don said, "When the Indian Sub-Continent slammed into China 18 million years ago, it pushed up the Himalayan mountains and this whole region. This area had once been an ocean bed, as is evident with the abundant fossil deposits. When the water drained off, only the hardest limestone deposits remained. These are the waterways and formations you see today."
A branch of the Li River at sunrise.
Don recommended the village of Yangshou over the city of Guilin we just flew into. We teamed up and took a bus there together. My week spent in Yangshou was fantastic. I swam in the Li River, explored caves, rode bikes all around the countryside, and climbed some of the pinnacle peaks. In retrospect, it all seemed like some surrealistic dream out of a Chinese folk tale . . .
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