I travelled to Southern China a few months ago & it was the biggest culture shock I have experienced.
People have nothing over there and are so much happier than we are. There was a constant change from breathtaking scenery to gritty/dirty sections. I started my journey trekking up a thousand year old rice terrace. Apart from the striking landscape my favourite part about the rice terraces were how friendly and grateful the people were. All the women worked so hard labouring, 60 year olds were carrying bags heavier than the donkeys. The strength and perseverance that the women had while making the long journey up the terraces was incredible.
Next stop Yangshuo mountain, bamboo rafting along the river seeing gigantic mountains was awesome, the laughter of the smoking Chinese men rafting the boat was addictive. Guilin city, although not as magical as Yangshuo had striking mountain scenery and amazing cooking schools & markets.
Whilst in Guilin I visited a traditional Chinese house. We are so lucky over here, even though the family had practically nothing, they still showered me with gifts. The people of Southern China are humble and are happy with basically nothing. I finished South China with a performance of the traditional way of life on the river hundreds of years ago – it was projected onto the actual mountains! China really has it all.