After our fabulous time in Xi’an, we headed south once again to the famous Guilin.
There was an old Chinese saying “Guilin’s has the best landscape in the world!” and judging from my childhood memory, it was a beautiful place. I had high hope for this. Having experienced almost all types of transports in China, we’d decided to use domestic flight to save some valuable time. Domestic flights in China are relatively cheap, to foreigners, but they could be very difficult to book unless you know mandarin well. We pre-booked everything before we went to China but it could be a very daunting task because China internal flights could be a nightmare to book, so were train tickets. There were limited information and even when it’s available, the information could be inaccurate. I made several long distance call just to get the latest travel schedules.
So it was only a couple of hours flight from Xi’an to Guilin. We once again took taxis to our hotel. We didn’t manage to get an apartment there but the hotel was relatively ok but it’s definitely a two-star. After a night rest, we ventured out for a little as everything was within walkable distance. It was a shame that the weather was poor during our stay in Guilin though. We were greeted by heavy rain so all of us had to put our hoods on.
As soon as I got out to the main street from our hotel, I was a little shocked just how developed Guilin has become as a city. When I first visited back in the early 1980’s, it was a village. There was no highways and full of muddy paths and tiny wooden houses. Now, there were high rises, big buildings and proper roads with proper traffic jams! This wasn’t the Guilin I remembered. I couldn’t see the ‘beautiful landscape’ that always floating around in my brain. Everything was blocked and covered by these big concrete structures. I hated them and it was a disappointment.
I must admit, I prefer the old muddy village. As we were staying only for two days, we should make the most of it before our next destination.
We walked around a little and our first stop was the ‘Sun and Moon Towers’. It was still raining and cold so we went inside the towers. You could get a good view of the city from the top of the tower. We didn’t quite see far enough because of the rain and fog. Then we had a traditional tea break where we rested a little before the rain finally subsided. These two towers were connected via an underwater tunnel which was kind of cool.
Because of the weather, we were pretty much demotivated so after the towers, we looked for a place for lunch. As developed as Guilin was, it wasn’t difficult to find a place to eat. We sat down at a local restaurant where you could order set meals or dim sums. So I confess, weather always plays a big part when it comes to holiday. I don’t usually mind the rain, if I am in a rain forest or something, but as heavy as this in a city? Umm… I certainly don’t fancy it. So most of us didn’t even want to go anywhere but our two-day stay meant that we had to see what we came here to see – the Elephant Trunk Hill (Xianbi Mountain). The name might fool you a little. This elephant looking thing isn’t a mountain, it’s more like a large rock with a hole that resembled an elephant trunk. But this is by far the most famous landmark in Guilin, and my sole reason to come to this city. I had a childhood photo here with my brother and my mom so it was more of a mission that I wanted to take a photo from the same spot.
I did it. I felt like mission accomplished. The rain didn’t stop and my camera and lens were all soaking wet. Despite the weather seal, one of my button decided to give up so I couldn’t review my pictures from the back screen. Yet I continued to shoot.
In the evening, the rain stopped and we could finally enjoy a little night cruise around the man-made canal and more rocks and towers. They were all lit up at night in some colorful manner. A little over the top in my honest opinion but none the less, something that you would still say “Wow…”.
After our two-hour night cruise, we walked around the city where there was a night market. The entire street was closed off for pedestrians! We did enjoy that part!
All in all, Guilin wasn’t the place I remembered when I was a kid but it was a place still worth a quick stop. It’s not a big city so a couple of days should suffice, unless you started to track around. We did enjoy our breakfast noodle place though. Anyhow, I completed my mission to see the Elephant Trunk Hill and I was more than happy to leave Guiling and move on to our next destination. But before we did, we took another day trip to another interesting place. The Long Sheng Rice Field.
Stay tuned for my next installment about this cool place!
Oh… I did dry my camera and that stuck button came back to live after a full night of high heat blasting!
If you have missed my previous blogs of China travel, here’re the links:
Gallery (Snap shots)
Have a good day!