Wednesday, August 03, 2005

China Tour - Part III (Guilin)

Guilin - LandscapeOur flight was delayed about 90 minutes, but we finally boarded and got off the ground sometime after 9PM. We arrived in Guilin after a nearly two-hour flight and then took a one-hour taxi ride into the city, in a pouring rain, to our hotel. If I remember correctly, we checked into our hotel well after midnight, quite exhausted.

Guilin is a beautiful place. The main attractions are the unusual shape of the surrounding mountains and countryside. There are also many luscious natural parks to explore so we had a long day of walking ahead of us. It wasn't raining and that was enough to be happy about. The woman who had driven us to our hotel the night before was waiting outside of our hotel when we left, and she agreed to drive us around all day for 100 RMB! Happy and healthy, we hopped into the cab and got started.Guilin - Boat Ride

We began the day by walking through a cave, one of five attractions we planned to see by the end of the day, which was a cool escape from the already humid weather, although crowded and loud. The Chinese tour guides like to use electronic bullhorns while leading tourists around. We next stopped at a travel agency in town to make arrangements and purchase tickets for a five-hour ride on a river boat to Yangshuo for the next day, and then went down to the river, walking through a small farming village, and took a short ride on a bamboo boat past Elephant Hill, so called because it looks like an elephant drinking water, pictured here.

Guilin - Elephant HillWe spent the rest of the day wandering around many of the other parks in Guilin, and finally walking through one other cave, which nearly killed all of us due to the large number of stairs we had to climb in the oppressive humidity to reach the entrance. Our final destination for the day was the largest park in Guilin, located in the center of the city, and we really only entered to see the Panda they had in a small zoo inside the park. Unfortunately, the panda had died a few months prior. On the way out, we had some fun with some monkeys which roamed about the park freely. By the time we left, it had started raining heavily. We returned to our hotel, refreshed briefly, and then went out to find some dinner.

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