Yep, I’m finally back from Guilin and Qingdao, after 9 days of great scenery and interesting experiences! (: You can view our exact travel itinerary, updated after our trip, here on Tripit.
On the overall, it has been quite a success – Tiantian and I stuck to most of our plans and lady luck definitely shone on us during certain parts of our travel. As it was a free & easy tour, we didn’t feel the rush as tour groups would. The only drawback is that I fell slightly ill after touring Guilin, of which my cough and flu is still persisting… :(
Without further ado, enjoy the following travelogue that I will be writing over the next few weeks~
After a transfer to domestic flight at Guangzhou (广州) International Airport, I arrived in Guilin (桂林) Airport at about 2.30pm, happy to see Tiantian waiting outside for me. :D A taxi driver offered us to fetch us to the city for a flat rate of RMB 40 (the taxi meter counted RMB 60 by the end of the ride), which we happily accepted, and arrived soon enough in the city to catch a private charter bus to Yangshuo (阳朔), a county where most attractions in Guilin are located.
What impressed me the most upon arriving in Yangshuo was how the iconic karst mountains surrounded the small town. You can spot a mountain looming in front of you at almost every corner, and in the night where the spotlights are on, the mountains look pretty majestic.
After a short walk, we managed to locate our inn, Riverview Hotel (望江楼) , which apparently has many western customers. Though not fantastic, our room was decent and clean, with a balcony that faced the Li River (漓江) partially. And only for RMB 150 per night!
To start off our hunt for famous local cuisines, we had dinner at Xiedajie (谢大姐) where we tried the famous Yangshuo Beer Fish (啤酒鱼) and Guilin Snails (田螺酿). The fish was indeed fresh, though I can’t really taste the beer flavour. The snails aren’t escargots, but definitely meaty and juicy, with a tinge of spiciness that the sauce brings. We left the restaurant bloated and contented, especially after a long day of flights and bus trips.
West Street (西街)
As the night sets in, we took a short walk around Yangshuo’s West Street (西街), dotted with pubs and western restaurants that are frequented by the Westerners. It gets extremely crowded in the night as we have seen, but a good place to experience the fusion of both Chinese and Western culture.
Impression Liu Sanjie (印象刘三姐)
Our last activity for the night was watching Impression Liu Sanjie (印象刘三姐), a musical performed outdoors on the river, directed by Zhang Yimou. With Li River and misty hills as its backdrop, a huge cast of 600 people in traditional costumes and great lighting effects, it was the most impressive performance I’ve ever seen.
The show is divided into 5 main chapters, each symbolising different aspects of the daily lives of the natives living near Li River. Besides, the show is filled with beautiful classical songs that some of us might be familiar with. The tickets are quite expensive (about RMB 200 for a good seat), but I dare say this is a must-watch if you are looking for an extraordinary theatre performance. (:
Our first and short day in Yangshuo ended here, as we returned to our inn to have a good rest before cruising down the Li River the next day!