Guilin 桂林 and Yangshuo 阳朔
Yangshuo and Guilin
Guìlín 桂林 and Yángshuò 阳朔 are among the finest destinations in China. Thanks to a rich vegetation, trekking and bike tracks, this region is the ideal goal of nature lovers. Unfortunately during the last 20 years this region has known a moderate economic boom and has been exploited from travel agencies. So, if you are searching peace avoid to stay Guilin, which is a big busy city and transfer directly to Yangshuo.
Here some suggestions for what to do in Guilin and Yangshuo:
– stay in Yangshuo instead of Guilin. Guilin is too crowdy and expensive. We were sleeping in the best Guilin’s hotel (Bravo Hotel, Deluxe Room, 650 RMB per night). The hotel is bad furnished, dirty, the rooms small. We were even asked to lock the door of the terrace during the night, for our safety… We couldn’t sleep anyway as the neighbours were making too much noise (some prostitutes were also going up and down the ail at 1 a.m. …).
– In Yangshuo I warmly suggest you to stay in one of the following accomodations: Paradesa Resort, a very nice old hotel in the city center. The hotel is well build, it resembles a Spanish monastery, with big walls, stone pavements and high ceilings. Breakfast is very good and the position is very convenient. Even tough it is in the city center you do not hear any noise from the city, as the hotel is sourrounded by a park. For an exclusive accomodation stay in the Mountain Retreat Yangshuo. It is a bit away from the city, but it is immerse in the green landscape of Yangshuo. You should reserve some weeks in advance.
– from Guilin to Yangshuo (80 km) transfer by private boat: the public ferry is overcrowded and also expensive (300 RMB). Ask a taxi driver to bring you to the place where you can get a private boat. It is a bit expensive (around 900 RMB) but the 300 RMB you pay more will allow you to make customised stops along the way (there is a small resort on the right site of the Li River at the high of Xingping Town. There you can eat marvellously for a very convenient price (which you won’t hardly get in Guilin and Yangshuo, which are very expensive places).
– Between Guilin and Yangshuo stop at Xingping. There you will see the scenery printed on the 20 RMB banknote, the famous Nine Horses Hills.
– In Yangshuo you can go trekking (there are numerous trekking tours around the area) or biking. We have chosen the bike tour and we were accompained from a local guide, who could speak very good English. The cost for a day tour is 50 RMB per person which is really worth spending. Of course you can also choose to take the bike and with the help of a map drive around by yourself. Places worth visiting: Moon Hill, Water Caves, rice fields and a lot more. Just follow your eyes and instinct.
– at the other end of Guilin municipality, about 80 Kms north, you find the county of Longsheng 龙胜 (in Guanxi), which is known for the different ethnics. Here you can visit the rice fields and have a thermal bath. From Guilin you can reach Longsheng by bus (it is about 1 hour). An organised tour costs about 140 RMB. If you want to have a romantic staying, you should sleep in one of the accomodations that Longsheng offers. Many traditional houses have been infact transformed into hotels.
What is worth buying in Guilin and Yangshuo? Actually, nothing, which you won’t find at a cheaper price in Shanghai. In Guilin there are many shops selling tea. I thought to buy some tea when there, but they gave me very bad quality tea for an exorbitant price (about double the price I pay in the Tian Shan Cha Dian in Shanghai).
What is worth eating in Guilin and Yangshuo? Hmmm, I think that the kitchen is better than Shanghai. Guilin has a lot to offer, very similar to Hong Kong food streets. In Yangshuo you should eat the chicken and rice cooked in Bamboo. This is a must. The restaurant is about half of the track that brings you to Longshen.