School trip to Hainan

I apologize about the fact that this blog is not seeing as many weekly updates as it used to. It's partly because there are less "new" things to blog about, a natural decline since in the start everything is new and interesting. However, it's partly because I've had less time to post things. Some news though, next week I'll be going to Hainan Island on a school trip. As a homeroom teacher for year 8, I'll be going with them. I don't teach year 8 as I teach older kids but it will still be fun to see the kids in a non-school environment. I don't know a lot about the trip other than there will be a lot of outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, swimming and surfing. On some pictures I got from the web, Hainan looks pretty sweet to me:

I'll make a post on Sunday before I leave, letting you know how the Halloween party was.

By the pool!

Today (Sunday) I have spent most of my time here:

Yepp, that's right, I've been tanning and swimming in our lovely pool! The weather now is brilliant, clear skies for the most part, about 24 degrees and some cool breezes. Every Sunday should be like this! Yesterday I did my usual weekend cleaning and laundry routine and then went to the city centre for some Halloween cotume shopping with a couple of colleagues. I settled for a traditional vampire cape and make-up kit, similar to this:

Next Saturday there will be a big Halloween party at China hotel, looking forward to it!

Shapawan beach

I’ve joined a group of colleagues who occasionally go out on weekend trips to places in the “nearby” area, the group is called the Utahloy Wanderers. The trip to Licha Cun and Xiangang Cun was arranged by this group. Last weekend the destination was Shapawan, a beach town some 4 ½ hours away according to Google maps, well I was skeptical following the horrendous amount of hours we spent on the bus during the last trip. In the end it took us 6 hours on the road getting there including stops.


We went straight from school on Friday the 15th around 5pm and arrived at our hotel at 11pm. The hotel was ok, nothing fancy but clean and ok bed. Our hotel was just a couple of hundred meters from the beach itself and the beach was very nice, better than I expected it to be.



The weather was good for walking but not for tanning, it was about 25 degrees but the sun hid behind some clouds, as you can see in the photos. I enjoyed just walking along the beach, seems like a long time ago I was close to the ocean. I think most Swedes are a bit spoiled in this manner, seeing as a lot of Swedish cities are located on the coast and that Sweden has long coastline compared to its size!



After walking on the beach and doing some reading in the sand I decided to walk up a hill nearby to get some nice views of the area. Well up the first hill I saw other hills I wanted walk up, but there was no paths or trails.. But I didn’t let that stop me!


The view from the hill.


Would've been nice with a trail here..


View from another hill, not the same beach though.


After walking in the hills I went back down into town, and had a walk there. It was nice seeing the fishing boats being repaired and prepared. Saturday evening we spent at a barbeque place enjoying grilled lamb and cold beers.



The Sunday I spent on the beach, getting a bit of a tan since the sun was out. It felt a lot like a good day during a Swedish summer, hot when the sun is out and temperate when behind clouds. The last few days I’ve really been enjoying the weather in Guangzhou, it’s 25 degrees, clear skies for the most part and with a bit of wind to cool you off. A bit of strange for me hearing about snowy weather moving down towards Småland right now.



As I mentioned in my previous post I went to Yangshou after two days of relaxing at home during our one week holiday. Yangshou is known to be very touristy but the scenery surrounding the city is the reason to go there. On the 20 RMB notes the landscape of Yangshou is depicted with the Li river flowing gently through the green limestone peaks.


The new 20 RMB note.

Just outside Yangshou.

I took a 50 minutes flight to Guilin from Guangzhou, and then a 1 ½ hour bus to Yangshou from Guilin. I took me some time and wandering around to find my hostel which was located outside of Yangshou, a twenty minutes walk by the river.


The colourful hostel.


The city itself is not very pretty or charismatic, it’s busy with loads of traffic and tourists, I was therefore glad that my hostel was outside the city. The city has a nice tourist street called West Street and that’s where one will find all the restaurants and the souvenir shops, on West street it was easy to find a good place to sit down and enjoy a fried rice dinner. Outside that small street the city itself wasn’t worth any exploring.


Yangshou, outside West Street.


A part of West Street


I quickly rented a bike and cycled to “Moon Hill”, a limestone peak with a hole in the middle which was located some 9 km from Yangshou.

