Sunday, February 14, 2016

Day Four (in Yangshuo) - Part of the 8 Days 7 Nights Scenic Guilin + Longji Terraced Fields Tour Package (GUARANTEED No Shopping Stop)

万丽花园酒店 (Elite Garden) - our allocated accommodation in Yangshuo town looked better inside than outside with a few hanging chandeliers that could not be seen even when you are at the reception counter!

The bedroom that offered a see-through glass to the shower in the washroom and boy was i pleased to see a shower curtain that can be drawn to cover the glass.

Clean washroom with a therapeutic rainfall shower! Normal shower head no longer satisfies me and in my upcoming new home, i purposely purchased a rainfall shower and am praying very hard that the water pressure would be strong enough. 

This was the television guide! I totally understand the need for relevance to history and maybe culture but the bamboo guide was really hard to read for someone who is effectively bilingual! 

In-room WiFi - since this was printed on acrylic and pasted onto the fabric wall in the room, i presume it would be a long time before the password is changed.

Morning time - as you can see from the above photograph, some rooms overlooked the internal corridor and noise can be an issue. 

Super duper lousy breakfast (above only shows a section) in a conference room that was converted into a breakfast venue for the hotel guests. Tagged as local five-star hotel, i thought the breakfast offering was honestly no more than a two-star and i am already being very generous. 

A stone / wood statue that was being honoured on the second floor, near the breakfast venue; there wasn't any mention on the name although it does appear to be one of the three characters in Fu Lu Shou (福禄寿); specifically the shou xing with a big forehead. You may click here to read more on Fu Lu Shou (福禄寿)

Yangshuo street view at 8am in the morning. With more than an hour to go before we meet up with the rest of our tour group, my dad and i could not resist the temptation and venture across the bridge for a short photo taking session.

We explored further than the bridge and you may visit the separate posting on Yangshuo (daytime view) to check out the pictures taken. Notice that red arrow? It was the site of our biggest accomplishment that day! 

You can see 万丽花园酒店 (Elite Garden) in the above photograph; on the road and somewhere in the middle of the shophouses. 

Took the tour coach after buying a few kilograms of nuts from a mobile vendor! As indicated here, i encountered one major regret; for not buying more! 

Within a minute, during which i got comfortable again at the back of the bus; we were asked to alight! Bloody, might as well ask us to walk from our hotel! 

To be fair, our oldest tour mate was already 80 years old! Nevertheless, i didn't realise the first item on the itinerary was to check out the nearby Green Lotus Peak (碧蓮峰).

It was invigorating to be greeted by such stunning view in the morning! A lover of mountains and natural scenery, dad was of course ecstatic to be enveloped by the signature hills of Guilin. 

Extra photographs for your viewing pleasure too. 

I wouldn't want to stay in this hotel; just imagine a day of stormy weather and the higher risk of rocks raining down! I am all for adventure but humans are always at a losing end when it involves nature. 

Nearing the entrance of Green Lotus Peak (碧蓮峰), we noticed a small group of devotees reciting the scriptures and swinging the Tibetan prayer wheel; the session is likely impromptu since they were not in close proximity to any temple. 

View from within AAA-rating Green Lotus Peak. For more information (and photographs), please click the link here. One particular memorable sight had to do with the Chinese character, 帶.

The apparently short walk took us almost two hours although it didn't feel that long and the area covered was, in reality, quite small. Must be because of the scenery which "demands" at least more than a dozen photographs at every one spot. 

Li River again. There was a tiny fishing port located along our way and you may wish to check it out for a general feel of China's wet market. 

As mentioned previously, Guilin is famous for their vermicelli. And judging from the few signboards, the most popular meat to go with the rice noodles appeared to be horse meat! 

Snake as food which i find unacceptable; no because of my love for the reptile. Rather, it is due to my fear of the slimy-looking creature.

On the bus again - along the way, you would find designated bicycle paths that bring cyclists to numerous attractions! On a free and easy trip? I would strongly recommend renting a bicycle! 

