Saturday, April 20, 2019

8 Days Spectacular Guizhou Tour Package (GUARANTEED No Shopping Stops Throughout) by Chan Brothers #guizhoutourpackage #chanbrothers

Three weeks have passed since i returned from Guizhou, China and even though the sad story i shared on my facebook page was unfortunate; life goes on and i think it's necessary to share my trip given that i still have some photographs from my mobile phone.

Two things for sure; you would definitely see a narcissistic side of me as i usually don't take pictures using my mobile phone unless they are selfies, panoramas or videos. Yes, there would be quite a number of video clips too!

As usual, this would still be a summary of my tour and more postings can be found in the many hyperlinks below. Note that there aren't that many pictures to stretch compared to my typical loads of entries.

Singapore - Guangzhou (Transit) - Guiyang
Arrival at Singapore's Changi International Airport at 6.00 am and we spent close to 12 hours either in airports or in the air before we officially boarded the coach that would bring us around the China province of China for the next eight days.

Transiting at Guangzhou airport where i die die had to buy the bubble egg waffle from 香港米芝莲 (Mai Chi Lin). Under a cool climate, it tasted so delicious! Can't wait for my trip to Hongkong in July; oh wait, that's summer time.  

Anyway, the first thing we did upon leaving Guiyang Airport was to have dinner at a local restaurant before checking in to New World Guiyang Hotel for the night. Photo was taken outside the restaurant; it was cold and temperature was less than 10°C.

Guiyang - Anshun - Zhenfeng
First stop after checking out of New World Guiyang Hotel - exploring the Ming Era Village Fortress (屯堡) with a history of over 600 years! Many preserved buildings and we were even treated to a traditional opera called 地戏表演.

Dad was ecstatic to find a large canola flower field nearby! Stubborn chap didn't heed my advice to bring along thicker clothing and temperature then was less than 5°C!

Guizhou is a province that has no flat land and this resulted in poor transportation connectivity until the government started building bridges across mountains! While this built-in-2003 Beipanjiang bridge (北盘江大桥) is not the tallest in China; our legs still shook when we walked across, 486 meters above ground.

The many villages straddled to the hillside / mountainside that we spotted along the journey. I often wonder if i would want to live in such an environment; i might if the modern conveniences (internet, proper plumbing, air-conditioning etc) are still available.

Most impressive hotel during the trip; Guizhou Colorful Yijing Hotel at Zhenfeng! Employing mainly people from the local Buyi minority tribe, the huge compound consisted of buildings constructed in the traditional style, running streams and trees all over the place; the environment was so relaxing and peaceful.

After dinner, we were given the option of attending a free, outdoor performance by the buyi tribe at a nearby area. Braving the cold and the gloomy weather (with expected rain), my dad and i of course didn't miss the opportunity and i must say we did enjoy the entertainment which culminated in a bonfire with people dancing around it!

Zhenfeng - Xinyi
Our time of departure from the hotel was 10.00 am and with that much time (and a parent who would wake up automatically at about 6.00 am); we stepped out earlier to have breakfast and then walked around the large hotel premises!

Photo taken from a viewing tower belonging to the hotel. How i wish i could stay a few more days at this place as the air was incredibly fresh and it wasn't crowded with people.

First attraction of the day; the Maling River Canyon (马岭河峡谷) that's accessible using the towering elevator which brought us to the bottom of the 1.7 kilometer section known as Tianxing Gallery.

Described as the most beautiful scar on Earth, i must admit the scenery was breathtaking with numerous small yet captivating waterfalls along the way. This is also the place where i had a fall here when i attempted to walk another route that loops the entire gallery.

Checked in to Argyle Hotel at Xinyi district; near to the old commercial district and connected via the circular bridge (Singapore should honestly consider installing such bridges), we took to shopping after dinner! Imagine a pair of socks selling for only RMB 1; that's about 20 Singapore cents!

Xinyi
The roads were so foggy and that's not good news as we would be going to the Wanfeng Forest Scenic Area (万峰林景区); famous for the thousands of karst hills that dotted the landscape!

Mother nature didn't grant us the opportunity and all we saw from the electric tram were just fog and mist. Nevertheless, we continued to make full use of whatever that was available to enjoy our trip.

