Saturday, September 17, 2011

Yangshuo Countryside Tour

A visit to Yangshuo would not be complete without the countryside tour.  The tour includes visiting the Yulong Village and Yulong Bridge. Also while strolling along the crystal clear river with a bamboo boat, the guests were brought to watch the Cormorant Fishing show. The scenery and landscapes are so beautiful as if seen on the painting. I'll let the pictures speak by itself. 


Friday, September 16, 2011

Li River Cruise To Xingping

 The Li River cruise is another wonderful experience for me in China. The amazing picturesque scenery makes it more interesting for a solo traveler like me. I never get bore even alone as I was too busy 'clicking' my camera. Obviously I wasn't the only one enjoying the cruise. It seems like everyone was having fun too. I strongly recommend this Bamboo cruise to anyone traveling to Guilin.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Li River Cruise

Cruising Li River is a must if you visit Guilin. You can either take the Deluxe Boat or the Bamboo Boat. The Deluxe Boat package includes the bus which  picks the tourist at about 8 am from the hotel. It takes 45 minutes by bus to reach the Zhujiang Pier. The boat will leave the pier at 9.30 am. It takes 4 hours on the boat and arrives Yangshuo  at around 1.30 pm. You will have a few hours to tour Yangshuo, depending on the water level during the cruise. At 6 pm, the bus will drives the tourist back to Guilin. This package cost RMB 480 per adult and RMB 300 for children which includes bus, boat ticket, Chinese lunch and an English speaking guide.
 During my trip, I choose the cruise by bamboo boat which is more interesting and cheaper. Our bus came to pick us up at our hostel at 10 am sharp. The group from our hostel comprises the largest group with almost all westerners except me. Then we also have a family of three Chinese from other hotel. As such our tour guide have to use English explanation followed by Chinese explanation.. After about an hour journey by bus, we arrived at Yangdi Pier. The motor bamboo boat was actually a boat made of PVC pipe.
The bamboo boat cruise along the Li River took about 2 hours from Yangdi to Xingping.  It was beautiful scenery all the way with karst hills, caves and scenic spots. The water was crystal clear too. At Xingping, the bus took us to Yangshuo, dropping us at the famous West Street. I pay RMB200 for all. And the service by the tour guide was excellent !

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Trekking Up To Longsheng Rice Terrace

The Longsheng Rice Terraces 龙胜梯田 are located in Longsheng County, about 100 km or 2 hours drive from Guilin, Guangxi, China. And it takes about 45 minutes to trek up the Longji (Dragon's Backbone) Terraced Rice Fields.The terraced fields are built along the slope winding from the riverside up to the mountain top. The terraced fields were mostly built during the Ming Dynasty, about 500 years ago.

Longji (Dragon's Backbone) Terraced Rice Fields received their name because the rice terraces resemble a dragon's scales, while the summit of the mountain range looks like the backbone of the dragon. Visitors standing on the top of the mountain can see the dragon's backbone twisting off into the distance. In an early morning, when the weather is fine, the sunrise on the summit of Longji Rice Terraces is magnificent. They are often considered most beautiful in early June. At this time, water is pumped over the rice paddies and young plants are transferred to the main terrace.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Longsheng Tour To See Da'zhai Village And Longji Terraced Field

Our six seater van came to pick us up at the hostel at 8 am sharp. It was arranged by our Hostel. The charges is RMB120 per person for the transportation and RMB 80 for the entrance fee. It takes about 2 and half hours from our hostel to the base of the Longji Terraced Field. From there, we have to walk up to the three peaks on our own.

Since there weren't much tourist to this place, I followed the Chinese group of 17 from Kwantung. They choose the signage to Xinzhai Village as they are putting a night there. This is the toughest trek among all. I didn't realize I follow the wrong route until half the journey when I asked around. It was tough as the climb was very steep all the way up.

After half an hour, I slow down and let those group to go ahead leaving me behind on my own sweet time. I took the opportunity to relax and enjoy the scenery and photography. When I was inform by a local guy who was walking up the same peak as I am, that I wasn't even half the journey, I make up my mind to make a U-turn. I came unprepared and it was too tiring for me. It was a shame of me.

With so much extra time, I took the opportunity to visit the house of the hill tribes and had a chat with them in order to understand their daily chores and cultures. I also take the opportunity to practice my Mandarin with the local tribes along the way. Those local sellers were friendly indeed.

We were supposed to meet up at 4 pm as arranged earlier with the driver for the return trip but I end up waiting at the based at about 1 pm. So I slept until the rest of the group arrived. Perhaps I will try visiting this place again on my next trip to Guilin !!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Guilin 桂林

Guilin  桂林 which is in the northeast of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of far Southern China sit on the west bank of the Li River. Its got it's name which means "forest of Osmanthus flowers", owing to the large number of  Sweet fragrant Osmanthus trees located in the city during the ancient time. The city has been renowned for its unique scenery.

Guilin has enjoyed the reputation of having the most fantastic natural landscapes not only in China but also abroad. Its dreamy natural scenery and unique ancient architecture from the Qin and Ming Dynasties astound visitors from home and abroad. Visiting Guilin and discovering its natural wonders, such as its magical green pinnacles, crystal-clear water, picturesque rocks and intriguing caves, can provide a never-ending journey for every visitor. Now is the prime time to travel to Guilin and experience this charming and historic city in all its splendor.

