One of the more interesting things we’ve seen since arriving in China is the swarms of electric scooters buzzing about on the roads. I’ve been wanting to try one out for a while now, but Josh has been a bit nervous about driving in the insane traffic (the only rule seems to be “don’t hit anyone else”). Our hostel in Yangshuo rents electric scooters for ¥50 (~$8) per day, so on one particularly warm morning I finally convinced Josh drive me around to see the sights.
Our destination was a stretch of road known as the Ten Mile Gallery. I have no idea why it’s called that, but it seems to be a generic name for these sort of scenic drives. This one was nowhere near ten miles long, but it was certainly scenic, with ornate Chinese-style gates at each entrance and beautiful scenery throughout. There are also many little places where you can pull over and explore a bit. I sat on the back and took pictures while Josh piloted us around.
There’s limited access for cars and trucks on this road, so we had very little traffic to contend with once we got through the gate. Electric scooters are considered bicycles here, so we simply rode through the gate without stopping. We scooted down the road next to tandem bikes, walkers, and other scooters. The ride was easy and the view was out of this world. We stopped at only one of the side excursions on this trip (there will be more), a nice hike up to Moon Hill.
We paid our fare of ¥14 ($2) each to get in, then parked our little scooter inside the gate. We were immediately accosted by women trying to sell us overpriced drinks, but they were very friendly and did eventually let us go our own way.
The hike was broken up into three marked trails: Moon Palace, Moon Pagoda, and the strangely named Dresser. We started up the Pagoda trail and was shouted at by our new soda-hawking friends at the bottom to take the Palace trail instead. As per usual in China, the trail was less of a dirt path and more of an ongoing set of stone stairs, swept clean of any leaves or debris.
Halfway up, we decided to veer off and take the Dresser trail. At least, we think that’s the trail we took; there were two signs at the fork, one saying “Dresser”, and one saying “Vanity”. Regardless of the name, it looked like a fairly easy climb (fewer stairs), and headed toward a nearby rise that looked like it would give a view of the Moon Hill arch. It was a short climb, and at the top, we were indeed treated to a nice view of the arch.
After our short detour, we turned around and continued up the Palace trail. The stairs became narrow and uneven as we neared the top, and the angle was quite steep, turning our comfortable walk into a strenuous climb. But, right when I thought I wasn’t going to make it, we arrived. We turned a corner and, BAM, we were under the arch.
It was much larger than I expected. There were stalactites hanging from the top, dripping onto our heads, and looking ready to tumble at any moment. The arch itself was quite lovely, but the view of the surrounding valley and neighboring mountains was even better.
Aided by gravity, the climb down was much easier than the climb up. We bartered for a coke at the bottom, bringing the ladies down to ¥5 from their requested ¥10 (our hostel sells them for ¥3, but we were pretty thirsty). We bundled ourselves up, enjoyed our delicious soda, and headed back to town. We got there just in time, too, because it started to rain just before we arrived.
I had so much fun riding on the back of the scooter, feeling free and adventurous. The Ten Mile Gallery has a lot of other fun side trips and scenery to offer, and I can’t wait until the sun comes back out so we can go on another scooting adventure!