A Chinese saying is translated to “East or west, Guilin landscape is best.” Well, now that I’ve been to that part of the country I might have to agree. However, I would say Guilin isn’t the prettiest city of the region but it is the largest and the best hub for travels in the area.
I spent the first week of 2012 in the area and even with the poor weather was astounded by the magnificent scenes I rafted, biked and hiked through. What a great start to the year. I was so impressed I’ve already started thinking about how to go back in the summer.
I organized the trip for myself, my friend Aaron and our friends Ann and John and decided to use a travel agency based in the area to schedule at least the first few days when all four of us would be there. I searched high and low for the right company and found Mulan Tours owned and operated by Mulan. As opposed to the many other offerings out there, Mulan offers at reasonable prices and lists them in RMB not USD.
We were on a budget so we worked directly with Mulan to organize a tour to fit it. Not only did she do her best to accommodate our wants and needs, but she did it all on very short notice. When we arrived in Guilin, we were met at the airport by a van big enough for four of us and lots of luggage. (Ann and John headed back to America after this trip and had all of their stuff with them.)
We went directly to Yangshuo and arrived about 30 minutes before the New Year. At our hotel we met Rong who would be our tour guide for the next few days. She spoke very good English, most of which she learned from listening. She has been a tour guide for more than 15 years and loves her job. A native of the area, she knew many things and could answer most of our questions as she led us through the countryside and around little villages.
I’m glad we had Rong to help us out and share her home with us. Once Ann and John left on Wednesday, Aaron and I were on our own in Guilin. This wasn’t hard since it’s a small city and easy to find what you’re looking for.
The following posts will be about some of the things we did and what we saw. I hope you enjoy even if my words and photos can’t describe how amazing this place really is. To see my photos from these adventures visit my Photobucket album.