Guilin is not only a perfect place for living, but also an extraordinary, eco- friendly tour destination.

With a total population of 4,951,100 in the city and surrounding areas, Guilin is currently home to 12 ethnic nationalities. 8.5% of the population is made up of 11 minority nationalities including Zhuang, Hui, Yao and Dong etc..

Guilin covers an area of 27,809 square km and has 5 districts (Diecai, Qixing, Xiufeng, Xiangshan, Yanshan) and 12 counties (Yangshuo, Lingui, Lingchuan, Xing’an, Quanzhou, Ziyuan, Longsheng, Yongfu, Lipu, Gongcheng, Pingle and Guanyang).

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Guilin Backstreet Youth Hostel

Take the shuttle bus from the airport to the second (last) bus stop. Than, walk along the Li River or take a taxi which cost 9 yuan instead. The hostel is easily recognize as it is opposite Sheraton Hotel and within the Pedestrian Street. In fact Backstreet Youth Hostel is in the city by itself where every tourist spot is within walking distance including eating, shopping and bars. Local and western food are easily accessible. As for me, I prefer to look for fast food chain such as Pizza Hut, KFC or McD before I adjust to Chinese food and they are all available within walking distance from my hostel.
For those who are interested, here's the contact:

Guilin Backstreet Youth Hostel 
Guilin Backstreet Youth Hostel,
3, Renmin Lu.
Tel: 0773-2819936 / 2827116

Most of the travelers especially westerners who share common interest stay at this Hostel. The staffs speak fluent English and are helpful. You can get all the information you need from the staffs here or from other travelers. They have single rooms, double rooms and even dorm beds. I pay RMB120 for a single room.
The famous Elephant Hill and Shanhu Lake are within walking distance. But what I enjoy most is walking along the Li River as most of the local activities are along the river bank. The Chinese like to exercises, relax and chatting along the river especially during the evening. The elderly meet up for a chat, play cards, practicing Kung Fu, Tai Chi or even playing some musical instruments. There are also plenty spots for a swim and fishing. I stayed at this hostel for the first two nights before proceeding to Yangshuo.

Guilin, Longsheng and Yangshuo

After 'google' for Guilin, I found that other places of interest nearby Guilin includes Longshan and Yangshuo. Then I came out with my own itinerary. I wanted something more relaxing and ample time to enjoy myself at this far and foreign land. A place that gives me more time to interact with the locals and to practice my illiterate Mandarin language. And here's the plan:

Day 1. Left KB by night plane. Hang around at LCCT airport for the next morning flight.
Day 2. Flight to Guilin in the Morning. Free and Easy in Guilin.
Day 3. To Longshan to visit the hill tribes village at Da'zhai.
Day 4. Bamboo raft along Lijiang River / Li River to Yangshuo.
Day 5. Yangshuo
Day 6. Yangshuo
Day 7. Yangshuo to Guilin
Day 8. Guilin
Day 9. Guilin - LCCT - KB.

And things that I must do in Guilin / Yangshuo is to watch 'The Impression of Liu San Jie" and the "Cormorant Fishing Show". I knew 8 days there is not enough. I have to move fast. And the most logical way is to take up a local tour package while I'm there. The first thing I need to do is to book a hostel room. Any other plans will be decide later once I establish my contact with the hostel staffs there. My accommodation in Guilin will be at Backstreet Youth Hostel which is opposite Sheraton Hotel, within city center and close by to Li River and the Pedestrian Walking Street. The queen bed room is RMB120 /night with bathroom attached.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Guilin 桂林 - A solo Tour

When I first booked the flight ticket to Guilin, I have no idea how the place look like or what to do there. All I know is Guilin looks picturesque from photos in the Internet with lots of Karst formation, rivers with  bamboo rafts scenery. The scenery must be so beautiful that it even appears on the 20yuan note
As usual I always plan my work leave and book only cheap fares. And I always wanted to explore more of China since it has so much to offer, especially the natural landscape and it's culture. I immediately booked the Guilin tickets six months in advance when Air Asia had the cheap fare promotion for a 8 days trip. Details as below:

14th August 2011 - Flight AK5295 KBR-KUL 10.35 PM depart. 11.30 PM arrive   Fare: 53.00MYR
15th August 2011 - Flight AK102 KUL-KWL 6.25 AM depart. 10.25 PM arrive. Fare: 234.50MYR
22th August 2011 - Flight AK103 KWL-KUL 11.10 AM depart. 3.20 PM arrive. Fare: 234.50MYR
22th Augsut 2011 - Flight AK5294 KUL-KBR 9.15 PM depart. 10.10 PM arrive. Fare: 53.00MYR
Agency fee for China Visa: 100MYR
Total Cost:  675MYR

That was my initial cost for the trip. If you are concern and looking for low fares and cheaper hotels, you may always compare holiday prices over here.  Follow me on my next posting on what I did and where I stayed at this magnificent place called Guilin 桂林 !