I took this trip to Guilin with my wife and my parents in late September. We arranged this trip in a relaxing and comfortable style because my parents are over seventy years old. We stuck to the principle of comfortableness: clean and quiet accommodation, no climbing of mountains, light and delicate meals, limited driving within 200km per day.
Transportation: Flights between Beijing and Guilin. Self-driving for the rest of the trip (We rented a car through a website in advance and picked it up upon arrival in Guilin Liangjiang Airport. Self-driving route: Guilin Airport, Yangshuo, Huangyao Ancient Town, Guilin, Longji, Guilin, Guilin Airport).
Accommodation: My parents are light sleepers, so we chose rooms in more quiet area. They each stayed in one room for good sleep and me and my wife shared a room. If the rooms were on high floors, there would be elevators for carrying our stuff.
Highlights: Rafting from Yangdi to Xingping, Impression Sanjie Liu, Shopping on West Street, Huangyao Ancient Town, Reed Flute Cave, Dragon Ridge Terrace.
Delicious food: Sesame Swordfish, Spotted Longbarbel Catfish, Stuffed Bean Curd, Stewed Free-range Chicken, and Roast Goose of Chun’s.
Budget: 4250rmb each including the round-way flights of Beijing/Guilin/Beijing.
Day One: Guilin, Rockabond Inn in Yangshuo
Our flight from Beijing to Guilin touched down at 4:30 in the afternoon. I quickly handled the stuff about picking up the car. Then after 2 hours’ driving (90km), we arrived at Yangshuo. I booked the Rockabond Inn in advance. After check-in at the hotel, we went out and had fish for dinner. My parents found it noisy wandering around the West Street, so we went back to hotel at about 9 in the evening.
Day Two: West Street, Li River Rafting (from Yangdi to Xingping)
It’s an hour driving (40km) from Yangshuo to Yangdi Pier. I searched the website and made a reservation with a raft owner in advance. When we arrived at Yangdi Pier at 9:30, the raft man was already waiting there. The rafting route was Yangdi Pier, Nine Horses Mountain Scenic Area, Huangbu Beach, Xingping Pier. Because we needed to go back and pick up our car, we did a round-way rafting. It was 100rmb per way and the raft man offered us a 50% discount for the return journey. Our raft man, Master Li was very considerate and he explained the scenery for us very well. He also left us much time for photographing. We had Spotted Longbarbel Catfish for lunch. Master Li recommended a good restaurant for us on the way. The fish was very fresh. It was 4:30 in the afternoon when we returned to Yangshuo. We really had a wonderful time. The scenery was so fantastic.
As we booked the Impression Sanjie Liu Show for my parents, we changed the hotel into the Shanshui Yuge Hotel, which was closer to the theater. There were two performances every night. We booked the one at 19:40. A large number of people were lining up in front of the ticket office for the ticket. We accompanied my parents into the theater and left. My wife and I just wandered along the West Street and had a few drinks outdoor, enjoying the moon. It felt so romantic.
Day Three: Yangshuo, Huangyao Ancient Town
Today we drove from Yangshuo to Huangyao Ancient Town (130km). It took about 2 hours. It was 10 o’clock when we arrived at the Jiu Hu Shan Hotel. After a quick unpacking, we entered the Ancient Town. A few big banyan trees caught our attention at the entrance. Walking along the bluestone paved road, we saw some shop owners playing mahjong and a few students painting. I smelt the aroma of bean curd in the air. The bean curd here is very popular among tourists.
We walked and walked, finally, arrived at the Gujia Kitchen. The owner cooked us half of a free-range chicken by using the traditional big pot and firewood. We shared a pot of rice with the owner’s family. I loved it that the bowls and chopsticks were disinfected in the disinfection cabinet. After the meal, my parents went back to the hotel for rest. My wife and I did some photographing in the town. At about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, we fetched my parents and did some touring in the town again. This time, we met the owner of Family Guo’s Courtyard. We chatted and sang. It was hard to say goodbye with each other at the end. Well, we had to. We hurried to the post office and sent out a few post cards with our best wishes before went back to hotel.
Day Four: Huangyao Ancient Town, Guilin, Reed Flute Cave
3 hours’ driving took us from Huangyao Ancient Town back to Guilin. The rooms were not ready for us at 11 o’clock, so we deposited our baggage and headed out for a meal. After check-in at 13:30, we rested for a while. Later, we set out for Reed Flute Cave. I bought the tickets from a team-buying website, so the fare was much lower than the official ticket, 120rmb. The Cave certainly deserved to be called “the State Guests Cave”. There were so many kinds of stalactites, formed for various reasons and diverse in appearance. Besides, the explanation was first-class and the colorful lights changed unpredictably. These all presented us a wonderland, which made us linger. Just a small niggle, too many fairy tales included in the explanation and lack of popular science knowledge.
Day Five: Guilin, Dragon Ridge Terrace, Guilin
We had a day tour of the Dragon Ridge Terrace today without a stay-over. I took G321 road from Guilin to Longji Peace Bridge. The road condition was good. There was a toll gate just after a right turn under the Peace Bridge. After the toll gate, it was the narrow town road. We saw a few landslide areas on the way and the road condition was not very good. I drove very slowly and it was fine. We drove all the way to Da Zhai where we could take the cable car. The cable car took about 18 minutes and then we were there at the Golden Buddha Hilltop (Jin Fo Ding in Chinese). It was easy by using the cable car but less fun. Well, we had no choice with my parents in the group. The scenery was incredible. This place is so prefect for photographing. We took the cable car down later and drove back to the hotel in Guilin. After a bit rest, we ate the Roast Goose of Chun’s. It was quite tasty.
Day Six: Departure from Guilin
We took our flight back home today. This was definitely a memorable trip.