Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Snippets of Guilin, China: Day One

A few months ago, my husband and I finished 95 DVD series of Three Kingdoms (三国) and after being so engrossed with these Chinese historical drama series, we both were so keen to visit China. Yes, we're so going to China! Needless to say, as our 'official' honeymoon trip, my husband and I traveled to Guilin, China about two weekends ago.

A week after our wedding celebration in Malaysia, we were off to our virgin trip to China. We chose to join a 8D7N guided tour to venture a foreign land, like China for instance, because it is cheaper (e.g. no need to pay most of the entrance tickets for famous tourist spots), safer, more informative and hassle-free (e.g. no need to think about the local famous food, interesting places-to-visit, transports and hotels).

The overall trip was pretty much relaxing and enjoyable. A lot of sightseeing we did, just like what we both had expected. One thing I kind of regretted during the trip was the fact that the guided tour was majorly delivered in Mandarin which I understand little of. As such, I could not really grasp all the stories behind all the scenic and historical places that we visited. Pity! In addition, I think public toilets in China, or Guilin in particular, need more serious attention in improving the toilets' hygiene.

As we had previously learned from the pictures, Guilin was all about scenic mountains, rivers, caves and other historical sites. Sounds boring to some youngsters, perhaps, but I never regret our decision to go to China for our honeymoon.

Middle of September is the beginning of autumn in China. The weather was pretty warm in the first two days in Guilin but we had to start wearing jacket for the next 6 days since the temperature went down and it was quite windy, especially at night.

Now, before I forget the details of my very first vacation to China, I am jotting down the details like a traveler's diary in my blog. It was really memorable!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

1.30am Woke up and got ready because the pick-up van from the tour agent would be fetching us soon and sending us to the LCCT airport. Dizzy, sleepy and moody.

2.30am The pick-up van arrived to our house. Off we went to the airport, together with other tour members.

4.30am Reached to LCCT Airport. Gathered with the rest of tour members who would be joining our Guilin trip for the next 8 days. Both husband and I were a bit surprised in the beginning because we were the youngest amongst the tour members. The rest of them were uncles and aunties at our parents' age and older. For one second, we thought we joined a wrong group of people and might have chosen the wrong destination for our honeymoon. Felt a tad of regret but we quickly moved on. No can do.

5.00am Group checked in at Airasia counter.

6.30am Took off to Guilin. Bye-bye Malaysia. Time to catch some sleep first.

10.30am Landed to Guilin Liangjiang International Aiport. Set foot in China for the first time. Excited!

 Landing to Guilin International Airport soon.

Hello, China: Guilin LiangjiangInternational Airport.

11.00am Met the local tour guide, Xiao Li, who would be assisting all of us for the tour around Guilin. Xiao Li briefed us a little about our tour in general and Guilin of Guangxi, China. The tallest building in Guilin is a 21-storey building. Although Guilin is relatively large in size but the radius of the city itself is only about 5km. The rests are mountainous areas and villages.

 The mini bus that took us around Guilin during our 8D7N tour.

12.00pm Lunch time. First time ever tasted real Chinese food made in China. No funky Chinese dish served, thankfully!

1.00pm Arrived to the #1 Scenic Spot Destination in Guilin, Fubo Hill Park. Fubo Hill Park is actually an integrated park in the city of Guilin, located on the western bank of Li River and acts as a memorial park for General Fubo. This park hosts a beautiful park, mountain caves and a hill called Fubo. A local legend says that this hill is named after General Fubo of Han Dynasty who once passed by Guilin on his southern expedition then poured pearls into the Li River.

At the entrance of Fubo Hill Park.

 The Statue of General Fubo.

The infamous Fubo Hill: A part of this hill was previously cut and covered with concrete to remove 
the words that (not supposedly) addressed a China political leader like an Emperor.

This park has a giant ancient Qing Dynasty iron bell covered with prayers inscriptions. I can't, unfortunately, really remember about the history of this bell now.

  

Next to this iron bell area is a way down to Huanzhu Cave (Returned Pearl Cave) which is filled with so many relics from Tang Dynasty and rock formations. Our tour guide mentioned that in the olden times, there was a princess (格格) sent to this cave. This princess and the name of the cave inspired a famous Chinese novel writer, Chiung Yao, who wrote a popular romance fiction titled Princess of Pearl or Huan Zhu Ge Ge (還珠格格).

 The entrance of the Huanzhu Cave.

Inside this cave, there are two paths that would lead to the Li River.

 The two paths inside the Huanzhu Cave.

When we moved further inside the cave, we encountered another famous cave called One-Thousand-Buddha Cave which has more than 200 Buddha statues in various sizes from Tang Dynasty.

Some of the Buddha cravings inside the cave.

 It's said if we touch the Buddha feet in this statue, it'd give us good luck.

Moving on, at the bottom of the hill, we witness a popular stalactite near the Li River known as the Sword-Testing Stone. This stalactite column is thick at the top and slim at the bottom but there's an inch gap between the bottom part and the ground. According to the legend, General Fubo was the one who cut this giant rock's bottom part to test his sword, hence created this famous gap.

 
The gap of Sword-Testing Stone.

After we visited most parts of the caves, we took a short stroll at the park and took some photos by the Li River.

 At the Fubo Park: My background is trees shaped like the Elephant-Trunk Hill, 
another famous scenic icon of Guilin.

Li River as the background here.

4.00pm Checked in to our first hotel in Guilin, Tao Yuan Hotel, and had some rest.

7.00pm Dinner time at Western Hill Hotel, Guilin.

7.45pm Had some walk at the heart of Guilin City and enjoyed the night view.

Night bazaar in Guilin.

 Amazing street violist performing in Guilin.

Before I ended this post, here's the compilation photo of the food that we ate for lunch and dinner in Guilin on our first day there. Beer is served in every meal in China and it is apparently cheaper than soda drinks. A bottle of 630ml beer in China costs less than RMB 10 (or equivalent to RM 5). In China, usually they'd also serve a pot of Chinese tea to accompany the beer. Guilin itself is famous for its thick rice vermicelli (Guilin mǐfěn or 桂林米粉) but too bad, we all didn't really like it.

Food on Day 1.

We were so flat out on our first day in Guilin because we were up since the wee hours to catch the flight to China. I think we crashed to bed quite early that night since we had to rise and shine pretty early for the second day tour in Guilin. Moreover, we needed to check out in the morning since we were switching to another hotel.

Day two in Guilin - to be continued.

3 comments:

  1. makes me feel proud to be chinese hehehee *claiming glory shamelessly*

    ReplyDelete
  2. i was visited there few years ago but i like the Guilin mifen very much... :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Jamie Yes, proud to be Chinese. I'm quite impressed with all the Fengshui things in China... As if they have planned everything and every detail has meanings..

    @Kiki We found that mifen was quite tasteless and oily.. Haha.. We'd rather eat rice that time.

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