Posts Tagged ‘ Guilin ’

Best of Travel Photos: My 7 Super Shots

Aleah of Solitary Wanderer a.k.a. the infamous writer of “Date A Girl Who Travels” kindly included me in this online tagging that’s been going on that was started by HostelBookers 7 Super Shots. You’re supposed to choose seven pictures from the ones you’ve already taken that you think best corresponds to the theme that they’re looking for. Then choose 5 more bloggers to continue the cycle.

When she asked me if I’d like to participate, I told her that my photos can’t compare to theirs coz I looked at what they have and I was just blown away! She encouraged me to do it and I’m happy I did! It was very nice looking back at some (I have tons of photos that it’d be impossible to do so ;)) of my travel pictures. Definitely brought back wonderful memories with friends and loved ones from the crazy adventures to those chill out moments.

Takes  My Breath Away

Iligan’s Tinago Falls

Iligan is known as the city of majestic waterfalls and they’re totally right! I cajoled my buddies into going there so that we could see this waterfall and the long trip was definitely worth it. Tinago (meaning hidden in English) Falls is appropriately named coz it took us a flight to Cagayan de Oro from Manila, an almost 3 hours bus ride to Iligan, a multicab and a motorbike ride afterwards to get there plus not to forget the almost 400+ steps that would lead you down to it!

Makes Me Dream

The Peak view at night

The view from the peak is one of Hong Kong’s major touristic attraction. At anytime, the view is amazing. However, you would be squeezing yourself against the hundreds and hundreds of tourists who go there for it. On one of my trips to HK, I met this guy and we went to the Peak quite late at night and we had the place to ourself! We were enjoying this wonderful view that we weren’t sharing with anyone else (alright, with maybe a handul but they’re nowhere near us hehehe) while having some drinks. It’s such a bustling city but it looks calm from up here. Makes me dream of the many possibilities ahead of us. =)

Makes Me Think

The garden of Versailles

On my first trip to mainland Europe, France was my destination. Two French friends accompanied me for a daytrip to Versailles to stroll in its gardens and to check out the palace. I’ve heard that both are big and wonderful so I was sort of expecting it. But when I got there and saw the garden.. Oh dear! It was just HUGE! Basically, as far as I can see, THAT is the garden! It is just too much grandeur and splendour for a few people.  I know they were for the royalties, built just for then even, but still! How could… Why would… Ah.. Uhmm.. Too much! Hehe I was overwhelmed!

Makes Me Smile

Early morning in Camiguin’s White Island

When I went on a trip with 2 of my travel buddies to Mindanao, my first on this very beautiful part of the Philippines, we went to the island of Camiguin. One really early morning, we hired a boat to take us to White Island. It’s such a beautiful place right smack in the middle of the sea and we were there all sleepy waiting for the sun to rise. We were all so tired coz it was the 4th day of our trip and it was our fourth province, it was too much in too little time! The beauty there just gave us back our energy and made the trip worth it. Thinking back about that place and this trip still brings a smile to my face. :)

Makes My Mouth Water

Currently, I’m living in London. What I miss most from home aside from my loved ones are its food and (fantastic) beaches! If there’s one thing I crave the most for, it has got to be Philippines’ ripe yellow mangoes. The more fragrant, the sweeter it will be! Mmmm! And mangoes made into shakes are, for me, the perfect accompaniment to every meal! I’d always tell my mom when we’re talking, “Mommy, make sure you have mangoes when you’ll fetch me at the airport!” :D

Tells A Story

Sunset in Boracay

Boracay Island is a famous party beach place. Amidst all that partying though, people also do go there to have a nice quiet time. One sunset as I was by the beachfront with a friend, I saw them all cozy up. This just goes to show that Boracay’s beauty is for everyone.

I’m Most Proud Of: My Worthy of National Geographic Shot

Karst splendour in Guilin :)

I don’t really know what constitutes a NatGeo shot. I do know that it’s something really cool! This is where I found it most hard to choose coz this category may mean differently for each person. For my first trip to mainland China, a good friend and I went to Guilin province because of its natural beauty. We stayed at a hostel owned by a Japanese and Chinese couple. The owner’splace is just beside a karst mountain and he spent many laborious hours buidling steps to reach the top and had a pavilion built there named, Friendship Pavilion. The view from the top is simply amazing and from there you can view the small town of Xingping and surrounding places. This may be one of the reasons as to why I’m partial to karst mountains! ;)

Hope you guys liked those photos!

Now I’m going to tag Chichi of We Are Sole Sisters; Renz of The Traveling Nomad; Ron of Flip Travels; Mica of Senyorita and Marky of Nomadic Experiences. Happy choosing guys! :D

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China – Xingping (part 2)

April 11, 2010

While we were cruising the Li River and admiring the views we were seeing, I asked my companion if it were possible to climb one of  those mountains and he said yes. Amazingly, the inn where we’re staying at was built on the foot of one of the karst mountains. Our inn owner built a walkway(!) to the top of the mountain; all 1,159 steps of it using his own money, time, and effort. One only has to follow the markers that he put up along the way. The climb can be slippery and steep at some point so it pays to always be cautious. It is a bit tiring but there is a pavilion halfway and at the top where you can rest and enjoy the view of the Li River,  Xingping and the surrounding area. It is recommended by our host to stay there for the sunset as the view is stunning but I didn’t want to risk going back down in the dark so we didn’t wait for it. The view was still beautiful. :)

The map of the climb :)

Just follow the arrow

The path on the right leads upward while the one on the left would lead you back to the Japanese garden

Halfway through the trek; inside the Peace Pavilion

Watch your step!

