Tuesday, August 19

Adventure Travel in Guilin China


I’d heard a lot about Guilin - about the mountains, the river, and the pretty girls and boys of the Chinese minorities in the area. What I didn’t realize was that most of the sights were outside of Guilin city itself, and some only reachable by roads in such poor condition that a mere 30 km drive could take an hour. Still, the beautiful scenery was well worth the trip.

Much of China is temples, urban life, and historical sights. I travelled to Guilin in hopes of something that was not manmade. The beautiful sceneries of Guangxi province came delivering.

More specifically, I came to Guilin looking for the Longji Rice Terraces that I’d seen in photographs. And this sight, the first on our trip, was what won our hearts. It’d rained during our hike up the terrace but the drizzle passed quickly, leaving a mystical aftermath of fog and cloud that danced around the terrace. The rice terrace is beautiful all year around and with different colors during harvest season and in snowfall. I hope I can go back there in the winter.

After spending the day in Longji, we went to Yangshuo. Yangshuo county was a different scene altogether from Longji. On the Li River, Yangshuo was a sight of the river twisting and turning, hilltops upon hilltops for miles in sight, and quiet fishing villages. We took a bamboo raft as well as a bigger boat cruise on the Li River.

Everything was more mystical and more beautiful than I’d imagined. For those thinking of visiting Guilin, I highly recommend spending 1 night in Longji so you can catch the sunrise over the rice fields and 1 night in Yangshuo to soak in all the Li River has to offer

Thursday, August 14

Getting to Know Tel Aviv with Photographer Sivan Askayo

I love following my friend Sivan's work online. A full-time travel photographer who is frequently on assignments in faraway places, Sivan Askayo photos breathes light and energy into her subjects. Sivan splits her time between her hometown of Tel Aviv and New York, and I have always found myself drawn to her images. And there is perhaps no better person to introduce Tel Aviv than Sivan.

From Sivan 

Tel Aviv is a stylish, contemporary Mediterranean metropolis, recognized for its chic and bustling cafes, an exciting culture scene, fashionable trendy boutiques, beautiful lively people and a world league roaring nightlife. But to be honest, the real seductive appeal of Tel Aviv is not necessarily in its cafes and restaurants, but in its people, who have a great appetite for the immediate pleasures of life.

You notice it in the ever-crowded cafes, buzzing with laughter and conversations, sometimes even loud arguments with the people sitting next by, mixed with the rattling sound of the espresso cups ready to be served. With the crowd that spills out of the theaters, the music halls, the night clubs. It is the constant feel of being self confident, even hedonistic sometimes, but mostly alive. It is not a coincidence that the city slogan is ‘Tel Aviv, the City that never sleeps’. Some might call it fast-paced, noisy, over crowded and even rude at times, but there is also a chilled out atmosphere and carefree lifestyle that give the city a nostalgic charm.

When you walk in one of the leafy boulevards of the city, all leading to the beach, you can’t avoid the nonchalant city bikers, or those who ride a small motorized scooter, carrying their kids on a seat at the back, taking them to school or to one of the many city’s playgrounds. You will notice a proud dog owner marching his dog to one of the dog-parks, waiting for an opportunity to strike up a conversation with another dog lover. Even the street cats are slow paced sometimes, most of them yawning and taking a nap on one of the wooden benches in the boulevard. You will pass through so many coffee kiosks, filled with local residents who work on their laptop with the ubiquitous free WiFi, or one of many freshly squeezed juice bars, offering endless fruit combinations and varieties that you lose count. If you allow yourself to immerse in the city’s vibe, smells and sounds, you will fall in love with it, and the city will easily love you back.


See more of Sivan's work 
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