Guilin is a city of lakes, mountains and rice fields. This was one of our favourite spots we visited. The one thing we wish we had done was got a hostel that had proper air con. We had the WORST 2 nights sleep ever… but hey, lesson learned!
Our first night we explored the city. We went to Jingjiangs Princes’ palace which is a beautiful ground from the Ming dynasty era. There was a massive hill you could climb the stairs and get a great view of the surrounding town.
We then went on to see the reed flute caves. These are beautiful caves full of stalactites and stalagmites that they have lit up with beautiful lights. All tours are in Mandarin. So you won’t learn anything lol… but it looks really pretty!
The grounds of the caves were beautiful. You had quite a walk to get to them (as is everything in China) but it was a nice walk. From the main town you can get a taxi for very very cheap. After the reed caves we went to have a look at elephant trunk hill. This is a beautiful rock formation that looks like an elephant is taking a drink from the water. Its very famous and the area gets crowded. You have to pay to get past the barriers to the river bank to get a good picture – its not expensive of course.
Tip: We learned very quickly being in a non touristy part of China that you must carry your own toilet tissue with you at all times. Otherwise, well your screwed. Also always carry hand sanitiser as there is rarely soap… which is gross.
Now it was getting to dusk we took the bus from the bus station to go to the Li river landscape performance – Impression Liusanjie Show 19:30 – 20:40. This epic performance consists of hundreds of actors performing on the river with lights, music, water and fire. It is stunning. I cannot fathom how incredible it was – I actually nearly cried. The bus journey itself takes just over 1.5hrs. Coming back from that, if you miss the last bus (which is likely as there are so many people leaving it is quite hard to get to the bus station in time), just get a taxi. The taxi was not bad ~ £35GBP and it is a long distance.
Longsheng Longji Rice Terrace
To get here you go to Qintan bus station which is about a 10min taxi or local bus ride from either the Guilin train station or bus station. The busses leave at 9am and there is only 1 bus per day to Dazhai and Pingan so don’t miss it! Get there early incase it decides to leave early. It takes ~3 hrs to get there (£5.80 GBP). Coming back there are busses that leave Dazhai 6 times throughout the day at these times 09:00 – 10:30 – 12:00 – 13:30 – 15:00 – 17:00. Double check these before you go.
The rice terraces were a sight I will never forget. We went at the time where the little shoots were peeking through water, so we still got the glorious glass effect in our photos. The reflection of the clouds were in the water and it was beautiful. We walked all around the rice terraces (being careful and respectful… this is still someones business), and really took in the sites. There was such vast amount of rice planted… the hills looked swirly and magical; you must experience this!
I like rice. Rice is great if your hungry and want two thousand of something
After this wonderful experience it was time for one last sleep. In the evening we went and got burger king for dinner as we were so tired we couldn’t be bothered to try and workout mandarin to order in a restaurant etc. – We accidentally ordered 3 of everything we wanted LOL. I wondered why the woman was looking at us like that. Anyway, Aisha and I sat in our non air-conned room enjoying our 3 burgers, 3 chips, 3 sets of wings and 3 cokes.
Yes we ate it all.
The next day we had a whole day of travelling to Zhangjiajie. We had pre-booked a bullet train (to experience this) and then we had to get to the bus station for the 4hr ride to zhangjiajie and then a taxi to the hostel. Needless to say… it was a very stressful day.
- Firstly, the taxi driver took us to the wrong train station. We had 20 mins to get to the right one once we realised this and the distance between them was ~half an hour. We freaked out as if we missed this it would ruin our itinerary, and we had splashed out and booked business class seats! We can normally never afford business class (but China is cheap) and we were really looking forward to it! (60GBP). So, running out of the station, and catching the eye of a taxi driver and screaming Guilin west (of course he cannot understand), showed him the ticket. He told us the equivalent of 10GBP. (Which of course is a bump anyway because he saw we were really late)… I looked him dead in the eye took out the equivalent of £20GBP, and pointed to the ticket and my watch…. No matter what language you speak… EVERYONE understands the language of money. He THREW our luggage in the back and took off before we had even closed our doors. It was the funniest thing. He was weaving in and out of traffic like grand theft auto. We got there with 2 mins to spare and even managed to see the Bullet train pulling in which was cool. It looks so sci-fi.
- ~3.5hrs later we arrived at Changsha south we got the bus (348,63,66) to go to the bus station. Was supposed to take 30 mins. Basically we got confused… got off to early and got lost. I started crying because nobody speaks english and we were gonna miss the connecting bus lol.
- Tip: If you get lost in a City in China, go into an expensive hotel, there will always be someone who can help you.
- After speaking with somebody in the Changsha Shangri la, they sorted us a taxi to the bus station. We were only 5 minutes away lol *Rolls eyes*. Next time just take the metro or a taxi… will avoid you getting lost.
- A 4hr coach journey, and 1 hr taxi ride later we were in our hostel, checked in and in the room getting ready for dinner when Aisha realised we left one of her bags on the coach… WHYYYYYY. Unbelievably our amazing hostel host phoned the coach company, organised them to taxi it back to us the next day (as the coach had gone back to Changsha), as long as we pay for the taxi. Amazing. Still to this day we can’t believe we got it back!
Guilin… it was great. I would love to return. Lessons learned: Make sure you know EXACTLY where your going. This was the one and only mistake we made. Never again lol. Big Love, Louise x