Sightseeing was our priority when we signed up for a tour package with a travel agent in Singapore and there's no lack of that activity in our Guilin trip.
Following the best breakfast i had on that trip, it's time for a walk in Mulong Lake (木龙湖) at Guilin. The direct translation would be wooden dragon and it's a man-made lake purposely carved out connect Li River to the city center.
I didn't have any information on the year of completion although i am under the impression the entire complex is likely a modern development based on a scene of a China's most famous painting; 清明上河圖. You may click the link to read more (in English).
Now, i am not into things that are made and replicated as we have plenty of that in Singapore; for example, Chinese Garden and the now defunct Tang Dynasty.
However, China has a clear advantage over the little red dot; the existence of numerous natural yet expansive landscaping that had the potential of just making the entire scene look a whole lot better.
Totems of unknown purpose.
View of the karts hill again; this is known as the immortal crane hill (仙鹤山) and there's a cave inside called immortal crane cave (仙鹤洞).
Doesn't this remind you of a gargoyle in some European buildings? Well, the ones here were much less frightening; they look more like for protection rather than to scare people off.
Cannot imagine that we had to spend our precious time for a show again and as expected, some famous artists' paintings were being let off at a unprecedented cheap pricing and we could bid for it! And isn't the backdrop more relevant when one is in Thailand?!
The empty first row; like the kind we always see during the getai shows staged during the seventh lunar month that's reserved for the hungry ghosts with one notable difference; the fish tanks.
They were there for a therapeutic treatment that Alex would have enjoyed; the fish space where fishes would eat the dead skin on your feet! Seems like not many share the same affection as Alex had for them as no one, i repeat, absolutely no one was seen on the front row. For me, i couldn't hard wait to get out of the performance arena; there were so much to explore outside!
Crossing the bridge to the other side!
Dad, as expected, wasn't the kind to sit down and enjoy the bidding war that's in fact more a desperate call for people to place their bids for paintings.
Given the unexpected cool and windy weather, the time we spent were relaxing and refreshing as it was the very first item on our itinerary that day.
Mulong Tower - at 45 meters tall, i couldn't find any sight of it in 清明上河圖. Nevertheless, the location of which we stood was a barrack a thousand years ago during the Song Dynasty.
Back of the performance stage - it's an eyesore, frankly.
Eh.... i hope the water was used for flowers in a vase. Sometimes, Singaporeans take things for granted as clean water isn't readily available in other countries and we may express disgust even though this was their local way of life.
Did you notice something? There's a pathway going up to the top of the hill and i was quite keen to explore for that unblocked view of the surrounding!
Before then, let me check out the pagoda first!
While walking towards the tower, i suddenly remembered seeing the pagoda the night before during our night tour on the coach when we were waiting for the lights to be switched on.
Bridge that we were on earlier.
Nearing the pagoda; would i be able to climb all the way up the 45-meter high pagoda and feel that exhilaration of reaching the apex!? This reminded me of the 10,000 Buddhas Pagoda [万佛塔] at Genting Highlands!
Bloody locked up! :( What's the point of building a pagoda when it's only restricted to the VIPs?! Okay, i do admit there could be safety issue but if that's e case, i wouldn't have minded paying a nominal amount for access.
The big metallic drum was initially thought to be purely decorative and acted as a backdrop for people to take photos.
There's more to it; the bronze drum was an auspicious item for the Tong / Dong tribe with a history spanning more than 2,000 years! The biggest in Guangxi province was 600 kilograms heavy and the funny thing is that there is a male drum and a female drum and differentiation of sex is via the sound it makes. You may strike the drum for well wishes at RMB 10 per person.
Poor frog must have died when someone happened to strike the bronze drum when it was taking a rest. Either that or it's the work of the recent cold weather spell.
Ongoing performance at the stage; no, i am not going to spend my precious time in the amphitheater when i could easily exit. All my tour mates remained glued to the seats; they must have been tired out from the hike at Longji Terraced Fields the day before.
The attraction was a ticketed one that's part of our compulsory additional tours although i think there's a possibility someone can easily climb over the low wall to enter the place.
I did mention i was keen to check out the path going up the hill but there were numerous warning signs of rock falls in that area! Being alone (dad decided not to join me; he looked tired), i was in a big dilemma.
A second sign sealed the deal; i am not going! For those who couldn't read Chinese, this sign mentioned the existence of snakes and for visitors to be careful!
Nevertheless, this didn't stop me from checking the hillside and from what i see, visitors can partake in other activities related to a purposely built theme park; guns firing (plastic blanks i presume). Things were well maintained yet no one was around to man them; i guess they were mainly for the weekend crowds.
Dam gates for connecting the lake to the Li River.
View from this angle - everything was nice except for that modern building housing a bank. In the past (before i got to know of movie sets), i used to wonder how those period dramas can be shot with so many modern structures nearby that have the potential to spoil the shoot.
More bronze drums!
On top of the 'city wall' where the dam gates were. As you can see from the two photographs, it was deserted. The supposedly peaceful atmosphere couldn't materialise however, given the blaring of music from the performances.
Across the river - i tried google map but couldn't pinpoint the location. The google map for Guilin was quite bad with misaligned routes when superimpose the satellite images with the roads.
For your viewing pleasure again.
Guess the photo would be better if i have decided otherwise to check out the path leading to the top. If only my sisters were with me, as they did in Jeju when we faced a similar situation.
Walking back and performance was still ongoing.
Finale - the key attractions for the performance were the two ladyboys from Thailand! Yes, Thailand which i visit quite often and in fact, just returned from a week ago.
While everyone was queuing to get this shot when we first entered the attraction, i waited when we were exiting and i was right; no queue!
Back on the coach!