Exploring Guilin & Yangshuo
This 4 day/3 night trip is under US$720. In 2 full days I managed to cover Guilin and Yanshuo main sights. Unfornately it rained the whole day on the Li river cruise, tour of Yanshuo and Zhang Yimou’s liu Sangjie show on Li river with a cast of hundreds.
From airport to Guilin
Take a bus costing RMB 20 one way to Shanghai Rd from there take a taxi to your hotel. Bus fare in Guilin town is one RMB flat rate.
By the way you need an adaptor with 2 flat parallel pins for your charger.
Li River Cruise
The Li river cruise and a visit to Yangshuo are a must for every visitor because the scenery at Yangshuo is better than that at Guilin. The Li river cruise is on a big boat inclusive of a buffet lunch and costs RMB 480. The number of passengers can be as many as 70. The trip commences after a 30 minutes bus ride from Gulin to a Cruise Terminal where the depth of Li river is deeper. The entire cruise takes 4 hours.
Sightseeing starts from this point and terminates at Yangshuo pier where you get an hour to tour West Street and shop for souvenirs.
The sights of limestone hills jutting out of the plains along the river commences farther down the river. On this day a light drizzle prevailed throughout the entire day with occasional showers at Yangshuo.
As a result the day was grey and the hills appeared to be covered by clouds. While it was not good for photographery, it did create a sense of mystery that allowed imagination to run wild trying to figure out if the shape of the hills represnting symbols of a child worshipping a deity or shape of nine horses.
In lieu of a big boat cruise is a bamboo raft with 4 chairs. This raft does a short round trip along the river and you get to see the highlights. Costwise it is cheap and you do not end up in Yangshuo.
It is a small town with 2 main streets. Tourists visit West Street that is about 400 meters long with shops on both sides. The other road connects Yangshuo with the other towns in the province of Guangxi.
There are many small hotels, pubs and restaurants on or around West St. International chains KFC and McDonalds are established here. Apparently the speciality here is fish cooked in beer (RMB 60 to RMB 80). Prices of other dishes at local restaurants vary from RMB 40 to RMB 80.
Exploring Yangshuo Countryside
The afternoon tour to Wu Long Village is RMB 200 per person. After a village tour, a river tour on bamboo raft was followed by cormorant fishing. Cormorant is a bird that has its throat restricted with a string to prevent it from swallowing a fish but wide enough for oxygen.
Once released it dived into the river and popped out quicker with a fish in its throat. It swam towards the boat for the fish to be retrieved.before going for another catch.
Water in this river is very clear and weeds growing at the bottom by the shore are obvious.
The scenery at Yangshuo is positively better than those along the Li river.
Impression of Liu Sanjie (6th Sister)
This night show is outdoor on Li river and prices range from RMB 198 to RMB 600 per person. This is a must even if you do not understand the language. It was created by Zhang Yimou who also created the Beijing Olympic opening and closing shows.
Opening starts with lighting the hills as a backdrop. This immediately sets the tone for the night. It is also a cast of hundreds, singing, rowing boats, performing choreographed set pieces.
After the show a bus trip costing RMB 30 will send you back to Guilin that is one hour away.
Xiangbi Shan (Elephant Trunk Hill)
It is accessible from Mingzhu Rd.or Bingjiang Rd. Thick vegetation prevents a view from Bingjiang Rd side of Li river. Entrance fee is RMB 48 per adult. This rock formation is at the junction of Li and Yang rivers and appears like an elephant drinking water.
There is a wine storage for “three flowers wine” in a cave. Walk pass the entrance and you get the fragrance of the wine. This is sold in a building a short distance away. The wine is sweet and has a high alcohol content.
If you climb the hill, you get a good panorama view of Guilin town surrounded by limestone hills.
Riyue Shuang Ta (Twin Pagodas)
These pagodas are in Fir Lake between Bingjiang St. and Zhongshang Rd. They are 40 meters high and one is painted gold while the other is painted dull red and green. There is walkway around the lake amidst flowers and greenery. Thoughtfully there are many places for people to rest and enjoy its ambience.
Jingjiang Princes’ Palace and Solitary Beauty Peak (8 am to 5 pm)
Entrance fee is RMB 70 and a Guide is provided for each group. Guilin’s Ming rulers lived here from 1372 to 1650. The original palace was destroyed, instead a new building has replaced it. The tour in this building highlighted its original occupants with 14 portraits.
In the design of this palace the Solitary Beauty Peak (a small solitary hill) protected the building from bad feng shiu from the north. In a natural cave is a shrine for the Jingjiang Prince to pray. Enshrined are statues of Xuanwu Emperor and Guardians for the sixty
“Jiazi” years. Stone images of the 60 Guardians are worshipped by believers.
In Qing Dynasty Guilin was the provincial center for Imperial Examination in Southwest China. An Examination Hall Museum contained exhibits.
Ending the tour is an audience participation show. One can opt to be prisoners who have to sign a confession or go to the temple where royal subjects are proclaimed.
Reed Flute Cave (Ludi Yan)
This huge cave has stalagmites and stalactites that have different colour lights shining on the formations and a small underground pond. Entrance fee is RMB 90. This site is located outside of town and taxi fare is about RMB 20.
A group is formed and led by a Guide who will turn on the lights and provide an explanation for each section that she stops. Tour takes about 45 minutes. Photography is allowed.
If you want the taxi to wait for you, the waiting fee is RMB 30 for about one and half hour.
Zhengyang Pedestrian Street
This pedestrian street is between E. Jiefang Rd and Ronghu Rd. It is a short distance from Jingjiang Princes Palace and Fir Lake. Many branded shops are located here and Zhongshang Rd. Food stalls are located along a park under which is an underground shopping mall selling largely apparals. Restaurants are farther down the road towards Fir Lake.
From Guilin to airport
By taxi, the fare is RMB 100 and takes an hour.