Guangxi and its landscapes

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Situated in southern China, Guangxi is an autonomous region facing Beibuwan Gulf in the south and bordering Vietnam on the southwest. More than 90% of China’s largest ethnic minority group, Zhuang population, lives in this region.

Known for its mountainous terrains, rivers, caves and stunning rice terraces, the region is a veritable dream come true for a nature photographer. I went in June 2020 and due to Covid travel was a little difficult. However, I was allowed to travel after I completed all my tests and necessary formalities.

You can get to Guangxi by taking flights to Guilin or Nanning. These are the main cities that serve both international as well as domestic flights.

This was my second time here and I was fortunate to have a local guide with me. A photographer himself, he understood the challenges and needs a nature and landscape photographer might face.

I first decided to visit Guilin – a prefecture-level city northeast of Guangxi. With beautiful scenery and karst topography, the city is one of the popular destinations of China for foreign tourists.

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One of the first pictures I took was of this Yangshuo fisherman set against the backdrop of the mountains.

Yangshuo is a county under the jurisdiction of Guangxi and is surrounded by karst peaks. Karst basically refers to a certain type of topography formed by the dissolution of soluble rocks.

Earlier in the day, I managed to capture some pictures of the same fisherman casting his net. He was pleased to showcase his skills and I got some good shots of him in action.

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  • Baihualing Birds Yunnan

Longji rice terraces were one of the most spectacular sights I had seen in my life. About 1000 m in height, they are a farm engineering marvel as well as picturesque.

Depending on the season you visit, you would be greeted with different sights. It was raining when I went there and so I got some very atmospheric pictures of the terraces filled with water.

Cloudy with the view slightly misted by rain, the scenery was beautiful and I understood why tourists flocked here every year.

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If you are a nature and travel photographer in China, you must visit Xianggong Mountain. Situated within the Xianggongshan Scenic Area, It is 28 kms from the Yangshuo center.

The mountain looks like a man wearing feudal China’s costume and an official hat. ‘Xianggong’ itself refers to a government official who lived in ancient China and hence the mountain is appropriately named.

There are numerous scenic view points for sunrise and I would recommend coming early to get the best view. The gate opens at 4:30 am but people stand in queue from as early as 3:30 am. I arrived a bit late, around 5 am, and had to set up my gear at platform 3 as both platform 1 and 2 were full. 

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Once the sun rose, the light became too harsh to get any good photos and I started packing up like everyone else up there. I was almost about to leave when my local guide asked me to come up to Platform 1. The platform was almost empty and I took my time setting up my tripod – the light really was too bright for a good photo.

However, suddenly the clouds shifted and I was greeted with this glorious vista. I guess patience really is a virtue when taking natural photography pictures.

Travelling in China is a bit difficult unless you know the local language. Even if you speak Mandarin or Cantonese you will still find it difficult to communicate. Most of the regions have their own local dialects showcasing the diversity of the country. Therefore, It is best to travel with either a local person or a guide.

Some of the locations are very far from their nearby towns and you can only access them through narrow roads. My recommendation is to prepare for your journey well in advance and start early to reach on time.

Towards the end of my trip, I came across this little village where only two families live who had water buffalo. While they had buffaloes with them, they use modern machines for farming.

I was told that the buffaloes were kept for visitors and photographers – the families would act as models and pose with the animals for a price. They earn most of their livelihood through this than farming itself.

With stunning vistas and fabulous landscapes, Guangxi must be included in your travel itinerary if you are exploring China. The locals are warm and friendly and adds to the charm of the region.

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I hope you enjoyed this mini travelogue. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via my Contact page.

If you like my work please leave a comment. Thank You. 

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