Moon Hill in the distance


View from Monn Hill


After Moon Hill it was pretty late so I headed back for town and walked along West Street, then went up a hill and took some photos, I was invited for some tea by the Chinese couple who lived on top of the hill. We drank tea and chatted for a while but my limited knowledge of Mandarin coupled with their limited English made any lengthy conversation hard. Next day I asked the guy running the Hostel about a tip for cycling and he gave me a map and pointed out a route along the Yu Long river which would take about six hours to get around. Off I went and it was tough in the beginning as it was a lot of uphill cycling. It was good to get out on the countryside to see some more authentic than the touristic water caves everyone was trying to sell tickets to.




Rice fields


Some kind of vechicle.


In the afternoon I came across a couple of girls who I asked if they knew where the path following the Yu Long river was, they didn’t but it turned out they were Swedish! I haven’t met any Swedes in Guangzhou and only heard someone speak Swedish in Hong Kong but it seems China is attracting more and more tourists from “the west”.


Maria, after crossing a "bridge".


Me and the girls, Linnea and Maria, finally found the path and cycled together and they told me about their backpacking trip through Asia. We parted when we finally reached Yangshou, I was exhausted after about seven hours on the bike so it was nice to relax and enjoy some reading in the hammock.

Me, on a photo not taken by myself!


On the third and last day I checked out and walked along the Li river for a while before taking the bus to Guilin where I explored a beautiful park. I then went to the airport and went home to Guangzhou. All in all, I enjoyed Yangshou for its amazing scenery but was disappointed by the city, probably because a lot of my colleagues had hyped the place quite a bit.


A bridge made mostly of glass in the background.


Hong Kong!

We are enjoying a week off from school this week as it’s a Chinese national holiday, which starts off with celebrating the national day. Now that is something which I think would be a good move in Sweden as well, a week of starting from the national day! I started my holiday with a trip to Hong Kong, travelling there from Guangzhou takes about 3 hours, depending on the amount of people who are going through border control. I stayed in a tiny Hostel in famous Chungking Mansions, a large apartment building that hosts loads of hostels.  The location is great, close to the river on Kowloon. Hong Kong can be said to be split into two major parts, Hong Kong island, where the business district is and most of the towering skyscrapers and the other part being Kowloon, the tip of the mainland, where most tourists stay as it’s cheaper. It takes about 6 minutes on the well known Star ferries to go from Kowloon to Hong Kong island.

I arrived at lunchtime on the Saturday, found the hostel, dumped a few things and went out to explore the town. There is something very magic about being in a major metropolis on your own or with one other person, a different feeling of freedom.

Yes, it was very bright, I’m not experiencing pain, that’s how I look when squinting.

I did a lot of walking around Hong Kong, both in Kowloon and on Hong Kong island on my first day. What I really like about HK is that it is “walkable”, compared to Guangzhou which is simply too big so that walking becomes difficult, plus the fact that there’s almost no distinct downtown in Guangzhou, there are several different centres. HK is walkable because the city centre is small but there are seven million people living in HK, resulting in one of the world's highest population density. Hong Kong has a totally different feel to it than any other Chinese city I’ve been to so far, it feels like the world metropolis it is and even if Guangzhou, Shenzhen or Foshan are bigger and have larger populations there is something that sets HK apart from them.

Apartment prices are not to be trifled with in Hong Kong!

As I mentioned, I did some serious walking while being in HK, I walked everywhere, I only took the metro once. I even walked up Victoria’s Peak which provides a stunning view of the city below. Especially at night:

Next day, Sunday, I decided to get out of the city to go see the 22 meter Buddha statue on the island of Lantau. The statue itself was impressive but I didn’t get that wow-feeling about it, probably because of all the tourists, me being one of them.

To get away from the crowds I walked out on a small path, named “the path of wisdom” which should’ve taken 15 minutes but it led me to the path up Lantau Peak (934m), and I thought I would just walk up a bit to get a better view but ended up climbing the peak itself. Small paths are dangerous, you never know where they are going to take you.

Inspecting Lantau Peak to the left.

Well, whence you’re up you realise you’ve got to get down somehow. My calf muscles still ache..

I spend Sunday evening going around Wan Chai:

Last day I went to the Aviary in Hong Kong park and also walked by the cemetery which is as crowded as the city itself. Notable is the fact that the Muslim and catholic cemeteries neighbour each other closely.


On the Monday I went back home to Guangzhou again, tired after the endless amount of walking but very satisfied with my visit! On Thursday I fly out to Yangshou, a spot which is suppose to have some incredible scenery. I will make a post when I get back. Take care all!

RSS 2.0