April 11, 2010
After a lovely Li River cruise, our next goal was to find and check in at our guesthouse in Xingping.
Our boat unloaded the four of us to a small bank where a few vendors and minivans/multicabs where parked. We decided against riding coz we saw buildings just up ahead and thought that our inn would be somewhere along that area. We kept on walking and I didn’t mind it at all, the pretty landscape surrounding us was enough to keep me distracted.
However, as we walked the stretch of endless road, buildings were getting scarcer and scarcer in between (and with no cars nor people in sight), it got harder for me to keep moving forward because I didn’t know where we were nor do we have any idea of our proximity from our destination. I was thinking to myself “please don’t let us get lost in the middle of nowhere!” Good thing I was traveling with a very patient person because I was getting irritable. He easily kept his cool. :) There were many fruit bearing shrubs and I was very tempted to take some from them coz I was getting hungry. I didn’t. I wouldn’t. haha
A multicab filled with passengers would pass by at least every 20minutes, since I was beat, I made him agree to catch the next one, alas! It was also full. Lucky us, another one passed and the driver was able to squeeze us in. We were facing the rest of the passengers, mostly elementary school girls. Most of which were giggling a lot (hmmm… I wonder why) :D
Turns out we were still several kilometers away from our destination. Our destination was the port where the big boats dock for more sightseeing for their passengers. Our guesthouse was just by the riverside. We stayed at Laozhaishan Hotel, owned and operated by a Japanese man and his Chinese wife. The inn is right by the river. There is a Japanese garden outside and the view from their rooms is just superb! At first glance, the place looks cluttered. However, if you’ll look closely, you’ll see that each item is special for them. The stairs leading upstairs as well as the hallway on the 2nd floor was a bit dark. Linens used seemed a bit old and the bathroom wasn’t in perfect condition. It seemed like we were the only guest there though we did meet a few more. Despite all of these flaws, my companion wanted us to stay here because he has heard so much about the inn’s owner, Mr Hayashi, that he wanted to meet him.
The view of the river from our room
Inside the hostel
The owners were very kind. They were fussing over us, more so to my companion who is also Japanese. They were all speaking in Japanese, I didn’t understand a thing, though they’d translate some for me from time to time. They asked us what we’d like to have for dinner because they will cook for us (we were gonna cook for them too but it didn’t happen) so I said chicken, my fave. :)
After checking in our stuff, we decided to explore the area. Xingping is a small flat town along the Li River surrounded by beautiful karst mountains. Located between Guilin and (27kms upstream from) Yangshuo, it doesn’t get that much visitors. It didn’t take us long to actually walk around town. There is one main road and there are many stores alongside it some of which were selling very cheap stuff (i was able to buy a toothpaste for 2rmb and some drinks for 2-4rmb), as well as many affordable eateries and a few hostel. Most of the buildings along the main street seemed new. There is a portion of the village wherein you’ll see the old streets though. They were very interesting, it felt like I was walking around ancient China. I met an old man who’s selling his paintings of the Li River along one of the old streets for around 30rmb (you can initially haggle it down to 20) but I got it for 5rmb. I wanted to buy around 10-15pcs for maybe 4rmb each as gifts for friends but he shooed me away coz he said the other tourists would buy his work for at least 20rmb! He said I was such a cheapskate! haha I liked his work but as I saw when I got to Yangshuo, his work was that of an amateur. I wanted t0 take a picture of him with his many paintings but then we would have to shell out some yuan so I didn’t.
DIY: Chinese Visa Application
First time in Mainland China
To Guilin By Train
Cruising the Li River
Trekking a Karst Mountain
Arrival in Yangshuo