After a freezing night in Lijiang (with no heating and a draughty room), we decided to leave as soon as possible. This fixed our schedule for the rest of our time in China so we booked hotels and buses for the following day. We then spent the rest of the day looking round Lijiang. First Mr Mu's house and garden (he was a tribal chief but the house had been restored following an earthquake). The house was OK and the gardens pleasant enough - the outstanding things were the views over the city and mountains. The rest of the day we looked through the old town - all a bit over restored and clinical with shopping for the Chinese tourists. The evening was Fran's birthday meal (no chance to do this earlier as we were up at the gorge) so we went to a Chinese/Italian which was quite good - the only problem being was they left the windows open and the place was freezing - the locals were eating dinner in the restaurant with their anoraks on!Next day we started the trek south. First it was a bus to Kunming. We had opted for the bus vs. bus & train to see a bit more. The ride down was through mountains, past Dali and then through more mountains - very scenic. The bus was supposed to be a luxury express but it wasn't that quick. We did get a free lunch which even surprised the Chinese lady we met. The journey took a turn for the worst when we had to change a wheel on the bus at our second stop. We eventually got to the hotel in Kunming at 9:00pm - about 11 hours on the road. The hotel we were in in Kunming was supposed to be able to book our onward bus tickets to Yuanyang, our final stop in China before Vietnam. (No trains on this section as the line has been washed away and the Chinese have decided to build a new one rather than repair it). We tried to do this first thing but there was great confusion as to the time of the bus - I had previously been told 10:40 but the hotel girl, after phoning the bus station, said it was now 9:40 or may even be 9:00. We rushed down breakfast and hopped in a taxi to the bus station. We got there just before 9:00 only to find that I was right - the bus went at 10:40.We bought some provisions and claimed our seats on the bus and waited. We then had a heated discussion with an official who insisted that we pay more for our luggage in the hold. A long argument ensued and we were threatened to be thrown off the bus - eventually we paid him a small amount but decided after talking to a couple of people that this was a scam.The bus ride itself was tedious for the first part then went through a series of descent and climbs some of which were quite good. We were uncertain if the bus would take us where we wanted as it was going to Yuanyang - as this is an area not a specific town. After 6 hours, we arrived at a big muddy brown river (this river latter becomes the Red river and goes to Hanoi) and an associated town. Lots of people got off but we found out the bus was going on so hopefully we were OK. The bus then proceeded to climb into the mountains along a narrow road for the next hour. It gave fantastic views over the river and the rice fields but there were a couple of nervous moments when it met lorries on the road. The town we arrived at was right at the top of the mountain and is very rural in nature. We checked in to the hotel and went to explore. We could only find one restaurant and it had an English couple in it. They said the food was OK so we sat down to share a table with them, soon to be joined by a Irish guy and a Japanese girl we met on the bus - this proved useful as the local tour office guy came round and gave us all the information about what to see and how to get there. He knew the restaurant owner so we got free glasses of the local corn spirit - an acquired taste but it does keep the cold out. It was a good evening. On our last full day in China we were exploring the surrounding area and were in one of the most rural spots we had been in. I got up early to see the sunrise over the terraces - not that spectacular from our hotel - Fran wisely stayed in bed. We wanted to take a local minibus out to see some of the viewing points over the rice terraces but none were going there. Meanwhile we bumped into the people we had met the previous evening and decided to do a group deal to go to a town with good views and the local market. We thought this was a short trip but it turned out to be an hour, most of which was over some very rough unmade road. The views made up for it - it seemed like there were endless views down the mountain over rice terraces with the occasional little village thrown in.When we arrived at the town, it turned out to be a very large market and a very local affair. The locals were all walking in or arriving on the back of small lorries. The first section we saw was for cattle and water buffalo with the next for pigs - small black ones that were squealing like crazy - I think they knew their fate! The main market was vast with most of the locals in the various tribal costumes. This was not done for the tourists - this was how they normally dressed - even stalls selling the various costumes. There were lots of other things for sale but the best one was the snake oil salesman - who was jabbering away extolling the virtues of his product getting everybody to rub it on their leg. His stall consisted of bits of ginger, dead snakes and several different potions.We made our way back to base and then saw the local tour guy to get advice on where to buy our bus ticket for the next day, also what else to see. We followed his advice and went for a walk in the afternoon out of the town - this took us uphill past lots of wonderful views over more rice terraces, through Paddy fields and a couple of local villages. These were complete with pigs and chickens running around as well as the small children who decided to follow us. We made our way back trying to get some good views over the terraces with the sun setting. A really good way to end our stay in China.