On the road to Moon Hill

I tackled two items today: biked to Moon Hill and then explored the town a little bit. Because it’s Sunday, we didn’t have class, and I was able to set out early on my ride.

Moon Hill, as one source indicated, is about 9 kilometers from the town of Yangshuo. The ride was pleasant and mostly flat, so peddling was easy and enjoyable. I am still not used to the traffic on the roads here. Bikes, scooters, buses and cars all share the same space. It was not unusual for my little bike to ride next to a tour bus and motorcycle at the same time, although generally, the cyclists stay on the shoulder of the road. Oddly enough, I saw one teenager texting while cycling; I don’t know how that is even possible on these streets.

The ride to the odd-shaped karst wound through the countryside, and I passed huge fields of flowers where other cyclists were taking pictures. Once I got to the main road and crossed the Gongnong Bridge, I was on a straight path to the rock. From that point on, the road was lined with food and produce stands and plenty of hawkers luring me to a variety of other sites. I weaved in and out of traffic for a few miles until I reached my destination. It was easy to miss, as most of the signs were in Chinese and the entrance itself was rather unassuming.

Immediately, an “unofficial” vendor attempted to offer me a better price for admission, if I went with her. She also offered Coca Cola, beer, and water. I brought my own supplies, so I bought my ticket and locked up my bike for the trek up hill.

The sign said that it was only 800 steps to the top; only 800. The path was pretty straightforward, although I did veer onto a looping trail that cost me about 10 minutes and 300 extra steps. The views were worth it.

Along the way, I was able to snap some good shots of the rock, since this is not possible when you are actually there. The scenery from the peak was, yet again, astonishing. I was surprised to see a group of rock climbers traversing the back face of the rock. To get there, you pass a sign that said in English and Chinese, “No passengers allowed past this point,” or something to that effect. It was oddly phrased, but to some, it was an invitation to go “past this point.” The rock climbers did and seemed to be having a great time.

I took my share of pictures and then headed back down the steep climb. Unfortunately, I forgot to charge my new camera battery, so I was only able to take pictures on the way up. Still got some good shots, though.

I left Moon Hill and began a long ride back through the winding roads and into Yangshuo proper. I reached the famous West Street, where most of the tourists go and where you can find relatively cheap souvenirs. I bought the equivalent of what would be a banana smoothie back in the States, and headed home after a couple of hours of walking.

At this point in my trip, I might be overdoing things a little. I’ve had a cold of some sort for the last two days, and I must have cycled close to 15 miles today in addition to walking. I’m tired, achy and just getting over a wicked fever. Also, there seems to be little fires everywhere you go. People are burning wood and trash in almost every location: in the streets, the yards, and the fields. Still, I’m only here for a week; going to make the most of the time. Maybe it’s time to buy a mask.

Moon Hill