"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #3: Paulien & Karst - The Giggling Tree


  • Paulien Leisink & Karst Draaisma


  • China, Yangshuo

Which initiative?

  • The Giggling Tree


  • Guesthouse accomodation close to Yangshuo (20 min bicyle ride)

Something special?

  • Cluster of authentic farmhouses: Paulien and Karst transformed a cluster of old authentic farmhouses, surrounding a courtyard, into a guesthouse in the Chinese countryside. The houses have been built with adoben which keep the rooms relatively cool in the hot summers.
  • Cookingschool: An Australian cookingexpert has set up a great cookingstudio. After a visit to the local market  you will cook 5 dishes by yourself with great instructions from the Chinese staff.
  • Local charity: The Giggling Tree and guests support Chinese people on a local scale: a local primary school, an elderly home, Chinese individuals

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And last but not least...a little insight in 'Why'

Paulien and Karst travelled around the world for 2 years, working as volunteers in projects with orphans and handicapped children. They travelled from Eastern Europe to Afrika and Asia. China was the last big stop. From there they took the Trans Siberia Express, back to Holland. After 2 years, they wanted to travel again and started working as tourleaders, mostly in China.

Karst discovered a complex of old farmhouses while cycling around and saw the opportunity to start their own guesthouse, a longtime dream. It turned out that all the owners (27!!!) were willing to give the place out for rent. Negotiations could start. When all the owners were satisfied they pressed their thumb in red ink and the contract was signed.

The big metamorphosis could start: 80.000 rooftiles have been cleaned, removed, reput, walls have been broken down, rebuilt, rendered and painted, bathrooms were built, floors relayed, electricity has been put in and a watertank and a watersystem have been installed. These are just a few things that were necessary to turn this beautiful  authentic complex into a special guesthouse. Located on a splendid spot, about 5 km outside of Yangshuo in the middle of ricepaddies and Karstmountains.

Since 2012 they also opened a relaxgarden and since 2013 an outdoor swimmingpool is in use. In the Summer of 2013 Paulien and Karst made another dream come true by adopting their new son Raaf, from Ethiopia. Since September 2013 their oldest son Pelle is attending primary school in Guilin.

The Giggling Tree is managed by Dutch managers (other than Paulien and Karst) and their Chinese team. Periodically, new managers are welcomed at The Giggling Tree.

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