Saturday, October 8, 2011

Snippets of Guilin, China: Day Two

On our second day after we arrived to Guilin, China; our tour guide, Xiao Li, took us to a place called Xing'An County of Guilin City, Guangxi Province where we'd be staying fortnight and enjoyed a five-star facility from the resort there. We were going to stay at the best hotel during our whole 8D7N trip in Guilin. Enticing! I could not wait to see the room's clean and big bathroom with bathtub in it.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

7.00am Morning call.

8.00am Checked out from Tao Yuan Hotel, Guilin City.

8.30am Breakfast at Western Hill Hotel, Guilin City. Our tour guide mentioned that whenever we stayed at Guilin City, we'd have to eat the breakfast from Western Hill Hotel because this restaurant's breakfast buffet serves better food variety than other places in town. Otherwise, we'd have to eat the common breakfast in Guilin, the one and only Gulin thick rice vermicelli (Guilin mǐfěn or 桂林米粉), which we, the tour members, didn't really fancy.

9.00am Hopped on the bus and made a move to Xing'An County, which is about 2 hours drive away from Guilin City. Xing'An County hosts #2 Scenic Spot Destination in Guilin, the Merryland Resort and Theme Park (桂林乐满地); one of the first national 5A (five-star) scenic zones and one of the top ten drive tourism destinations in China. 

By the way, on our way to Xing'An County, we made a stop to buy the juiciest and sweetest locally-grown grapes that I have ever tasted. My husband spent only RMB 20 (or equivalent to RM 10)  to treat each of the tour member in the bus a handful of the below Guilin grapes.

Incredibly fleshy, juicy, sweet and single-seed Guilin grapes.

11.00am  Arrived to Xing'An County and had lunch there. It was too early for lunch considering that we just ate breakfast two hours earlier but our tour guide said that since we were going straight to enter the Merryland Theme Park and check in to the hotel in the evening; we had better eaten the early lunch. Or else, it's going to be hard to gather everyone for lunch once all the tour members were scattered in the massive Theme Park. 

In front of the restaurant for lunch in Xing'An.

12.00pm Finally caught the sight of the much buzzed Guilin Merryland Theme Park. Dumped our luggage in the hotel's concierge first since the check-in time only started at around 3.00pm. Then, we immediately made a move from the hotel to the amusement park by foot. On our way to enter the amusement park, we saw the beautiful Yuelao Temple across the Ling Lake

Yuelao Temple across the Ling Lake at Merryland Theme Park.

Boats at Ling Lake for rent.

Also, before we reached the amusement park's gate, our tour leader from Malaysia recommended us to try the cooling jelly dessert that was sold there. This dessert cost about RMB 3 (or equivalent to RM 1.5) per cup. I noticed almost everyone was so interested with the preparation processes of this dessert. However, when my husband and I tried the final product, we both were like blah. This dessert tasted quite funky, not as appealing as it looked. The dessert's syrup tasted funny and the mint drops on it made the dessert tasted even more like cough syrup. (Sorry to say!)

So, this Merryland Theme Park is apparently quite capacious. Buggies for rent are available at RMB 100 (or equivalent to RM 50) for three hours to thoroughly explore this theme park. I was actually tempted to rent one but killed the idea since I learned that all the other tour members who were twice my age didn't need such facility. Hence, we kept on walking to the theme park entrance, which was quite a distance from the hotel lobby.

Once we entered this theme park, my husband and I split from the other tour members and explored the place on our own. The first attraction facility we hit at the theme park was the stalls for funfair games. We tried two out of so many game stalls there because I very much wanted to bring one cute McDull doll home. 

In the end, we didn't win the McDull prize that I wished for but won a petite Daisy Duck hanger and a mini panda doll, instead. We spent about RM 40 in total for the tokens to play the games.

