Tag Archives: Guilin

Guilin, China: Fubo Hill

My last stop in Guilin is going to be Fubo Hill.   Making it here will be an accomplishment as I have tried a couple of times now and ended up lost.  By now I can kind of figure out how to walk here from my hotel, but I am not leaving from my hotel.  Nope, I am leaving from Yao Mountain.  Boy was this a production.

I want to take a cab to Fubo Hill from Yao Mountain.  There are lots of drivers in the parking lot, none of whom will pay attention to me when I approach them.  A couple walked away, one was sitting in his car and rolled up the window.   I find a group of cab drivers all together.  One keeps putting out a huge wad of cash and flashing hundreds at me to the point I wondered if maybe “taxi” or “Fubo Hill” sounded like “hooker” in Mandarin.

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Okay screw you guys, I will walk all the way out of here back to the main road and catch a bus.  This is a pretty long walk as I saw on the way up here.  But I have a hill to see and then a flight to catch, so off I go.

As I am walking down the hill, a cab stops for me.   He is yelling “FUBO HILL” at me and I am ignoring him.   I am pretty far down and I no longer need a cab since I am already gross and sweaty from the walk.  He keeps yelling at me, I keep ignoring him, pretending I am so engrossed in taking pictures of whatever this is (I have no idea what this is):
park outside yao“FUBO FORTY YUAN.  FUBO FORTY YUAN”

It becomes clear that he is never going to stop yelling at me until I get in the cab.  I get in the cab.

Fubo Hill!  I am finally here!   Hello General Fubo!

general fuboEntrance:
Fubo Hill entrance Guilin ChinaLook at the giant topiary peacock!

fubo hill peacockAnd Fubo Hill with the peacock’s head sticking out below:
Fubo HillI tried to go into the Thousand Buddha Cave and got shooed out.

golden statue

Back out on the other side, this is Sword Testing Rock where legend has it that General Fubo had used this rock to test his sword.

IMG_1053There are also carvings and statues:

fubo hill1 fubo hill statues fubo hill grottoAfter leaving here, it was time to go back to my hotel to collect my stuff and head to the airport.  To prove once and for all that after all the times I got lost looking for the bus to Fubo Hill this trip, I did actually know where I was, I walked back to my hotel.

Guilin, China: Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces Day!

I am up early for my trip to the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces  in Longsheng County, China.  This is such a huge wish list item for me and I just cannot believe I am finally going to visit a rice terrace!

I booked the trip through my hostel in Guilin.  It cost me 220 RMB ($35 USD) for the tour.  This is considered a very expensive tourist attraction for China.  I still think it was a bargain.

I had to meet my bus outside.  While waiting, I met a guy who was staying in my hostel, who was also making the trip.  Typical me felt like an asshole for not wanting to make a new friend.

I know there are a lot of shy people out there who find making conversation with strangers very painful.  See, the thing about me is that I am not shy.  At all.  I just honestly prefer my own company.  I don’t think talking to strangers is scary, I think it is exhausting.  I have had so many people come in and out of my life that I am just honestly happier when I am all by myself.  It is easier.

Fortunately, my new almost-friend did not sit next to me on the bus.  I felt relief and again, felt like an asshole.

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The bus was hot and the vents were blowing hot air.  Then we came upon a traffic accident and got stuck for over an hour in traffic.  Get on the bus, burning.  Get off the bus, pouring rain.

While I was alternating between the discomfort of pouring rain and bigger discomfort of burning bus, I noticed a couple wearing the same outfit.   While this was the first time I saw this in China, it was not the last.   It seems this is the “in” thing to do.  Boyfriends and girlfriends wearing the same outfit, usually a t-shirt with some cutesy character on it.  I saw everything from Minnie Mouse to Sponge Bob Squarepants and tons of characters I did not recognize.

When we got to Longsheng, we had to transfer from our bus to another bus that was suited to drive up narrow and windy roads.  Then we got to the rice terraces and ate lunch at the rice terraces restaurant, which is for sure a kickback type of thing for the tour company.  We were also presented with the opportunity to buy perfume on the way home, same deal.

The restaurant was pretty cheap and it was really good.   There was such an adorable puppy wandering around.  I wanted to steal him.

