Sunday, December 24, 2017

Travel Guide: Guilin and Yangshuo, China

Guilin and Yangshuo are often part of the backpacking trail after crossing into China from Vietnam. I liked both places and would recommend a stop to either one during your trip around the country.


Guilin 

Guilin is easy to get to from Guangzhou, there are plenty of bullet trains. The trip takes around three hours one way. The city has three stations, Guilin Station, and North and West Station.


Riyue Shuangta Park




Walking around the park and looking at the pagodas from a distance don't have an entrance fee, but riding a boat costs money.

Reed Flute Cave

This cave is a popular addition to an itinerary that includes Guilin. It got its moniker because of the reeds growing outside.




Once inside, you'll get to see various stalactites and stalagmites that take on different shapes. Lights in various colors flood the inside to give the cave a unique look. It's a little too developed for me, so for some, it might not be worth spending money on. I had nothing else to do, and I've read mixed reviews about the other attractions in the city, so I decided to go in anyway.



Entrance Fee: CNY 110

Take bus #3 or #213 and alight at Reed Flute Station.

Longji Rice Terraces

I was looking for another day trip from Guilin and found that the Hostel I stayed in offered day trips to Longji Rice Terraces, I paid the fee and waited until the next day for the trip.




I was disappointed with the parts of the terraces I saw, there are cable cars going up and down, restaurants, souvenir shops and hotels under construction left and right.



You have to frame your camera the right way to remove the cables, hands, people and other stuff that may block the view.


There are other parts worth exploring that our group can't explore because of the time constraint of a day trip. It's possible to do this on your own as there are buses that go to Longji from Guilin.

Die Cai Hill



Out of the many hills in Guilin I decided to go to Diecai; I was on cheap mode and wanted to get good value for money. Most of the attractions in town were often flooded with people and expensive. At only CNY 35, Diecai was worth going to.

Bus #2 or #203 pass by Diecai Hill.

Yangshuo

I was expecting Yangshuo to be a less developed town, but I was proven wrong. The concentration of tourists are bigger in a smaller area. However, this was limited to the city center.



Went up a hill near a TV tower, it was a great view, a mix of concrete jungle and stone formations as far as the eyes could see.






It was rainy when I visited, but the fog and misted were a welcome addition as it gave the mountains and rock formations a mystical appearance.



After a day in the city, I decided to go to Xingping, which was an hour away from town. It was still rainy but I didn't mind. The water of the river was so calm and serene, almost mirror-like. The mist-wrapped mountains cast their reflection on the placid glass-like waters. You can also see the landscape used on one of the Chinese bills in one area of Xingping.


Before leaving Yangshuo, our group decided to go to Yulong, another idyllic destination with beautiful landscapes



There are fewer developments here, which make it a popular destination for backpackers and nature lovers. There are many biking and motorbike lanes that go to other attractions and cut through the farmlands.

Yangshuo and Guilin have many more attractions that I wasn't able to do because of time constraints. I didn't even take the boat or raft ride on the Li and Yulong River (haha). I would return if I can to see more of this part of the country.

Breakdown of Expenses during My Stay

*Everything's in Chinese Yuan

137.5 - Guangzhou to Guilin bullet train
323 - Food and drinks
91 - Transportation
83 - 3 nights Wada Hostel
32.5 - 1 night Wada Hostel in Yangshuo
110 - Reed Flute Cave entrance fee
235 - Longji Rice Terraces tour
45.5 - Guilin to Liuzhou bullet train
164 - Hard sleeper train from Liujiang to Zhangjiajie
52 - Round trip bus to Yangshuo from Guilin
10 - TV Tower ticket
20 - Round trip bus from Yangshuo to Xingping
28 - Postcards
32 - Die Cai Hill entrance fee                                            
1363.5 - Total

Where to Stay

During my stay I booked dorm beds in WADA Hostel in both Guilin and Yangshuo. The location of the hostel in Guilin is quite far from the center but near the train station, a bus stop and some restaurants. The food in the hostel was good but expensive. The one in Yangshuo wasn't as nice, but has a more central location in town. I'd say WADA Hostel in Guilin was one of the best I've stayed in, in China, would definitely recommend it. It's a chill place, beds are soft and the staff can speak good English.

The hostel offers boat and raft rides on the Li River for around CNY 250+++ per person. They also have other tours to consider adding to your itinerary.

Best Time to Go and What to Wear

Guilin and Yangshuo have four seasons, but it rarely snows and if it does, it is normally just in the mountain tops. Spring is around March to April, summer is April to August, autumn is from September to October, and winter is from November to February.

Summer and autumn are the best times to visit this part of China. However, the summer months may bring lots of rain, bring a raincoat, umbrella, waterproof shoes and others you may need. For autumn, bring a jacket and some warm clothes; it's cold but not too cold. Wear light clothing and just layer up when needed.



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