Monday, 22 September 2014

8-Days Travel Itinerary in Guangxi, China. Scenic Yangshuo (Part 1)

To begin with, we really did not plan for this trip because initially we wanted to travel to Luang Prabang but due to unrecommended weather condition in Laos for the month of Aug & Sept, we decided to put on hold the trip. And then, we found a good deal of AirAsia promo fares for flights to Guilin, China for RM119, and so we chose Guilin.  

So many things happened prior to our trip and there is too much stuff to write here and this post gonna be real loonngg! (i) my beloved Goldie (English cocker spaniel) left us on the day of my departure to Guilin (15 August 2014, 2.30p.m.), (ii) 15 August 2014 was also the day I bid farewell to my bestie, Marmon leaving Penang for UNESCO Jakarta (iii) my iPhone 5 got stolen without my knowledge  on the 5th day of our trip (19 August 2014)  when I was on my way from 0773 hotel to Xicheng Pedestrian Street Night Market in Guilin

Ok, let’s forget about things that had happened!

We planned this trip 2 months ahead and did some research prior to our trip and saw countless beautiful photos of Guilin, which we have heard so much about the beauty of it, yet never been there. I have to admit that the place itself is overwhelming and, too touristy. 

The month of August is still summer in China, thus the weather was pretty humid when we were there. Everywhere was jam-packed and crowded with people particularly at tourist sites and entrance tickets easily sold out! (so, please avoid travelling to China during summer break). 

We arrived at the brand new KLIA 2 for the first time on 15 August 2014 and was impressed with the structure and the comfortable waiting lounge. After a smooth 4 hour flight from Kuala Lumpur, we arrived at Guilin Liangjiang International Airport and so began our journey in Guangxi.

For this trip, we (myself and Camel) took Air Asia X flight from Penang  Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA 2) Guilin (approx. 4 hours in the sky) –and here’s our 8-days Travelogue: (15 August 2014 – 23 August 2014) in Guangxi, China: 
<Guilin Yangshuo Huangyao (Hezhou) Longsheng   Guilin>

Day 1: 15 August 2014
PENANG Kuala Lumpur (KLIA 2)
Depart from Penang – Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA 2)

Day 2: 16August 2014 
GUILIN (Liangjiang International Airport KWL) → YANGSHUO
Depart from Guilin Liangjiang International Airport to Yangshuo country town - Silver Cave – Yangshuo Lotus Farm - West Street Night Market

Day 3: 17 August 2014
YANGSHUO HUANGYAO ANCIENT TOWN
Depart from Yangshuo at 8.30a.m. (approx. 1.5hr from Yangshuo) – Explore HuangYao Ancient Town (big banyan tree, ancient brick houses, jumping stone bridge, SIMA mansion, Guo’s family mansion, ancient well, dragon bridge) – Return from HuangYao to Yangshuo at 4.00p.m. – Cormorant Fishing at Li River Bank 

Day 4: 18 August 2014
YANGSHUO
Li Jiang River Cruise (approx. 2.5 hr) – West Street Night Market

Day 5: 19 August 2014
YANGSHUO GUILIN
Depart from Yangshuo to Guilin (approx. 1.5 hr) - Elephant Trunk Hill – Sun and Moon Pagoda – Statue of Wangzhenggong – Lijiang Waterfall Hotel – Zhengyang Pedestrian Street (Sangsui food street)

Day 6: 20 August 2014
GUILIN → LONGSHENG
Depart from Guilin South Train Station to Longsheng County Town (1.5hour) -  Arrived ticket office of Longji Terraced Fields – Hike through Jinzhu Zhuang Village (due to landslide, roads were closed for reconstruction) – took another bus up to cable car main station (final stop/station for bus) (approx. 45 minutes) – took cable car to Golden Buddha Peak (18 minutes) – final hike to the peak and Longji Panorama House Hotel passing through West Hill Music, Large-Scale Thousand Layer Terraces, Dazhai Village, Xinzhai Village (approx. 3hr) – Arrived Longji Panorama House Hotel at 4.45p.m.

