Guilin area

From Guangzhou I got to the Guilin area by taking a sleeper bus. I actually had planned to got to the city of Guilin first and then take the famous boat trip from there downstream on Lijiang river to Yangshuo. However, when the bus stopped in Yangshuo first, the manager of a hotel somehow talked me into getting off the bus in Yangshuo. Well, I had booked the youth hostel there anyway, so it was all right – only that I missed the famous boat trip. The hotel manager was actually pretending to be the owner of one of the youth hostels in Yangshuo that was closed for renovation. He first showed me the closed hostel and then took me to his hotel. Although (after a little argument) he would only charge me 10 yuan for the night and the beds looked all right, I still preferred the youth hostel that I had booked and just walked out the door.

The youth hostel helped me to arrange my trips around Yangshuo; on the first day, I took a boat to Fuli (福利), a sleepy viallage a little downstream on the bank of Lijiang river, there I jumped on a bus passing to Xingping (兴坪) where I was “welcomed” by several touts that were trying to sell their trips on bamboo rafts. One member of the “welcome committee” even followed me after I had lunch in a little restaurant and waited outside for me. Only when I went into a nice cafe and had a chat with the owners, she would not longer follow me. At the cafe I was told that there is a hill from where I could overlook – and it’s free! The half hour hike up to the Friendship Pavilion (友好亭) on Laozhai Hill (老寨山)  was rewarded with a breathtaking view on the karst mountains in the area and the Lijiang river. After coming down again, I eventually had my boat ride on the river, so I still saw the best part of the Guilin-Yangshuo cruise.

At my second day at Yangshuo I rented a mountain bike and toured the area around Yulong river a little west from Yangshuo. There are a lot of small villages (some of them cannot been reached by car) nested in the steep hills that make the special character of the Guilin area. At the end I climbed Yueliangshan (月亮山, Moonlight mountain), but I think the view from the top was not as good as what I had seen in Xingping. There were no road signs and although I had a map of the area it was hard to find the right way, so I often stopped at the villages to ask for directions. The people there were generally very nice and gave their best to explain where to go, in one village three young children had a look at the map and would even take me to the next crossroad so that I would take right path.

Traveling alone in China is not a big problem, however it is not as interesting as traveling with another person. And it is more convenient when it comes to taxi rides or ordering food because one can order more dishes and share then. In Yangshuo at the night marked when I was looking at the menu (that contained snake and dried rat) and was thinking what to order, two Chinese approached me and asked me to order some dishes together.

In Guilin itself I was basically staying only one night – long enough to meet two Chinese that had the same travel destination as I had: the rice terrace fields at Longji (龙脊梯田), some 3 to 4 hours by bus north of Guilin. So the next day the three of us took the bus to Longsheng and there changed into a smaller bus to the terrace fields. Unfortunately it rained when we got there, so we first looked for a place to spend the night, then took a 2 to 3 hour walk in the beautiful fields and in the evening had a meal overlooking the green fields before getting back to Guilin on the next day.

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One Response to “Guilin area”

  1. Rainy days in Yunnan « Beijing 2007 Says:

    […] Beijing 2007 « Guilin area […]

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