Merryland Theme Park is a large-scale amusement park which hosts 7 thematic parks such as China Kingdom, Wild Western, Pixel's Magic Forest, Pirate Village, South Pacific Area, European Area and Mandala Garden. Since I felt that I was already too old for rides that challenged my adrenaline, I didn't play any amusement rides nor visit the Ghost House there. I might have disappointed my husband on this but my heart is really too weak to enjoy the rides that involve height and speed, like those that swing the passengers up high to the sky or turn the passengers upside down. Thus, we mostly spent our day there by taking lots of photos, sightseeing, watching some performances and chilled. Although, this theme park is quite pale in comparison with Universal Studio Singapore (not too happening) but my husband and I still enjoyed the atmosphere there.

Next, we decided to watch their 4D movie. Unfortunately, the 4D cartoon's quality was not so good and its plot was more suitable for toddler's movie. Again, it was not comparable to Universal Studio Singapore's Shrek 4D movie. Anyway, if we didn't try, we would not know.

About to watch the 20 minutes 4D movie at Merryland Theme Park's 4D Theater.

After the 4D Theather, my husband and I continued our journey and stopped in front of a photo studio that offered us instant photo taking in ancient Chinese costumes. I was so ON about the idea of taking photos in ancient Chinese King or Queen or Princess's costumes because I found this opportunity very interesting and it's like a once in a life time experience. (I mean, hello?! We were already in China and not sure when we can visit China again. So, why not?)

Passed by this ancient Chinese costume photo studio 
and eventually, took quite some shots there.

In the nick of time, the shopkeepers dragged my husband and I inside their studio, asked us to choose a costume and dressed us with one of the costumes there. They said one photo would only cost about RMB 20 (or equivalent to RM 10). Obviously the photo studio's management had honed their staff's selling skills really well because instead of just paying for one or two photos, my husband ended up paying about RMB 110 (or equivalent to RM 55) for five different 4R photos. And here are some of the scanned results for your virtual entertainment. Anyhow, I think these photos are quite cute. 

 Introducing General SYK to Guilin.

 General SYK and his wife.

Moving on, I guessed it was time for afternoon snack so my husband bought steamed pork sausage and corn. The steamed pork sausage was fine (my husband loved it!) but the corn was really way too hard to eat.

Our afternoon snack: Steamed pork sausage and corn.

3.00pm After wandering around the theme park, we decided to watch one of their shows there. We caught the 30 minutes show called 'Dazzle with You' at Pixel's Magic Forest. This performance showcased some ballet and modern dances plus acrobatic and magic shows. My overall comment about this particular show is - It was not too bad. 

The 'Dazzle with You' Show.

Since we still had about two more hours to kill before the theme park closed, we checked out the souvenirs shops. Then, we bumped into a shop that sold colored glazed glass arts, attracted by the Master who gave live demonstration in making the glass arts and purchased one glass art souvenir for myself. 

Stuck in front of colored glazed glass art shop in Merryland Theme Park not for nothing.

We accidentally met Merryland's mascots nearby the glass art shop and snapped a picture with them before we headed back to the hotel.

The Merryland Theme Park's mascots and us.

5.00pm The closing hour for Merryland Theme Park. Husband and I were supposed to leave the theme park by then but we both got lost! We could not spot any of familiar faces of our tour members around and suddenly had mild panic attack. It seemed that my husband and I had taken the wrong exit and needed to walk all the way back to the entrance gate to get back to the hotel. Mind you, but this was the real adrenaline rush for me! I think should we have not left that place quickly, we both could have been locked up in the theme park for the rest of the night and it's not funny.

Didn't know that we were lost! Still bothered to take photo at the wrong exit.

5.25pm Finally at the right track to the hotel area. After 25 minutes efficient fast-walking (and half running), my husband and I managed to leave the theme park alive and came back to the hotel lobby to check in.

6.15pm Dinner time at the hotel's restaurant. Thanks to the unexpected evening exercise at the theme park, I had a really huge appetite for dinner that night. I gorged most of the food that they served like a cow.

Day 2's food we ate in Guilin.

What a long day!

Day 3 in Guilin - to be continued.

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