So as I mentioned, some friends, my husband, and I made a quick train trip out to Guilin, a scenic town in Guangxi, for a weekend. It was a great trip, and here are some of the highlights as promised…
After checking into our hotel (The Homeland Riverview Hotel (see my review, marked “Erin R”: pros- fantastic downtown location, within walking distance from most sites, right on the Li River, and right around the corner from major pedestrian, shopping street, Western restaurant good value; cons- rooms, although nice, were very small), we walked about twenty minutes to Elephant Trunk Hill, where we bought package tickets to four sites for 175 RMB (Elephant Trunk Hill, Seven Stars Park, Reed Flute Cave, and Diecai Hill). Seemed in the end, when we added it all up, the package ticket saved us at least 30 RMB.
There wasn’t too much to see at Elephant Trunk Hill besides the rock formation, but it was dusk, lovely weather, and there weren’t too many tourists, so we enjoyed clowning around taking photos in front of the Li River and in the nearby Elephant Hill Park.
That evening we took the suggestion of the Lonely Planet, and dined at their number one rated, Yiyuan Restaurant. Definitely nothing special there. The rest of the weekend confirmed that the Lonely Planet certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on the “must sees” in Guilin (more on that later).
We spent the evening wandering the Two Rivers Four Lakes park scenic area, looking for the night market (I’d been once before but couldn’t remember exactly where it was located). The park area was actually really cool, all lit up at night (although I think the boat rides would be overrated), with impromptu dance parties like you find all over China, but also a band playing minority music and dressed in costume.
The night market is meandering and unfortunately kitschy- we did our better shopping the morning before we left at the vendors who place their stands just down the street from the Eva Inn.
The next day we took in the Reed Flute Cave and Seven Star Park, but more on that to come in the next installment!