My friend from the hostel asked if he could sit with me.   He is from the States and has been working in Shanghai.  He had five weeks left in China between the end of his job and returning home so off he goes to see the country.

At the rice terraces, you have options.  You can walk up and down, or take a cable car.  You can also mix and match and take a cable car one way and walk the other.  The cable car cost is in addition to the tour that I paid for at my hotel.  We all made our choices (mine was to take a cable car up and then walk down) and paid the driver’s assistant on the bus.  A one way cable car ride was 70 RMB ($11.41 USD.)

We shared the cable car ride.   Again, introverted me kind of wanted to be alone.  Oh woe is me, some nice guy is trying to be friendly with me.  Wah.  Yes, I know.

The cable car reeked of cat but at least it was open.

Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces, Longsheng China cable cars

The rice terraces, WOW.  I have wanted to see one for so long.  It is astounding how beautiful they are.  The idea that this is all man made is crazy.

Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces, Longsheng China with town belowDragon's Backbone Rice Terraces, Longsheng China close upDragon's Backbone Rice Terraces, Longsheng ChinaDragon's Backbone Rice Terraces, Longsheng Chinadragons backbone rice terracesDragon's Backbone Rice Terraces, Longsheng China

As if that wasn’t enough, I also got to see an adorable mother and puppy:

longsheng mother and puppy

Since it had been raining, everything is wet and slippery.  Add to that my gripping fear that I am going to fall and twist my ankle on these horrible steps.  They kept alternating in both size and steepness.

steps of death Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces, Longsheng China

slippery walkway Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces, Longsheng China

I decided to get a head start walking down.   It was really bad in some spots and then it happened – I actually fell and slid down a few steps.  Of course, by this time some people had caught up to me and saw it.  I wasn’t really embarrassed but it turned into this whole thing with Chinese people who do not speak English, trying to show me how to walk down the stairs.  Meanwhile they all have tiny feet that fit on the smaller steps and I have big dopey Westerner feet that do not.

I keep going and slipping and freaking out.  Then my friend from the hostel catches up to me.  This poor guy.  He was so nice.  There were spots where he would hold my hand and guide me.  There were spots where I just all out could not handle how uneven and broken the path was.  I would have to sit down and scoot my way down because walking was not going to happen.

Meanwhile I am sweating and it is pouring into my eyes AND my glasses kept fogging up.  I was such a mess.  My poor friend would not leave me, and I felt horrible that I was holding him up.  I was so scared we were going to miss the bus.

Finally we get all the way down to the town and OH HEY I  MADE IT!

Houses at Longsheng Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces Guilin China

We probably had literally like one minute before the  bus left.   Whew!

This is the guy who was super nice enough to make sure I made it down okay.  I never even bothered to learn his name.   Those of you who prefer solitude in life will understand.  Those of you who enjoy human interaction will think I am a big bitch.   Those who prefer solitude in life will  understand that I don’t care who thinks I am a bitch because the more people who think I am a bitch = the less people who try and talk to me.  Those who don’t understand are now thinking I am vain and think I am better than everyone.  I am not sure why that tends to be the natural progression, but I have dealt with the internet cutting me down long enough that I recognize the pattern, however odd it is.

thanks for saving my life

When we got back to Guilin, I stopped to get some milk tea.  When I stepped out of the store, I saw a circle of little boys with their pants down, hands around their backs, having a pee off right there on the sidewalk.  No one passing by even gave a double take.  Sigh…China.

Guilin, China: Sun and Moon Pagodas

Following my morning at the Reed Flute Cave, I napped.  When I woke up later, I went outside and for the third time, tried to find the bus that goes to Fubo Hill.  I walked around in every direction from my hotel and all it got me was sweaty.  I kind of wanted to go back to my room and cry, but instead, I thought I might be near the Sun and Moon Pagodas.  I did have a map, but maps are useless to people who just cannot master reading them.

I walked for a bit and made the observation that there may very well be more scooters in China than in Naples.  The huge difference is that scooters in China are silent.  I mean REALLY silent.  So silent that at one point, I had the life scared out of me by a horn blaring at me.  I turned and the scooter was less than an inch from me and I never even heard it coming up.  I honestly thought at first that maybe for some reason, they were all turned off and just gliding.  Nope, dead silent motors.