Finally a peek which wasn't much but it was much better than nothing! The weather cleared only when we were at the end of our tram ride. :(

After a super good lunch, we proceeded to a cruise ride along the Wanfeng Lake. Although it reminded me of the cruise i took at the neighbouring Guilin province, this one at Guizhou didn't quite excite us.

Short stay at this area near the lake where we could finally have clear photos taken with the amazing backdrop of the karst hills; at least we didn't return to Singapore 'empty handed'.

Reminiscent of our climb to the pavilion on the peak of Xilang Hill at Guizhou's Yangshuo, we did the same activity at the hill opposite Argyle Hotel. Frankly, nothing much although there were a number of stone statues featuring notable people like Guan Yu, Qu Yuan, Yue Fei etc.

Back to the hotel for our buffet dinner that included wine too! My dad was persuaded to take a glass as drinking alcohol can really warm our body. I am such a bad son. Haha.

Indulging in local strawberries (tasted sweet), that cost RMB 20 for 500 grams, from our hotel room that overlooked the hill we climbed earlier that afternoon and the old commercial district.

Scrambled out to buy shampoo from the nearby Guardian pharmacy as i realized i might not have enough to last me for the next few days. All thanks to my dad who mistakenly thought the shampoo i brought from Singapore was the shower gel provided by the hotel.

Xinyi - Anshun
The day started as bad as the day before with thick fog that greatly reduced the visibility. Could you imagine that on the bridges that were a few hundred meters above ground; there were times i couldn't see beyond 20 meters?! Kudos to our Master Ou, who drives the coach, who was extremely careful to protect the 30 lives under his care.

There's one attraction in Guizhou that's renowned nationwide and we would be visiting it this day. First stop, however, would be to the lesser known 21-meter high, 105-meter wide Doupotang waterfall (陡坡塘瀑布).

After lunch, i finally caught sight of the wonder that was a featured backdrop in a popular television serial dating back to year 1986; journey to the west. In that drama, the monkey king original residence was a water curtain cave behind a spectacular waterfall and this is THAT waterfall; huangguoshu waterfall (黄果树瀑布).

And there's really a cave right behind the cascading water; take a closer look at those tourists somewhere in the middle of the waterfall. In peak seasons, the queue to enter the water curtain cave can stretch a few hundred meters!

Bonsai garden (said to have over 3,000 bonsai) outside the entrance of huangguoshu waterfall and there's a sakura one! Excited max as i had never seen blossoming sakuras.

Last attraction to the tianxing bridge area which was relatively boring compared to the two waterfalls before this. Oh well, the sunset was rather nice.

Bumped into our travel mates, tour guide and tour leader at the food street behind our hotel that night (Puhua Hotel) and boy did we have a great supper that's recommended by our pretty tour guide! I even managed to have my fill of stinky tofu!

Anshun - Kaili
Travelling from the west of Guizhou to the east and bypassing the provincial capital of Guiyang which was both our starting and ending stops in the hilly province!

Half of the Miao minority ethnic group stays in Guizhou and we were brought to this particular village that's the largest of its kind and houses over 1,000 households comprising of about 6,000 people of which 99.5% are Miao.

Lunch was at a Miao restaurant where we had the Miao long table cuisine; offered to guests in the past, one of their interesting customs was to get the male guests to drink their local rice wine! Two things to note; you can touch the wine bowl with your hands and your butt is supposed to stay glued to the bench! Breach any of the above and you would be forced to drink more.

View on top was stunning and while tourism had slowly crept into the village; the sight in front of us was just too fascinating. I heard that the night view was even better but facilities and amenities for overnight stay might not be suitable for us pampered Singaporeans.

Dad with two beautiful ladies; on his right was our helpful and caring tour leader from Singapore (Elaine) and on his left was our young and knowledgeable our guide (Huan Huan)!

Ethnic performance under the hot sun. Speaking of hot, the temperature inched up as we proceeded with our 8-day tour and at times, we were ever hit with temperatures hovering above 25°C.

Photograph of me in front of this drum tower pavilion where i lost my DSLR. See, i was still holding on to my Nikon D750 then. An hour later, it was gone, together with over 3,000 photographs taken over the past six days. Sigh.

Life goes on and we celebrated the birthday of one of our tour mates; Mr Teo! After which, we retired to Longdu Jingyi International Hotel after i viewed the CCTVs from the hotel's security in a bid to find out where i exactly lost the camera.