Day 7: 21August 2014
LONGSHENG → GUILIN
Depart from Longsheng to Guilin - Bao Shu Tang - Zhengyang Pedestrian Street (Sangsui food street) - Guilin night cruise (Two-Rivers-Four-Lakes)

Day 8: 22 August 2014
GUILIN YANGSHUO
Depart from Guilin to Yangshuo - Yulong River Bamboo Rafting -  600 year old Yulong Bridge  - Yangshuo (West Street Market) – Return to Guilin (by express bus) - Liusanjie Landscape Garden – Guilin Xicheng Pedestrian Street Night Market - Guilin Department Store 

Day 9: 23 August 2014
GUILIN Kuala Lumpur (KLIA 2) PENANG
Depart from Liangjiang International Airport (KWL) →Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA 2) Penang

The first 5 days were spent in Yangshuo, discovering caves, walking along the Li River bank, securing bargains at West Street night market. We arrived Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (KWL) on a Saturday morning (2nd day). The journey from Guilin took us about 1 hour (approx. 70 km) to reach the beautiful town of Yangshuo that was surrounded by scenic hills and rivers almost the entire way. It was a very picturesque drive with us stopping every now and then to take in amazing views of Guangxi. The driver (which we pre-hired via e-mail earlier) took us directly to YangShuo River View Hotel in the downtown area after that. Later, we proceeded to the Silver Cave, one of the many caves in Guilin.

On the 3rd day, the driver (Xiao Wan) picked us up from the hotel (Yangshuo River View) and we set off on our trip to Huangyao Ancient Town (stories later, stay tuned for the next travel episode!) 

Yangshuo continued to impress me. The scenic views along the river and road to Li River amazed us. There are plenty of beautifully formed mountains and it’s so famous that if you are familiar with traditional Chinese paintings, you will find that many have used these mountains as subjects or backgrounds. 
 
We took the river cruise to enjoy the splendid views along Li River. If you happen to visit Guilin (it’s actually Yangshuo), you must not miss this cruise along the Li River. The boat ride along the Li River took us about 2.5 hours and meandered into a bunch of lakes. The scene was pretty amazing which featured Cao Ping scenery, beauty of the Crown Cave, Yangdi scenery, Lang Shi scenery, the Painted Hill of Nine Horses, Xing Ping scenery and the Five Fingers Hill.
Reminds me of mountains from classical chinese paintings
Rafting on Li River, Yangshuo
Li River, Yangshuo - One of the most beautiful rivers in China
The breathtaking landscape simply knocks your socks off
The back-side of the Chinese 20-Yuan note has the similiar picture of this Li River hills
The karst hills of Yangshuo
Along Li River bank
Along the Li River bank
The Silver Cave in Yangshuo. Like a real fairyland
The Silver Cave in Yangshuo. Like a real fairyland
Later in the evening, we went for a cormorant fishing demonstration near the Li River banks (just right opposite Yangshuo River View hotel).
Fisherman and Cormorant, Guangxi
Fisherman and Cormorant, Guangxi
 Cormorant Fishing in Yangshuo, Guangxi
On the 5th day, we’re supposed to head to Yulong River for a bamboo rafting execution in the morning but due to the continuous rain in Yangshuo, we had to cancel the trip and returned to Guilin.   