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Walking around got me a lot of “HELLO” yelling.  I cannot accurately describe how much of a thrill the Chinese got out of yelling “HELLO” at me.  It was always men.  Not once did a woman acknowledge me.  It must be a cultural thing.

Imagine my shock when after walking for a while down a street, I found what I was looking for.  ER-MEH-GERD!  SUN AND MOON PAGODAS!

Sun and Moon Pagodas in Guilin China

Lake surrounding the pagodas:

lake around sun and moon pagodas

Garden area outside the pagodas:

park around sun and moon pagodas

sculptures near sun and moon pagodasFrom here I walked around a bit more.  I have obviously never been here before in my life, but Guilin just encouraged me to keep walking and looking at everything.

li river near sun and moon pagodaskarst background in guilin china

Somewhere way past the pagodas, while walking along the Li River, I found my friend Jerry the tour guide who once again, tried to get me to hire him to show me around.

I kept walking along the Li River aimlessly.  I felt like I might accidentally stumble upon Fubo Hill, which would have pissed me off after my three failed attempts to find it.  So I made a left and walked that way instead.

I found a main street and walked down it and suddenly realized that despite never having been here before, I knew exactly where I was and that this street would take me back to my hotel.  Woo hoo!

clock

I never once felt unsafe walking around unfamiliar streets.

Guilin is really beautiful and I could easily spend so much time just walking around and taking it all in.  If the rest of China is like this, then I owe it an apology for any preconceived notions I had about it.

Guilin, China: Bamboo Raft Ride on Fanglian Pool and Reed Flute Cave

Today’s plan was to go to Fubo Hill. To get there, you need to take bus #1. I could not find a bus stop for this line. So instead, I changed my plans and took the #3 bus to the Reed Flute Cave. Buses in Guilin are only 1 RMB, which is about fifteen American cents. Total bargain.

I was able to follow along the stops by simply looking out the window when we would stop and reading the name of the stop we were at on the bus stop sign. When we got to where the next stop was mine, I stood up. A Chinese man made gestures to show me “NO” and motioned for me to wait. Um, okay. In the end, it turns out that the stop for Reed Flute Cave is at the parking lot. The one right after leaves you directly at the entrance. Thank you kind sir!

I got off the bus and lit a cigarette. A man approaches me to try and sell me a ride on a bamboo raft on the little Fanglian Pool across the street. No matter what I said, he would not leave me alone. If I were not smoking, I would have walked away. Finally I decided it was easier to just take the damn ride (5 RMB = $.85 USD) than to sit there arguing any longer. For less than a dollar, it was worth it.

Fanglian pool bamboo raft ride outside Reed Flute Cave in Guilin China

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Fanglian pool outside reed flute cave guilin china background of fanglian pool guilin chinaFanglian Pool Guilin China

When you get out at the other side, you are bombarded by women selling post cards. The more you say “no”, the more they parrot you. So you are then walking through a wall of Chinese woman all yelling “NO” while giggling.

The Reed Flute Cave costs 120 RMB which is $19.55 USD. I thought this was ridiculously cheap. A man I met in my hostel later on thought it was insanely expensive. I guess it all depends on where you are from and what you are used to.

There are a bunch of steps and it looks like there is an elevator.  I could not see the way to go up in the elevator so I just hiked it.  There is a tram that I still have no idea where it goes.  Once you pay for  your ticket, you then have to wait for a time period and a guide will take you as a group.

The cave was amazing.  The guide did not give the tour in English so I have no clue what she was saying.  I gather she was hilarious judging by the amount of laughter she got from the group.

Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China

In the middle, you stop and there are videos broadcast on a wall.

After leaving here, I got back on the bus and took it to a main street that had a McDonalds on the corner.  I stopped there for lunch and met a girl who appeared to be in her teens, who told me she was an English major.  Problem was, I could barely understand anything she was saying.  She kept trying to talk to me.  It was so awkward because I had to keep asking “what?”  I was hoping she would not sit with me and my wish came true.  I hid in the corner of the restaurant by myself and tried to get WiFi on my phone.  Hmm, which network should I connect to?

wifi

After eating, I again try to find the bus to Fubo Hill.  Spoiler alert: days later I discovered it was right across the street from me but I did not see it because I was too busy buying milk tea and cake.