Kaili - Guiyang
Mood was sombre after i woke up but as i was travelling with my dad, i don't believe in spoiling the atmosphere and affecting his mood. As mentioned previously, life goes on. What happened has happened and the only thing i could do is to treat this as a valuable lesson.

Hence, with some time to spare before leaving the Kaili district, we took to exploring the lake right opposite Longdu Jingyi International Hotel; the same area where the drum tower pavilion was located. I could only lament with despair when i walked past it.

Dad playing with a kitten outside this museum known as 凯里民族文化宫 (that's beside our hotel) where i bought my pure silver bracelet (to ward off bad luck and evil); rare to see him displaying such affection.

Gaining knowledge at the Minority Culture Museum of Qiandongnan Prefecture (黔东南州民族博物馆) where we went through the customs and culture of the minority tribes concentrated in the area; namely the Miao, the Dong, the Buyi etc.

On the coach back to the centre of Guizhou province; Guiyang where canola flower fields and other flowers decorated both sides of the expressway.

Destination after lunch; the qianlingshan park (黔灵山公园). It's actually free and easy for us and there were a few activities to consider; you can take the cable car (own expense) to the top of the mountain, shop for local souvenirs at the many shops outside the park or visit an over 300-year old Buddhist temple (hongfu temple, 弘福寺) in the middle of the mountain (climb of over 900 steps).

Undertaking the third option as my dad (who is Buddhist) would definitely prefer it over shopping and i personally didn't want to take the cable car and be subject to unpredictable queues. There's a story about the touching of the symbol in the photo and you may click here for more information!

Many rhesus macaques roaming around but we had been warned by our tour guide; don't take your food out, no plastic bag and don't get too near to the monkeys as they could be aggressive.

Watching the Colourful Guizhou Folk Show and Dance (多彩贵州风) at Guiyang Grand Theater after dinner; the performance was an option under the tour package and cost 250 RMB per adult. Showcasing the traditional culture of the ethnic minorities in the region, it was entertaining with a massive yet stunning display of the minorities' attire; definitely better than the Impression Liu Sanjie (印象刘三姐) at Guilin's Yangshuo

Guiyang - Guangzhou (Transit) - Singapore
Last day in Guizhou and after a night stay at New World Guiyang Hotel (same accommodation as our first night), we tidied up our luggage and proceeded to the landmark of Guiyang! 

The 400-year old Jiaxiu Pavilion (甲秀楼) which was built at almost the end of the Ming dynasty. Nothing much within the 3-storey structure although visitors were unable to venture beyond the ground level. 

Spent some time at the adjacent Cuiwei Garden; it had a few old buildings from the Ming-Qing era even though the main reason for its apparent popularity is that the garden housed the washrooms closest to 甲秀楼.

A lot of blooming sakura trees in the area and we Singaporeans go all flower-crazy! Dad was besotted and kept asking me to take photo after photo of him! 

Coming to the end of our trip as the coach pulled over at Guiyang Airport and Master Ou brought out all our luggage; not an easy task given that there were close to 30 of us and he had to do it almost daily and mostly, twice a day! 

With some time to spend, we went around to make some last minute shopping as i didn't manage to buy much things throughout the past eight days and it just didn't feel right to return home almost empty handed. Before checking in, a final photo with our beautiful, knowledgeable and cheerful tour guide, Huan Huan! 

Home sweet home! 

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Group photo of our travel compatriots; all 29 of them including our tour guide! Like what most people would say, it's the companion that matters when we are overseas and i must credit our travel mates who had been cooperative, entertaining and extremely nice; elements that made this trip to China a highlight! 

Tour Agency

Pricing Per Person
Basic Tour - S$1,363
Additional Tours -  600 RMB (about S$120)
Optional Tour - RMB 250 (about S$50)
Tips for Tour Guide & Driver - RMB 200 (S$40)
Tips for Tour Leader - S$16 
(Excluded extra tips and personal expenses)

2 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about the loss of your camera. I can imagine the pain of losing all those precious photos
    and memories. Enjoyed your detailed blogpost on Guilin. Normally I just lurk around webpages, and don't comment but just wanted to say thanks to your detailed posts, it gives me a better idea on what to expect from these packaged tours ;) Normally I carry at least 2 too. Just in case. Lack of batt etc...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks for your kind words. It's tiring to bring along two cameras and i think i can still manage to post based on my iphone pictures. Oh well, shall be more careful next time. :(

      Delete

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