On the 8th day in Guilin, we returned to the beautiful country town Yangshuo again for the Yulong River bamboo rafting experience which we missed earlier due to heavy rain by express bus (which took us about 1.5 hr from Guilin). The night before we were worried about the rain due to overcast skies.  However, it turned out to be a beautiful sunny day and we continued with our tourist tramp with a float down the Yulong River on a bamboo raft followed by a stopover at the 600 year old Yulong Bridge. We passed by little creeks, hills and field of greens along the way. The bamboo rafting seemed thrilling when we crossed the weir dams but then it wasn’t as thrilling as dropping down a cliff, but still it was my first time! We stopped by a village for lunch (near to the quay) after we ended the bamboo rafting execution and ordered the famous local specialty Yangshuo Beer Fish (an eatery run by local villagers) and the dish really did live up to expectation – tasted great! The trip was obviously costly as it was purely for the tourists but then still interesting. After the rafting, we arrived back to Yangshuo country town and departed back to Guilin at 5.00p.m.
Beautiful Yulong river Karst mountain landscape in Yangshuo
Yulong River - Going over the dam
Yulong River Rafting
View from Bamboo Raft
1,2,3....Going over the dam
1,2,3....Going over the dam
Surrounded by limestone karst hills
Old stone bridge in Yangshuo
Waterfall along the Li River bank
Air Itinerary Details: 
Air Asia X: Penang - Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA 2) – Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (KWL) /Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (KWL)  - Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA 2) - Penang 

Local Transportation: 
Mr. Xiao Wan (for airport pick-up, trip to Yangshuo and HuangYao) 
Mobile: 0086  159 7736 1716 
Webpage:  http://yangshuo-tour-guide.jimdo.com/
e-mail: yangshuowanyi88@aliyun.com 

Accommodation: 
(i)Guilin - Starway Grand 0773 Hotel Guilin
(** 3minutes walk/ 0.2km to Elephant Trunk Hill)
Address: No. 31, Wenming Road, City Center - River Area, Guilin, China 541002

(ii)Yangshuo - YangShuo River View Hotel  
(**2-3 minutes walk to West Street night market, facing river)
Address: 19# BingJiang Road  YangShuo Town. Guilin.GuangXi, China
Tel:  086-0773-8822688
e-mail: service@riverview.com.cn

(iii) Longsheng – Longji Panorama House Hotel
(**located at the highest peak in Longsheng, need stamina to hike up the cobblestone path
Tiantou Zhai, Da Zhai Cun, Heping Township
Guilin, 541701 China
West Street in Yangshuo
Places of Interest / Entrance Tickets: 
  • Silver Limestone Cave (Yangshuo) – 65RMB/pax
  • Elephant trunk hill (symbol of Guilin) – 75RMB/pax
  • Lijiang River Cruise for 2.5hr – 250RMB/pax
  • Bao Shu Tang (Guilin)
  • Night cruise in Guilin - Two-Rivers-Four-Lakes (Guilin) 190RMB/pax
  • Cruise along LiangJiang Si Hu  (Yangshuo)
  • Cormorant Fishing  (Yangshuo) 3RMB/pax
  • Liusanjie Landscape Garden (Guilin)- FOC
  • Longji Rice Terraced Fields a.k.a Dragon Back Terrace (Longsheng)- 100RMB/pax
  • HuangYao Ancient Town (Hezhou) 100RMB/pax  for entry pass
  • Black hair (hong yao) woman luggage carrying service – 60RMB/way/basket
Must Try / Eat:  
  • Authentic Guilin Rice Noodles  (Guilin/Yangshuo)
  • Guilin Beer Fish  (Guilin/Yangshuo)
  • Bamboo rice + bamboo chicken (Longsheng)
  • Roasted goose at Chun Ji Restaurant (Guilin)
  • BBQ squid stick (Guilin)
  • Mango juice at Mango Mango (Yangshuo)
The famous Guilin Beer Fish
Read more about our travel experiences @ Guangxi, China:  
 
“All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it” –Samuel Johnson
  
Welcome to Small World! This blog is not a travel agency, but rather a personal site which allows me to share my past travel experiences in a straightforward and far-reaching way. I often made great use of other peoples travel blogs and sites every time I plan for my travel itinerary as they often contained most updated information and invaluable resources from their past travel experiences.  I hope that you will find every piece of information & images contained within my blog handy and useful. Thank you very much for reading my post(s) and feel free to leave a comment/testimonial or click "Like/Share" if you love reading them all. xoxo The writer is a passionate traveler who enjoys speaking to young keen travelers about the freedom to get cultured and to taste the fullness of life. Feel free to contact the writer if you need any travel advice, guidance or tips or if you have any burning questions with regards to your upcoming trip(s)/ journey 
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