After building up some burn from never finding the bus, I went back to my room and took a nap in air conditioning, next to my bottle of delicious milk tea.

I can’t resist posting more pictures.

Reed Flute Cave in Guilin China Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China

Guilin, China: First Sleep on Mainland China!

I did a quick recap of Guilin, which included both cost and a huge bug that clearly was sent to murder me.  You can find that post here.

Arriving in Guilin, I was so excited.  I am finally really starting the mainland part of my trip to China.  Before leaving, I had done research so I knew how much a taxi would cost.  I was quoted a flat fee of $100 RMB, which is around $16 USD.  I took it.

If you go to Guilin and do not want to splurge for a taxi, have no fear.  You do not need to!  There is a shuttle bus that goes downtown for $20CNY ($3.25 USD)

The drive was ridiculously exciting to me.  I wanted to scream outside the cab window “Look at meeeeeeee.  I am in China!  By myself!  Wheeeeeeeee!”

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The ride to my hostel was about 45 minutes.  It kills me how cheap of a cab ride that is.  In my hometown of New York City, that would get me a couple of blocks in traffic.

I got to my hostel at around midnight.  I was staying at Green Forest Hostel.  I walked in and first thing, the cat that lives there hissed at me.  I think it may have been reacting to the dirty look I gave it.  Either way, I didn’t have any further altercations with it.

Checking in was easy, the young woman checking me in spoke English, no language barrier at all.

I was brought to my room, which has seen better days but who cares about dirty walls when you have freezing cold air conditioning?

Green Forest Hostel bed Guilin China

And yes, typical wet room – where you take a shower and everything gets soaking wet.  Added bonus, the room was up a step so I was constantly convinced I was going to slide and fall down the step and die.  I ended up using a towel as a runner to keep me from slipping and cracking my head open.  Housekeeping came in the next day and took it away from me and did not replace it.  I don’t know if this was an oversight or if I was being punished for misusing their towel.

Green Forest Hostel bathroom Guilin China

I paid extra for a view of the Li River.  I am the unluckiest person alive and got a view of these trees blocking my view of the river:

river view green forest hostel, guilin china

Still, I could not possibly have been happier to finally be here.

Quick Recap of Guilin, China

I will be posting tons of details and photos later on.  But for now, a quick recap.

How long was I in Guilin?  I arrived at midnight and had three full days plus a fourth almost full day before my 5:30 pm flight to Xi’an.

Where did I stay?  Green Forest Hostel.

How much was my hotel?  $576 Yuan = $92.20 USD.  I had a private room.  I paid extra for a room with a view of the Li River.  Unfortunately, there were trees blocking my view.

green forest hostel room view guilin china

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How much money did I spend in addition to my hotel?  $1058 Yuan = $169.36 USD

What did I spend that on?  

Biggest expense: A trip to Longsheng Rice Terraces – bucket list item and my reason for being in Guilin.  The tour, which I booked through my hostel, cost $220 Yuan ($35.21 USD) plus $70 Yuan for the cable car ($11.20 USD) plus an additional $37 Yuan ($5.92 USD) for lunch at the restaurant at the rice terraces.  You are kind of obligated to eat as part of the tour.

Most Unnecessary Expense:  Cabs to and from the airport.  I was riding my Macau win high decided to skip the bus and splurge.   From the airport, it was $100 Yuan ($16 USD.) Back to the airport, this time arranged by my hostel, it was $80 Yuan ($12.81 USD)  This is a 45 minute drive, mind you.

Cabs: $53 Yuan ($8.48 USD)  If I want to keep insisting that I do not like taking cabs, then I need to stop taking cabs.  But I did get very lost and had a flight to catch.  In order to finish out my sightseeing in Guilin, I needed to do it.

Reed Flute Cave: 120 Yuan ($19.19 USD)

Bamboo Raft Ride:  5 Yuan ($.80 USD)  This was outside the Reed Flute Cave.   I did not want to go on a Bamboo Raft Ride, but the guy was harassing me and I figured it was worth 80 cents to get him to leave me alone.

