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Archive for the ‘Guangxi’ Category

When one wants to see a lot but only has very limited time in Yeungshuo, I would suggest getting a tour guide. I am very glad that we met Chu and had her bringing us around when we were in Yeungshuo. We didn’t know her before we got there. It wasn’t by referral and such, so it’s pure luck that we got a good tour guide. 🙂

Of course, in hindsight, there always are things that could be improved in terms of planning, logistic and such. But what really makes the difference isn’t the well organized, fully packed itinerary, but the sincerity of the tour guide.

Chu treated CY and me more like her friends than customers. Well, at least she made us felt so. When we were at Yulong River, Chu brought us to her brother’s house, which was near by, and shared with us some mandarins when she saw some on the table. And when we were at Yeungshuo bus station waiting for the bus to Huangyao, she waited with us and made sure we got on the bus safely before leaving.

All these little things just added up, you know. If she didn’t do any of the above, we would still pay for her service, and tip her if her service was good. But when she did much even after we paid and tipped her (like waiting with us at the bus stop), then in return, we would like to spread some good words and do her some free advertising.

Actually I might not be as impressed if I didn’t see how another local tour guide treating her two customers. That tour guide just sounded loud and rude when she was talking with her customers. I was just happy that we had Chu who was friendly and patient 😀

** Here is Sister Chu’s contact information **

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With minimal preparation, in mid Dec, CY and I went backpacking in Guangxi (廣西) for a few days. Here I have put up info of our trip, including itinerary, transportation, accommodation, some tips and suggestions, photos, etc. I hope that you will find this helpful when you go visiting Guangxi.
In addition, note that it was the low season when we were there, hence, the prices of hostels and such were probably cheaper than some other time of the year.

ItineraryTrain to Guilin

<<Day 1>>

Shenzhen (深圳) – Guilin (桂林) : by train

<<Day 2>>

Guilin – Yangshuo (陽朔) : by bus
Sightseeing by bike : Yulong River (遇龍河) bamboo rafting,Limestone cave (神奇岩), Half Moon Hill ( 半月山)

Li River

<<Day 3>>

Yangshuo – Hingping (兴坪) : by bus
Sightseeing : Li River (漓江) bamboo rafting
Yangshuo – Huangyao (黄姚) : by bus

<<Day 4>>

Sightseeing : Huangyao village (黄姚古镇)Huangyao
Huangyao – Guilin : by bus

<<Day 5>>

Guilin – Dragon Back Mountain Longji Terraces (龍脊梯田) : joined local tour
Sightseeing : Longji Terraces
Guilin – Shenzhen : by train

<<Day 6>>

Shenzhen – Hong Kong : by train

Yulong RiverHalf Moon HillLongji Terraces

*** Here are more photos of our Guangxi trip ***

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For the first and last night of my trip, I slept in the train (Shenzhen – Guilin). The train leaves in the evening and arrives in the morning, which makes it is a great way to save time and money.

And here is the accommodation info of the other 3 nights.

Yangshuo () – Xijie Hostel (西街西客棧)Xijie Hostel

Accommodations: With private bathroom, hot water, TV, internet

Cost: RMB 60 for two-bed room with view, RMB 50 for without view

Notes: 3 mins walk from Yangshuo bus stationXijie Hostel

Huangyao (黄姚) – Jinlan Hotel

Accommodation: With private bathroom, hot water, TV

Cost: RMB 40 for two-bed room

Jinlan Hotel

Jinlan Hotel

Guilin (桂林) – Elephant Trunk Hill Hotel

Accommodation: Close to a 3-star hotel standard, with private bathroom, hot water, TV, internet, air condition

Elephant Trunk Hill HotelCost: RMB 126 for two-bed room

Notes: There are many travel agents standing around the bus station trying to sell their hotel packages to you. It is usually cheaper to get a hotel room thru them than walk-in by yourself.


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General
• Must try Guilin rice noodles (桂林米粉), it’s so good!Guilin Rice Noodle Shop
If you have Sis Chu (朱姐) be your tour guide, ask her to bring you to 瘦子桂林米粉. It is the best out of the several shops that we have tried.
• Negotiate everything – You will almost always get a better deal (need to have the time and patience though).
• Bring a pair of sandals. You will find it handy.Guilin Rice Noodle
• The managers in the hostels are usually very informative. Ask them first if there is any question regarding local transportation, sightseeing arrangement and such.
• It is cheap to eat in Guanxi, around RMB 20-30 per person in a restaurant.

