After leaving Hong Kong, I stayed the night Shenzhen because the train to Guilin was full. I was able to purchase an expensive soft sleeper ticket for the next night. That was better than being stuck in Shenzhen for two more nights. I went to a hotel that had decent reviews on hotelworld.com, which turned out to be a total dive, but I didn’t have the energy to haul my packs around town in the hot pouring rain looking for hotels. That night I slept wrapped up in my Cocoon (sleeping bag liner) very tightly. If anyplace would have a bed bug problem, this would be it. The next day I spent about 8 hours at Starbucks in downtown Shenzhen using their free wi-fi, uploading pictures, and working on the site, while waiting for my train that evening.
After a 13 hour train ride, I made it to Guilin. This is one of the main tourist hubs of Guangxi province. As such, it was very crowded, and had a mall like feel. It’s situated along the Li River, and there’s a nice riverfront walk and lots of parks. The Seven Stars park, just east of the river was nice, and the view from the little pagoda thingy was great, but hiking up there in the heat of the day was brutal. The Moon and Sun Pagodas were really cool. The Sun Pagoda is the largest copper pagoda in the world.
There’s not much of a nightlife scene in the city, unless you are into karaoke, in which case you are in luck! There are massive karaoke clubs all over downtown Guilin, complete with laser shows, fog machines, and very expensive drinks. I think I lasted about 15 minutes in one. The thing I enjoyed watching most was the club security.They all wore police style uniforms, complete with military style helmets. Very official looking….
After Guilin, I took a bus to Ping’an Village, located in the Longji Terraces Scenic Area. This village offered spectacular views of the mountain terraces, and good hiking. It was also quiet and small, and the air was fresh – something I have not experienced since hiking Huang Shan. It was great seeing all the peppers and corn drying in the sun everywhere.
I spent one night in Ping’an and then it was off to Yangshuo, where I’m currently staying at a nice hotel with a REAL BED! It’s actually soft for a change. After sleeping on what amounts to plywood slabs covered with an inch of foam, this is true luxury. Tomorrow I take a hot air balloon trip over the spectacular mountains of Yangshuo County. This place deserves a blog post of its own, so I’ll be writing one up later.