Guilin, March 2019

Our last visit to China was in 2015 with our friends Pat and Roger, I published four reports about the trip, there was so much to see ūüėČ This time the same problem, I took almost 1000 pictures. Planning to write three reports, but that will take time.

Here is a first impression, just a few photos for each day of our visit with a short description

Friday 1 March

We had to wake up at the ungodly hour of 3am to catch our Air Asia flight to Guilin! The airport of Guilin is brand new. As it was cold and drizzling, we took a taxi to our hotel in the center of the old town and we had our first Guilin food, quit porky ūüėČ

In the evening we went out to have a look at the twin pagodas, one of the (modern!) tourist attractions of Guilin.

Saturday 2 March

Cold and grey weather, we decided to visit the Reed Flute Cave, one of the many caves in the region. A showcave, with gaudy colors.

The cave is located on the outskirts of Guilin and a real tourist attraction with guided tours.

Sunday 3 March

We left most of our luggage in our Guilin hotel and took a bus to Longji, with its famous terraced rice fields. The hotel Aric had booked, was located high up in the hills and could only be reached on foot! It was still off-season, there were hardly any other guests. We were lucky that the weather was quite good this day.

The view from our balcony was spectacular and worth the steep climb ūüėČ

Monday 4 March

The weather was foggy with intermittent drizzle. Good that we had brought our umbrellas. We walked two hours among the rice fields to the cable car station. Then we took the cable car down to the bus station, had lunch and walked up again to our hotel.

An iconic picture as a reward !

Tuesday 5 March

Originally we had planned to stay three nights in Longji, but two nights was enough. We walked back to the bus station following the footpath, passing picturesque villages. The local people are still wearing traditional dress.

Back in Guilin, we had enough time to visit one of the Guilin landmarks, the Elephant Trunk Hill. Because of the frequent rains, the water level was high, impossible to walk under the trunk.

Wednesday 6 March

Before leaving for Yangshuo, we spent the morning, visiting the Jingjiang Princes’ Palace, a kind of Forbidden City in Guilin. We climbed an isolated limestone hill within the compound, with a nice view of the karst hills surrounding Guilin.

Yangshuo is the main tourist center of the Guilin region. About one hour south by bus. Aric had found another romantic hotel/homestay, with a balcony overlooking the river. You can see the town on the other side of the river, the water level was so high that the usual crossing by ferry had stopped!

Thursday 7 March

Raining the whole day, we decided to have a rest day, had lunch in a local shop nearby and asked our hostess to prepare dinner for us, the local speciality, fish in beer sauce.

It was a nice meal, notice the people at the back, playing cards, with a electrical heater under the table… ūüėČ

Friday 8 March

The weather was a little bit better, but still very misty. We decided to visit XingPing, a small town, north of Yangshuo. We walked along the Li river and climbed another steep limestone rock. Good exercise, but no view ūüėČ

The traditional way of fishing is by using cormorants to catch the fish. Nowadays mostly a tourist attraction.

Saturday 9 March

Not yet sunny, but no rain, so we hired a bike, to explore the surroundings of Yangshuo. One of the attractions is the Moon Hill, another steep climb, but the view was fantastic. Many tourists here and eateries along the road. We tried a local speciality, pork with yam. We are not very impressed by the local cuisine, but this was eatable .

The landscapes are impressive.

In the evening we went to the Liu San Jie musical show. The show is based on the legend of Third Sister Liu, in 1961 a beautiful movie was made about her, which you can view on YouTube: Liu Sanjie

Sunday 10 March

Slowly the weather was improving. We went to Gongcheng, hoping to see the peach blossom, but not expecting too much, because of the cold weather. Not easy to find the place, first a big bus, then a smaller van, finally a three-wheel taxi.

With the help of our friendly lady-driver we managed to find a few nice spots with blossom. Not really clear if the season was over or not yet started.

After this excursion we took the bus back to Guilin. A bit reluctantly, because now finally the weather was nice. The water level in the river had gone down, riverboats were operating again.

Monday 11 March

Our last day was the first day with beautiful weather. First we walked along the river.

The rest of the day we spent in the Seven Star Park, the largest park of Guilin. There is a lot to see, caves, limestone outcrops (like the Camel hill) , temples, etc.

We climbed one more hill, with a view. No jackets needed ūüėČ

After a long, nice day, we enjoyed the sunset from our hotel room, with a glass of local firewater .

Tuesday 12 March

Before going to the airport, we had the traditional noodle breakfast. Near our hotel was a popular shop, people were queuing, and had their bowl of noodles often just standing outside. I love all kind of noodles, but this was not my favourite.