Yangshuo (陽朔)
Tourguide Chu • Sister Chu’s contact number: 138-7837-5610. Price depends greatly on number of people, season, etc. For us, Sis Chu charged us $40 for two for one day. We also paid for her transportation and meals. Sis Chu is very nice and responsible. Highly recommended
• If the weather is cold, I would recommend you to put on gloves when biking. We got charged $5 for a pair, definitely got ripped off, for we could get this type of labor gloves cheaper in Hong Kong. But since we didn’t want to waste our precious sight-seeing time, we took those $5 labor gloves.
• Yulong River (遇龍河) is a must-see scene! In fact, I like it more than the famous Li River.Yulong River
• We had our bamboo rafting ride on Yulong River for RMB 60 per head (can sit in two) and on Li River (漓江) for RMB 150 per raft (can sit in three).
• If you want to walk a bit and see the scenery from a different angle, you can ask to make a stop somewhere along the riverside when you do bamboo rafting on Yulong River or Li River. They can either wait for you at the drop-off spot, or wait for your call for pick-up arrangement.
• With its beautiful scenery and as many as 300 climbing routes at various difficulty levels, Yangshuo is one of the top destinations for many rock climbers.
Limestone Cave • The ticket for the limestone cave we went in Yangshuo wasn’t cheap at all, costing RMB 80 per head. It took us around 1 hour. Ask the tour guide of the limestone cave to turn off the colorful lighting and use torches instead. It is more fun to walk in the dark and see the limestone in its original colors.

Huangyao (黄姚)
• Huangyao Village (黄姚古镇) is a place worth checking out. We are told that the ticket price will rise to RMB 70 next year (current price is RMB 30).
• If you are hungry and want to have an authentic farmer meal in the village, you can go to the Kus. HuangYao Village TicketMrs. Ku will cook and let you eat at her dining room. CY and I had our brunch there, RMB 15 for two.
• Give yourself 3-4 hours to take things slowly and enjoy the village, especially if you like photo taking.

HuangYao Farmer Lunch - the Kus

Dragon Back Mountain Longji Village (龍脊梯田)Longji Terraces
• Different seasons have very different scenery. For those who want to take photos of water filled fields, go in May.
• Join a local tour only if you have limited time and/or budget. Else one can go to Longji Village by bus. There has no bus directly going to Longji Village from Guilin, so one will have to make a transit at Pingan Village (和平鄉). It takes around 3-4 hours to get there. If you can read Chinese, here is some information on the bus route that you may find helpful – http://www.sozhen.com/default/townarticlecon_27_502.html
• Due to our tight schedule, we had to do it the fast food style – local tour. There are many travel agents at the bus station, trying to sell their travel packages to you. Go ahead and ask them for information. Their prices are quite competitive. Nevertheless, one better takes time to consider different opinions and negotiate on price for a better deal. This is what we paid for our Longji Village day trip:
Local Tour from Guilin to Longji Village – RMB100 per person
(includes entrance ticket, tourguide, transport; from 8am – 6pm)
Shuttle bus inside Longji Village — RMB 10 per person
Longhair Women performance – RMB 50 per person
• Unless you have much time on hand and find no way to spend it, else, don’t waste your time and money on the Longhair Women performance. It is just another generic show for the tourists.
• If time allows, I would recommend staying overnight and taking things slowly. There are many hostels in the village, hence, no need to worry about room availability.

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<<Day 1>>
Shenzhen (深圳) to Guilin (桂林) – By train (T38/39)Train to Guilin
Time: 13 hours, departed 5:28pm, arrived next day ~6:30am
Cost: RMB 444 for ruanwo (軟卧) – Soft sleeper, the most expensive class
Note: Instead of train, one can also take the airplane. I have actually considered this option before I left for Guilin. In mid Dec, round-trip ticket for Hong Kong – Guilin costs HKD 2042 and for Shenzhen – Guilin costs HKD1608. All flights depart in the evening.

<<Day 2>>
Guilin – Yangshuo (陽朔) – By bus
Time: ~2 hours
Cost: RMB 14
Note: the bus station is right outside of Yangshuo train station; bus departs every 15-20 mins

Xijie Hostel (西街西客棧) – Yulong River (遇龍河) – By bikeYangshuo by bike
Time: ~20 mins

Yulong River to Limestone cave (神奇岩) – By bike
Time: ~15 mins

Limestone cave to Half Moon Hill ( 半月山) – By bike
Time: ~45 mins

Half Moon Hill to Xijie Hotel – By bike
Time: ~45 mins
Note: Xijie Hostel has bikes available for rent and I bet other hostels do have as well. We rent our bicycles from the hostel for $5-10/day, depends on the condition of the bikes.Jogging along Li River

<<Day 3>>
Yangshuo – Hingping (兴 坪) – By local bus
Time: ~40 mins
Cost: RMB 5.5

Yangshuo – Huangyao (黄姚) – By busTo Huangyao Bus
Time: 3.5 hours, departed 3:30pm
Cost: RMB 30

<<Day 4>>
Huangyao (巩桥) – By motorcart (look like a Thai tuc tuc)
Time: 10 mins
Cost: RMB 2 / head

Gongquiao (巩桥) – Babu (八步) – By local busTuc Tuc
Time: 3 hours, departed 12pm
Cost: RMB 15
Note: The urban distract of Hezhou (贺州) is Babu. There are local bus departing every hour between Gongquiao and Babu.

Hezhou – Guilin – By express bus
Time: 4-5 hours, departed at 3:30pm
Cost: RMB 63, departed at 3:30pm, 4-5 hours
Note: Regular bus takes ~5-6 hours, costs ~$40-50

<<Day 5>>
Guilin – Shenzhen – By train (T40/37)Back Home
Time: 13 hours, departed at 9:48pm, arrived next day ~10:30am
Cost: RMB 444 for ruanwo

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