Thought I’d blog about the tour I went on during my time in China in January! Can’t believe its only been two months since I’ve been overseas but it actually feels alot longer! My mother LOVES day trips and travelling and exploring new places.. so whenever we go back to China to see relatives my mum always squeezes in a couple of days to go on a tour. I remember the previous tour I went to with my mum was back in 2012 where we went on a tour through Beijing. Apparently I went there when I was a small baby but obviously hadn’t remembered anything of it so it was great to go and explore the capital! This time round my mum decided to go to a place called Guilin.
Guilin is located in the northeast part of the Guangxi Region in south China. It’s one of the main destinations for tourism due to it’s natural beauty. Before going there I honestly never heard of the place but I was excited to explore it all the same. I think probably the worst thing about the tour was that we booked it during an awkward date… We got there on the 31st of december (Meaning I missed out on any kind of new year celebrations 🙁 )It was meant to be a six day tour but actually turned out to be a four day tour due to the time it took to get to Guilin in the first place. On the first day we took the bullet train from Guangzhou train station to Guilin which took about 3 hours. It actually looked EXACTLY like the bullet trains in Japan. I kid you not. It was my first time in a Chinese one and it was still a pretty smooth ride to Guilin station.
After two confusing and cramp public bus rides later we finally arrived at our hotel for the night and decided to go explore the area. It was very very crowded with people in the city. Scooters, cares and makeshift buses were everywhere and there didn’t seem to be any rules for motorists (or perhaps just didn’t want to follow them properly) It was quite different to Guangzhou in the fact that it seemed alot more disorganised .. Besides that chilled out first day the rest of the tour was PACKED with activities and visits to tourist shops.
If you’ve ever been on an all chinese tour you will know what I mean about going to tourist shops. Due to the fact that the tour in Australia was roughly only $200… the tour group takes you to all these different shops to try and sell you things so that in turn the tourist companies get commission. It is the BIGGEST waste of time.. because that means.. even though you may have got a bargain cheap tour, you waste half your day in jade and pearl shops, silk bedding shops, tea shops, bamboo product shops, foot massage parlours that try to sell you herbal medicine and lots and lots of street stalls. So basically a lot of our sight seeing time was cut short because of this. I think this time round I didnt really mind it (because I had already experienced it in Beijing) and it was easy for me to just say ‘no i don’t want to buy it’ to everyone.
Even though that was quite a damper to the tour I did enjoy it. I made new friends who coincidentally are all from Sydney, took heaps of photos, met some interesting locals, ate heaappsss of food, rode on many a boat ride, travelled on cable cars and saw some amazing scenery! Some of the places we visted included: Elephant Trunk Hill, Sun and Moon Pagoda, Longji Rice fields, Seven star caves (that reminded me of Jenolan caves) and the Li river. Here are some of the photos I was able to snap!