12 Jul Travelogue: Guilin, China I
Initially, we were skeptical about this trip because of the ridiculously cheap groupon deal we engaged for the tour and accommodation. And i never been to China. We only paid RM335 for a 5D4N English guided tour with hotel accommodation for 2pax. Was so anxious about it being a scam that we were afraid that no one would pick us up at the airport. Lo and behold, when we arrived at the airport, a very professional tour guide cum driver was there waiting with my name on his board and there we found out that he was gonna privately tour and chauffeur us alone in a 9 seater van for the next 5 days, just us two! I was thinking for that price it would be at least a group tour. But dayum. Scored!
When we arrived at our hotel, sure it wasn’t 4 star like how they claim to be, but it was very decent and above average. Another thumbs up. Our guide was really aswm! While his English wasn’t perfect, we managed to get by and he was very patient in articulating his thoughts.
Things you do have to note: the guides’ livelihood also depends on the extra shopping trips that he brings you to regardless whether you buy anything. His commission comes from attendance, so just layan lor and make a round if possible. But, if you do not wanna visit any of these places, just negotiate a FAIR tip with him so you can skip out. He took us to a silk factory, jade exhibition, bamboo center, pearl factory, a tea house and a wellness center to get a foot massage where a very scammy “sinsei” that tried to sell me meds. Listing them all like that does sound overwhelming but they were quite educational in hopes of selling stuff to you (i guess!) These trips are squeezed in between your sightseeing trips. Also, for the occasions that your guide dines with you, it’s normal to foot the bill for him as well.
Out of all those places, we actually DID manage some shopping at the jade, pearl, silk factory and the bamboo center. Do be cautious and exercise your bargaining skills if you are interested. Or check out their sales corner, which was what i did at the pearl and silk factory for a bracelet and scarf.
Now that we got that outta the way, Guilin is so damn picturesque and the people are pleasant. It’s hard to take a bad photo over there. I have so many favourite moments from this trip, the chairlift ride up to the mountain. So death defying but oh-so-thrilling. Haha. Boat ride across the Li River, visit to the Silver LimeStone Caves, they lighted up the cave with different light colors for a psychedelic aurora effect. And we also paid extra to watch the Impression Liusanjie Show which was so worth the money. It’s basically performance art on water with the mountains as their back drop. How breath taking! And it’s choreographed by the same people who did the Beijing Olympic opening! Some dubbed it “The Light Show Story” while others called it an alternative performance set in a natural environment.
It was definitely one of the highlight of the trip. My next post will be our adventurous hike up to Longji Rice Terraces.