Back home. We were a bit unlucky with the weather, but still a memorable trip.

Journal 1-10-2015

It’s a long time ago that I wrote my last regular journal!¬†Time for an update, in chronological order.

25 July

Durian trip with Joe Yap. Joe has a relative in Kg Chetang¬†(near Raub) who has a durian farm. When she told me that she would go there and if I would like to join, I could not say no, of course..:-) ¬†After a dim sum breakfast in PJ we went to the farm. It was high season,¬†we had a lot of Musang King and Joe’s friends bought a lot to bring home. After having (too) many durians we used¬†the traditional way to remove¬†the smell¬†. ¬†Wash your hands with water flowing over the husk, and drink water from¬†the husk. Does it really work? Not sure, but it was fun.

8 August

Trip to the Chiling waterfall with Edwin, Janine and¬†friends. I must have visited this waterfall more than a dozen times in the past decade, the hike with its many river crossings never gets boring…:-) This time our target was the remote top Chiling fall, also¬†known as the Jewel of Selangor. As the friends of Janine were newbie hikers, they decided to stop at the main fall. Edwin, Rani and I continued, ignoring a¬†recently placed signboard…:-)The reason for this signboard is apparently that accidents have happened at the upper falls. It’s another hour hike to this top fall. Beautiful pool.

15-17 August

More waterfalls the next weekend. Through my waterfall website I had come in contact with Ibrahim, a waterfall explorer from Perak. He suggested a waterfall recce in the Sg Siput region. I have reported about this trip in a separate post: Sg Siput Waterfall Recce Here pictures of the waterfalls we visited.

25 August

Another waterfall visit, this time with our British friends Pat and Roger. We went to the Chamang waterfall near Bentong. On our way back, we took the old road, passing a hot spring that has recently been renovated. We decided to have a bath here and as usual we ended the day with a nice dinner.

29-30 August

The following weekend ¬†for a change not a waterfall but a mountain!¬†My friend Rani had organised¬†a weekend trip for his (teacher) colleagues with their families to¬†the Cameron Highlands. Plan was to climb Gunung Irau, would i like to join? I am not really a mountain climber, but Gunung Irau, with its mossy forest, interested me, so I accepted his invitation. They¬†had rented two apartments in a Brinchang hotel, for twelve adults and numerous kids. I was a bit shy in the beginning, as probably were Rani’s colleagues too…:-). But what a nice group! ¬†And I was poplar with the kids, one of them immediately¬†ran to me and called me “apek”, grandfather!

The ladies, many of them teachers too, did not join in the hike, but prepared delicious Malay food. And of course went shopping..:-)

The next morning we drove to the trail head and started our hike, together with numerous other climbers, because Gunung Irau is a popular destination. Here is our group, at the start and at the summit. Small detail: as you have to grab trees often during the climb, Rani had bought gloves for me. They were useful, although, as my friends pointed out, I was using them inside out…:-)

The trail head is at 2000 m, the summit at 2110 m. Distance 2.4 km. Easy hike?¬† Forget about it. You have to follow a¬†ridge which goes uphill, downhill, uphill, downhill and so on…Here is a collage of my struggle with Gunung Irau. As you can see, much of the mossy forest has been destroyed because of¬†too many visitors, causing the trail to become extremely muddy.

Gunung Irau and me

But I reached the peak! Many people there congratulating me that I, a senior citizen, had made it…:-). ¬†Then it started to rain. The hike back was very tiring. Happy that I made it, but this was a once in a lifetime experience for me.

Latest news: The Gunung Irau trail has now been closed to the public, effective Oct 1 until mid-2016. I hope it will help.

6-19 September

Good that I¬†had a few days to recover before Aric and I¬†left for China with Pat and Roger..:-) The 14-day trip¬†was the result of a promise made by Aric, a few years ago already, to show them China. We started in Xi’an, followed by Suzhou, Zhouzhuang and finally Shanghai. I took more than 1500 pictures and it will take time to write a detailed report about this fascinating¬†trip. ¬†Here an impression.

26 September

We celebrated the Mid-Autumn (mooncake) festival in Kepong, where Aric’s uncle lives. The family had booked a lok lok car. Lok lok is a Malaysian specialty, a bit similat to steamboat. It was a happy celebration, because Aric’s mother after suffering¬†a stroke¬†in August¬†and being¬†in hospital for some time, now¬†had recovered, so she could attend the celebration.

 

I will do my best to update this blog more regularly…:-)