Guangxi Province Reviews
Guangxi Aug 11, 2008
Eight years ago, I saw the pictures of Guilin. Since then, I could not take the "fairyland" sceneries of Guilin off my mind.
Last year, I made it a point to go to Guilin even just for three days. Initially, my friend and I planned to take a train from Guangzhou to Yangshuo then to Guilin. Too bad, the train schedule during that day was cancelled. We hurried off to Guangzhou Main Station and took an overnight sleeper bus ride. The fare was around RMB 120 which was a lot cheaper than our return flight from Guilin to Guangzhou.
It was my first time to experience sleeping in a bed of my size on a double-deck. The bed was slightly inclined but not adjustable..quite uncomfortable and hard to sleep. Each time the bus would have its break, I would be awakened. It was a feeling that I would fall off despite the seatbelt. Also, the smelly feet or shoes were hard to take. All passengers were asked to remove the shoes as we walked to the first-come-first-served vacant beds.
We had a thirty-minute stopover in a restaurant near Yangshuo. The rice noodles were so good. However, the foul smell of the squat-seat toilets, literally without water, with low walls just to cover one's body were difficult to take.
It was such a comfort seeing the low-rise buildings and houses along the road. I had a hunch that we were near our destination. As soon as the bus stopped at West Street around 6 a.m., a number of tour guides approached us. A persistent guide brought us to an inn which charges relatively low- RMB 40 room without airconditioning while RMB 70 room with airconditioning good for two persons. With the pleasing personality of the guide, I decided to avail of her services. To my surprise, she charged us RMB 10 for the whole day which was quite low.
During the day, West Street was so peaceful. I hardly saw anyone on the street. At night, the place was filled with so much life. Foreigners would flock there to unwind, take some coffee or beer, have a hearty meal, or shop for craftworks, paintings, handpainted shirts, and accessories. The Guilin rice noodles whether cooked in soup or stir-fried and beef curry were exceptionally good and cheap.
Before we started off with our tour, the guide brought us to a bicycle rental store. Bike rental would cost RMB 10 for the whole day whether one or two-seater.
It was fun cycling but too tiring...passing through the fields and hills under the rain drizzles. On the way to Banyan Lake, lots of flower wreaths were being sold to ladies.
Our bamboo rafting at the Yulong River lasted for two hours. The journey was such a wonderful experience; seeing the limestone mountains in different formations such as parrot, thumb's up. Some locals were in small boats selling seafoods, sweet potatoes, and drinks. Some rendered ethnic songs which would warm one's heart.
The great Banyan Tree near the Yulong River was stunning. There were red envelopes hanging-- people believed that these would bring good fortune or money.
The Butterfly Cave, with a big Monarch Butterfly hanging at the entrance was attractive. The place has its butterfly and botanic garden, clear spring, and a hanging bridge. A group of pretty ladies performed a butterfly dance.
On our second day, we took a bus ride to Guilin. Again, we were greeted by travel agents as soon as we got off. We took a very affordable day-tour package. We went inside the Elephant Trunk Hill and took the Li River Cruise.
With the awesome natural formation of mountains surrounded by rivers and lakes, it is no wonder why several poets and artists would choose Guilin and Yangshuo as their subject. These places in Guangxi Province do cast their magic spells.
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