For the Easter we decided to go to mainland China to this place called Guilin. I heard that GuiLin is considered as the most beautiful area in China so I had big hopes for it. There were bunch of us going to Guilin already on thursday but we left there on Friday. It takes about an hour to get to China's border from our halls by the MTR. We left quite early as there was a problem with our tickets: the group leaving day before had two of our tickets so we had two tickets from the day before. Luckily we managed to get tickets for the full train. The train was pretty good, we were sleeping in a 6-bed compartment. Unfortunately there were no doors for the compartments so we had to keep a close eye on our belongings. Our train left around 5pm so there wasn't many hours of daylight left. That was a shame as I really wanted to see the views along the railroad.
Once we got to the train station in Guilin, I got a flashback from my Thailand trip a few years ago. We got the tourist treatment there. Lots of people tried to get us a taxi and for a moment I was in despair. But once we got this one minibus things started to go better. We took a little sightseeing tour around Guilin. Guilin is quite a big city and we were actually not planning to stay there overnight as we wanted to go to this smaller and more touristic place south from Guilin. First place we visited was called Jingjiang Princes City which was some royal complex from the Ming dynasty. In it's park there rises the Duxiu Peak. We climbed there and got some nice photos. After Jingjiang we went to this place called Moon Hill and once again did some climbing.
View from Duxiu Peak
Group photo from the Moon Hill (Martin, Donkki, Jenni, Karkki & me)
After sightseeing and lunch in the city we took the same mini bus to Lijiang river. We drove through some nice looking countryside and stopped to buy some strawberries... mmm...
Don't really know what those were. I just know we could have had those for lunch:)
Jenni going through the menu
Me posing in front of a strawberry field
Once we got to the river, first we took a boat to this one big cave which name I don't remember (the names are all weird chinese names:-P). The cave was pretty awesome. After the cave we left towards Yangshuo by boat. The scenery was amazing along the river. They even put the view from the lake to one of the the 20-yuan bills (google it if you're interested). Once we got to Yangshuo it was already dark. We had late dinner, met some of the guys from the other group and called it a day.
Waterfall in a cave
View from the boat
Sunset in Lijiang river
We had an early wake up. After breakfast we went to rent bicycles. We had heard from the other group what places are worth to visit so we wanted to make a bike trip to this another Moon Hill. I was pretty terrified of the plan as I had saw day before the way they drive in the streets of China. It's a mess! There's lot of people with bikes and scooters driving with the cars in the busy streets. You really need to pay attention on the streets here. Once we got out of the city we finally got to focus on the beautiful scenery rather than the traffic.
Early morning on West street
The Hong Kong PolyU biking team
The view from the Moon Hill was pretty amazing. After climbing and lunch most of the guys wanted to do some more biking but me, Jenni and Martin decided to head back to the city. The reason: It was cloudless day so me and Jenni had burnt our Finnish skin pretty badly:)
View from the Moon Hill
Me and Karkki as the King & Queen of the Hill
Once we got back to our hotel we decided to book tickets for this one show called the Impressions on Sanjie Liu. I was a bit sceptical of going there as it cost over 20 euros, but now I'm glad I didn't miss it. The "stage" was unbelievable. It is the world's largest natural theater which utilizes the waters of the Lijiang river as it's stage. Behind the river you can see 12 hills which are lit. In the show there are over 600 performers! It's hard to describe how spectacular the show was. I just know that I will never ever in my life see anything like that! During our stay I have been regretting why I did not take my video camera with us and after this show I regret it even more:( There's just some problems with my camera now, so there might not be so many videos in my blog in the future... Sorry.
Two bad quality photos of the Impressions
For the last day we had arranged a trip to some rice fields. We had to leave early as the place was quite far away. We drove there about 5 hours. I didn't mind as we had a good chance to see some nice scenery all the way there. The last hour we had to drive in mountains so at times the view was breathtaking. We spent several hours in the rice fields enjoying the landscape. Unfortunately it wasn't the rainy season so the fields were not in their best shape but it still was one memorable experience. After the rice fields we drove 3 hours back to Guilin, ate a dinner and were on our way back to HK by the night train. The trip was pretty succesful. It changed some misconceptions I had about China and it's people. I just wish we would have had more time to spend there.
... and some posing.