Get yourselves to Guilin, then head out for at least the day and take a raft ride on the Li River. Skip the big boat option and get a driver to take you to the starting point at Yang Di. You can arrange for a 4 person "bamboo raft" --- they're really PVC pipe rafts with bumblebee motors. You'll understand this once you're there. The river is buzzing with all the small rafts going up and downriver! Carry water and snacks. Wear water shoes. You can slide off your raft and spend time in the water if you'd like. Arrange to be met in Ping Xing and have lunch there. There are basic toilet facilities and decent, simple food (cold beer, too!). Casual, an intro to more rural China, and more like what the Chinese do for their vacation. 2-3 hours on the buzzing raft should be enough. The scenery is gorgeous, even breathtaking ... but at some point you've seen enough karst and water and heard enough buzzing boats. You should also head to Yangshuo from Ping Xing. If you do, consider spending at least a night or two in Yangshuo. It's an outdoorsy person's delight. Hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking, rock climbing. Lots of restaurants and shops in town. It's a busy tourist town, lively and fun.
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