Attractions included butterfly spring, flower garden, bridge linking two cliffs, assembling dragon cave etc! Among those i saw along the way, the bridge linking two cliffs was the most interesting! 

Taking the bamboo raft that wasn't machine powered; traditional for the win! In addition to undertaking the ride on a raft, we were treated to a repertoire of mountain folk songs by a Zhuang lady with a powerful voice! To read more and watch the video, click here.

Lunchtime! The tour guide informed us that we were quite near to Lipu, the place renowned for yam; hence, let's start with the yam feast that was indicated on the printed itinerary. 

Two dishes caught my attention; first of which was the pork belly with yam! Thanks to the advice from the tour guide; if not, i would have eaten them separately. 

Yes, you are supposed to stack one piece of yam with one piece of pork belly and then devoured them together! Personally, i don't quite enjoy yam as there was the occasional "siapness" that i dislike. This didn't taste siap; in fact, the two products complemented each other very well with pork belly enhancing the yam flavour and yam diluting the oiliness of the pork. 

The other item; caramelised fried yam! 

Many would have associated these with the ones from Singapore's Putien restaurant chain. You are not wrong although these featured much thicker sugar-coated crust that was so much irresistible! 

Next up on the itinerary - exploring Silver Cave (银子岩)

Shortly after an hour, we completed the trek with dad and i being the last two from our tour group to exit the cave! Our tour mates appeared to be fixated on moving from entrance to exit!

Due to a miscommunication, we were kept waiting for close to twenty minutes! Never one used to such blatant waste of time, i had to do something to keep me occupied and the easiest was to take photos! 

On the way back to Yangshuo town. 

We arrived at Elite Garden at about 4pm and dinnertime was scheduled at 6pm; with the two hours of free time which most of our tour mates used for a nap, my dad and i decided to embark on the ascent to the pavilion on top of Xilang Hill.

Pretty or not? 

Though the descent was frightening, we were out of Yangshuo park in just about an hour. We could have returned back to the hotel, took a bath and then rest. But no, why waste our time?! 

We chose a longer route which shall require us to cut through West Street; it was about 5pm then and i figured the street would likely be bustling with activity just like the night before

A food street that's devoid of people; maybe a failed venture?
Or was i too early?

Fruit stall - i don't usually fill my tummy with fruit when i am overseas as i have a sensitive gut and prefer my food to be cooked. The inconvenience of finding a toilet when i am travelling means i must be determined! p.s. sometimes, temptation proves to be a bitch though.

Close to West Street now! I have done up two postings on West Street; for night time, please click here. For daytime (with better looking photos), click here instead. 

Vendors temporarily took over the space on the bridge to market their wares. By the way, this is the same bridge from Elite Garden to West Street.

Dad with West Street in the background - at this time, i can sense that he was super shagged as i was but boredom was added to his tiredness as he utterly disliked shopping. 

Our dinner at the same place we had breakfast that very morning! Food was thankfully much better than breakfast with three special dishes. For the above, the steamed fish had a lot of bones and the stir fried salted vegetables were surprisingly tasty! 

Guilin vermicelli - tasted just like maggie noodles! Since there are people who really love instant noodles, this might be a healthier alternative.

Known as 釀三寶 (a Hakka dish), you would never have guessed what the yellow stuff was! If brinjal (eggplant) was your answer, sorry, you are still wrong. 

They are pomelo skin and the one thought that came to mind after i took a bite was its similarity to glutinous rice, albeit less heavy. 

Another Hakka dish called 龙脊茄子 (dragon spine eggplant); this was delicious with minced meat and spicy sauce. Why so many Hakka dishes? Because there is quite a sizable Hakka population in Guangxi, with many residing in Hezhou. 

So what did we do after dinner? Shopping at West Street again! Poor dad. 


Do check out the posting for the summarised itinerary of Chan Brother's tour package (guaranteed no shopping stops) to Guilin; it would give you a better overview of my trip. :)

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