From Guilin and Yangshuo

12 Asian Destinations for First-time Solo Backpackers

In 2012, I traveled solo for the first time in my life.

I still remember how scared I was before the trip. With only a small backpack, a Neil Gaiman book, a thousand dollars, and a will to get out of my comfort zone, I boarded the plane to Bangkok. As I was checking in, there were no butterflies in my belly, only a great fear that I might find myself unfit for the travel lifestyle and come running back home earlier than planned.

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5 Lesser-Known but Must-Visit Places in China

Where I’m from, when you say traveling to China, it means touring one of these five cities: Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Macau and Guangzhou. Outside the travel circles and blogging communities, only a few have heard of other Chinese destinations. Everything else can already be considered “off-the-beaten-path.” But if there’s one thing that my journey from Guilin to Zhangjiajie has taught me, it’s that this vast, vast country has a gazillion surprises tucked in its provinces.

We asked travel and food enthusiast Wai Zhou, co-founder of Eating Adventures Food Tours, for other marvelous places in China that every explorer must experience. She has traveled extensively throughout the country with a particular interest in Yunnan, Guangdong and Xinjiang provinces. Here are her recommendations, words and photos by her.

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Beguiling Guilin: Li River Bamboo Rafting to Yangshuo, China

I’d always imagined myself touring the Li River at sunrise. In my head was a picture of me, rafting through the mist that hugged the cliffs that rose from the banks while a cold, purplish blue light covered the scene. That picture, for the longest time, had been framed and nailed to the walls of my mind. If I would ever find myself in Guilin, that scene would have to happen. River. Cliffs. Dawn. Perfection. It had to happen.

But I am not a morning person. Absolutely not a morning person.

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