A Week in Langshi Village (pop. 300)

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First impressions…

  • You have to want to go there. We took a car from our hotel in Guilin to Yangdi harbor, then a ferry across the Li River, then an “electromobile” (like a golf card with 2 very small seats in the rear) to Langshi.
  • Like Guilin, it’s very green. Much of the surrounding area is covered in gardens and orchards.
  • I already knew the house was from the Qing Dynasty, so I wasn’t surprised by how old it is. It’s very old.

Size…
You can walk from one end of the village to the other in under 10 minutes. There are other villages in the area that appear to be about the same size.

Language barrier…
The caretaker of our house, Haibo, speaks English. Some of the residents greeted us with “hello” but that’s the extent of their English as far as we could tell.

Off the beaten path…
To get there, we had to take a car from Guilin to Yangdi harbor, then a ferry across the Li River, then an “electromobile” (about the size of a golf cart) from the ferry dock to the village. We were the only ones on the ferry. During our week there, I saw one truck but it wasn’t from the village. I think it was delivering construction materials and got there on a new, very narrow paved road that winds through the mountains. The only thing that looks like a road on Google Maps is just a path for the electromobile (and pedestrians).

Tourists…
We saw 3, who spent 2 nights in an adjoining house. Otherwise, the only tourists were those going down the river on the big tour boats. They don’t stop anywhere near Langshi.

LaoJia…

We found this house on AirBnB. LaoJia (老家) is intended to be a peaceful place where people can interact with the villagers. This was one of the best parts of our 7-week trip and we hope to return. Some notes:

  • The building is 150 years old. Don’t expect a modern hotel. It is clean and comfortable. One of the villagers comes in each day (sometimes twice) to clean.
  • The bedrooms have small air conditioners. We were very comfortable. The beds also have mosquito netting.
  • You are responsible for your own breakfast (oatmeal and fruit are provided). A villager comes in to cook lunch and dinner each day. The meals are vegetarian. We are not vegetarians but we enjoyed every meal. Most of the food comes directly from the gardens around the village.
  • There are no stores except for a very small market. It is only open for an hour twice per day – around noon and around dinner time – and has a limited inventory (water, beer, snacks…). Mao, the owner, is a very pleasant person, always smiling. I enjoyed my daily visits.
  • There are 2 houses connected by a common courtyard. Each house has 2 bedrooms and a shared bath. We prefer not to share a bath, so we booked both bedrooms in one of the houses. Maarten, one of the founders of LaoJia, was very helpful.

Getting out…
There was heavy rain the night before we were to leave. The river was up and the local government had closed it. We were prepared to stay but Haibo made several calls and got permission for us to take a small boat across.

River was up – we had to help

This is where the boat dropped us off when we left Langshi

Beaten path index: 4.9 (See the key here)

  • Cameras: 5 (just mine, with a villager standing behind me to make sure I was getting the right picture)
  • Language: 4.5
  • Path: 5 +
  • Tourists: 5

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Posted: July 10, 2017

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Category: 2017, Asia, China, FBPosted, Map, Round-the-World 2017, Southeast Asia

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