It did not matter who we asked or how many, there were always two destinations that were continuously recommended by friends, family, and even strangers. One of them is Guilin, while the other one is Zhangjiajie also known as the Avatar Mountains, and stay tuned for this one, cause it will be featured by one daring guest writer.
On the day of departure, we woke up early in the morning, and realised that taking the metro would implicate missing the train from Guangzhou to Guilin. So the only option left was taking a taxi, but it was 6 AM in the morning, so our first thought was “will there even be taxis in this remote area?”. We took our luggage and rushed downstairs in hopes of finding a taxi, and yes we found one, but it simply passed us while we were waving, even though it had no one inside. Several minutes later another taxi arrived and told us that he and the majority of his colleagues were heading home, and if we wanted his service it would cost 10 yuan more. We accepted his offer and caught our train right on time, phewww.
After we arrived in Guilin, we took the bus to our accommodation named “Wada Hostel,” and this is without questioning a place to recommend. The hostel is clean, inexpensive, and enjoys a pretty cozy atmosphere.
For the first day, we explored the Two Rivers and the Four Lakes at the centre of the city, and o o o, be aware of the many tourist traps in Guilin. Guilin attracts million and millions of domestic and international travellers, which led to the commercialisation of almost anything — including overpriced not-so-worthy attractions (a.k.a. “tourist traps”). One more thing, Guilin’s as well as Yangshuo’s attraction fees range from 40 to 220 RMB, while the range for attractions in Beijing were only 10 to 60 RMB.
At the Two Rivers and the Four Lakes, we opted for a stroll through the scenery instead of a boat trip. Furthermore, we explored the island on the Ronghu Lake, took a ride on a rocky horse as well as carving something memorable on a bamboo, and before we knew it, it was time to travel to Diecai hill in order to witness an unforgettable sunset!
Diecai Hill is the highest hill in town and therefore the greatest spot for enjoying Guilin’s beautiful sunset. On the way to the top, climbers will be surprised by the endless stream of stunning views, as if every spot around the hill was shaped to be photographed. Roughly halfway to the top awaits a cave with religious carvings, and as a bonus, the cave features a reclining buddha with a big smile, as it probably tries to convey the message: “you are almost there, you can do it!”.
From the Diecai Hill, it is possible to view Guilin’s signature attraction, namely the Elephant Trunk Hill without paying 55 RMB per person to enter the aforementioned place. The hill’s name is derived from its appearance because it looks like an elephant stretching its trunk to drink water.
After a ‘few’ more steps we had finally reached the top, and it was time to enjoy the breathtaking view with peace, while conversing with strangers — including a super enthusiastic grandma. Time flew by at this point, but the sunset as well as the overall scenery made the first day in Guilin magical.
On our way to the exit, we accidentally found a spot that was so picturesque and so peaceful, that we had to enjoy the moment a bit more.