Elephant Trunk Hill:  75 Yuan ($11.99 USD)

Yao Mountain: 95 Yuan for the cable car ($15.19 USD)

Fubo Hill: 30 Yuan ($4.80 USD)

Bus rides:  5 Yuan ($.80 USD)  One Yuan per ride!  How cheap is that?

The rest was spent on iced milk tea (I drank about twelve of these, so deilcious and only 3 Yuan each), water and food.

Things I brought that are no longer with me:  I am down about ten packs of tissues from wiping so much sweat off my face.  Guilin was hot and HUMID.  I am also down five more Cliff bars.  I am supposed to be saving these for Tibet!  I had one sock vanish while doing laundry.

Things I accumulated along the way:  Not one damn thing!

Would I return to Guilin?  If I had an opportunity to pass through Guilin ever again during a time of the year when it is not so FREAKING hot, I would arrange for a night or two.  I would also stay at the same hostel absolutely definitely.

How many times did I have a Chinese person ask to take a picture with me?  ZERO!

How many times did I see split pants?  One!  They were in use at the time.  Sigh.

Did anything happen to traumatize you?  How odd you should ask that.  Why yes, I was traumatized walking down the steps at Longsheng Rice Terraces.   I do not know how many steps there are, but it has to be at least a thousand.  It is a 1580 meter hike down.  It was raining on and off and the steps are not at all even.  I was so scared I was going to fall and die.  And then I did fall!  Which made the rest of it pure hell for me.   There was one part where I just gave up and sat down and scooted through it.  It was ridiculous.

I sense there is more you are not telling us.  Wow, you are good.  Okay.  So.  I was walking up the steps to my hostel.  It had just finished raining and drops were falling.  I got hit in the shoulder with a LARGE raindrop and started to panic, flashing back to one time in Austin, Texas.  I had just gotten off the bus from a fest where I had drank for twelve straight hours in 105 degree weather and I wanted water. So I stop at the gas station at the bus stop.   Of course, it is temporarily closed for overnight inventory, but I decide to wait it out.  Next thing I know, these ENORMOUS bugs start falling from the roof.  They were so large they made noise when they landed.  They looked like big roaches.  I don’t really know what they were.  I asked my friend who lives in Austin what the big roach like bugs that fall from the sky are and his answer was “Uh…gross?”

So back to Guilin.  I know I am being ridiculous, it is just a drop of water, it just rained, there are drops falling everywhere.  Why do you have to be such a frightened maniac?

So I get to my room.  I am changing into my pajamas.   I feel something in my shirt when I go to take it off.  It feels like a wadded up piece of paper. Oh no.

I start panicking and I shake the shirt out and this WORLD’S BIGGEST INSECT EVER falls on the floor.  It was BIG.  Seriously.  I thought it was a wadded up piece of paper.  Go on, take a piece of paper and wad it up and see how big it is.  I’ll wait.

So I am now going to die.  This behemoth runs and hides under the over-the-foot part of the sandals the hostel gives you to use when you shower in the death trap that is a shower head in the middle of the bathroom.

I no longer have my shoes on so I grab the other sandal and try and murder the bug and maybe I did, maybe I didn’t.  But I had hit the spot it was in enough times that I am now brave enough to carry it to the toilet and send it off to its watery grave.

I could not get it out of the sandal. I kept smashing it against the toilet bowl and one HUGE antenna fell out.  I feel like it may have even been hairy.  OH GOD I AM SCARED.  I don’t know if the thing is alive and holding on for its life or what.  It’s certainly not squished, it is still full sized puffed up and OH GOD THERE IT GOES.  HURRY UP.  FLUSH THE BOWL.

I am not even kidding you when I say it would not go down at first because it was too big.  I can not even.

Finally it was gone and I flushed the toilet about fifty more times just to be safe.  I also threw the sandal out so the next person does not unknowingly use it.  I am also never using a sandal again, even in a bathroom where the shower is just a shower head in the middle of the bathroom.

How many pictures did I take?  313.

Can I show you one?  I can show you more than one!

Reed Flute Cave:

reed flute cave guilin china 1

Beautiful Guilin:

Guilin China

Elephant Trunk Hill:

Elephant Hill Guilin China

Longsheng Rice Terraces:

dragons backbone rice terraces

Bamboo Raft Ride:bamboo raft guilin china