Viewing the Li River from above

The town of Xingping

Friendship Pavilion, a place to rest at while atop the mountain

Enjoying the breeze

Viewing the opposite bank of the river

It was almost dark when we got back to the inn. Our hostess had cooked a sumptuous meal for us and we joined their family for supper. She prepared four dishes, all of which I’ve tasted for the first time but enjoyed it all the same. If there’s one thing I noticed about Chinese cooking, it’s that when they serve poultry dishes, it’s mostly bones! What happened to all the chicken meat??? Guess they just love to chew and suck on chicken bones. hehe Another custom of theirs that’s different from us is the fact that they’d put their discarded food/ bones on the table itself and not on a small dish, bowl nor at the edge of their plate. I was just a bit surprised at first because it went against what I’ve been taught my whole life but no big deal there for me. Dinner lasted for more than 3 hours because of the conversation. We had to call it a night when it became too chilly to just hang out by the dining area.

Enjoying home cooked dinner

Picture with our hosts before leaving for Yangshuo

http://www.laozhaishan.com/

Room rate: 100rmb/ room/ night with internet cable

Related Posts:

DIY: Chinese Visa Application

First time in Mainland China

To Guilin By Train

Cruising the Li River

The Quaint Town of Xingping

Arrival in Yangshuo

China – Xingping (part 1)

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

Looking around

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.

Souvenir stalls

Old street

Related Posts:

DIY: Chinese Visa Application

First time in Mainland China

To Guilin By Train

Cruising the Li River

Trekking a Karst Mountain

Arrival in Yangshuo

China – Guilin (part 1)

April 11, 2010

Woke up when the train got to Guilin. I’m excited already!

It was cold and foggy when we got off the train. The next thing I noticed was a group of travelers (they were whites and they all had huge backpacks) looking clueless (I wonder if we seemed that way too ^_^). They were approached by an official looking guy and were led to a tourist information center. We followed suit. ;) Inside, they’ll brief you about their city: what to do, what to see, how to get around, they even gave us a map of the city. Very, very helpful people (not to mention kind too)!

What I wanted to do that day was to take the Li River cruise. We were booked that day for a guesthouse in Xingping. To save on time and money, we decided that it’s best for us to take the river cruise and then get off at Xing Ping. Hitting two birds with one stone. We just have to find someone who’ll give us a good deal. :)

Getting out of the train station, people offering various tours and packages swarmed us again. I was acting nonchalant and I was determined to ignore those who were quoting huge numbers for the Li river cruise (350 rmb is the standard rate). We got it down to 100rmb each! I was happy with that until I learned that the 2 locals we traveled with got theirs for 75rmb each. Oh well. ALWAYS always haggle! ;)

We were made to wait in a small, poorly lit lobby after paying for the trip. The lady we talked with then went back outside, probably to look for other tourists. We haven’t had our breakfast yet so we bought some foods sold along the street (freshly cooked rice cakes and breads). We were made to wait for around 30minutes, I was starting to get impatient and was thinking that she might have forgotten us already (or worse, that we fell for a scam!). hehe After x-minutes, she came back for us and led the way to a non-airconditioned (there was no need as it was very cold)  mini bus full of locals. We made another (not-so) quick stop downtown where one or two more got in and we were finally on our way.

Once outside the city proper, there were tons of strawberry fields along the way. The scenery didn’t bore me as I got a glimpse of several karst mountains every now and then. After almost an hour of land travel, we were at our destination (no idea where coz we’re not really able to communicate with them).

Guilin's karst mountains

Strawberry fields!

Luscious berries

Upon alighting from the bus, we made a beeline for the food vendors! hehe There were a lot to choose from: sweet potatoes of different varieties, nuts, breads, strawberries and other fruits, etc. Strawberries for me coz they look so delicious! One pack, probably around 500gms, costs 5rmb. I thought it was cheap :D

After a while, we weren’t done eating yet, the lady approached us and told us to follow her, again. Behind her were two Chinese tourists. We walked towards the river bank to where bamboo rafts were docked. One was made ready and we, the four of us, went in. My friend and I got the back seat. This is where we started our Li River Cruise. Yay!

Walking towards Li River

There are 3 options when doing the Li River cruise. You can go on a big airconditioned boat with Chinese & English speaking tourguides and lunch with lots of other tourists (most expensive); a big non airconditioned boat with Chinese speaking guide and a packed lunch with the tourists too; or you can ride a bamboo raft and enjoy having it to yourself (cheapest). ;)

Docked bamboo rafts

The big boats cruising the river

Our boatman also acted as our guide. He’d point out a mountain formation and would tell us something about it, about its history, how it got its name, what it’s supposed to look like I guess. Too bad that he only speaks Chinese. lol I was just taking a guess as to what he was saying hehehe I ended up trying to pinpoint spots he’d point out. ;)

Our boatman/guide

Some pics of the famous Li River

Having your own raft (yeah, so we shared it with two more :p), eating delicious foods while on a river cruise with very scenic views totally made my day! :D

Related Posts:

DIY: Chinese Visa Application

First time in Mainland China

To Guilin By Train

The Quaint Town of Xingping

Trekking a Karst Mountain

Arrival in Yangshuo

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