Showing posts with label Guilin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guilin. Show all posts

Saturday, May 16, 2020

[Travelogue Guilin, China] From Longji to Guilin City

It was my last day at Ping'an Village, Longsheng. I woke up with a really good sunny day weather unlike the day before. Anyway, still feeling so blessed to be able to enjoy such view and environment.

You can check out my other Guilin Travelogue here :

Don't Miss Longsheng Rice Terraces in December

My usual morning breakfast here during this chilling weather is a bowl of hot vegetable noodles soup and a sunny top fried egg. I ordered a freshly local brewed mountain coffee to go with it. Perfect morning start!

I requested the owner to arrange a car to Guilin City that day. In my previous post, I did mention that this place has no car access at all. A 30 minutes walk through the small alley and local housing is required. Yes! I have to climb the steep hill to come up here and now thinking about going downhill which is really hurting my knee. Urgggghhhh!!! I feel like summon a genie or transporter to bring me down. But again...that's all fantasy and the reality is....walk down with your own feet! isk isk

I estimated a one-hour slow walk with my leg condition. I did mention in my previous post, I slip down and hurt my knee and waist badly the day before. It has been swollen since then. Morning walk down view is kind of wonderful despite the pain.

The local old folk is selling the farm vegetables and other souvenirs. I walked through the opposite side from where I came from the other day. Most houses here are well preserved and some are over 100 years old are built in wood. The oldest one is 250 years old which I don't get to visit.

These are local handmade product. They did the weaving and painting.

My walked down pass by the first rice terraces ever in Ping'an village. It was built during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368). I pass by the old bridge and the walk down journey was less than 45 minutes to the car park. The driver recognizes me right away. Guess I was the only one foreigner and maybe the lady at the Guest House described me very well. hehehe... He is unable to speak English at all but really kind and helpful.

I reached Guilin city after around 3 hours journey. The driver has a problem with finding my hotel. The location was behind another building and in a small alley. The alley is clean and good walking street too. He dropped me right in front of McD which is on the main road. I then use GPS and map to find the hotel. I was so excited to see the surrounding of this place. More walking to my leg drop again? Ish ish wonder I end up in the hospital after came back from this surgery! hahaha

Where to stay at Guilin City?

The Wing Hotel Guilin
Address: No. 34, Yiren Road, Xiufeng, Guilin

I booked without any breakfast. But they provide free flow hot coffee and hot 'loh hon ka' tea though.
The location of this hotel is in the centre of a happening food and shopping district. Its also a walking distance to Sun and Moon Pagodas.

Everything kind of walking distance here. I was smiling from ears to ears with this place. Super convenient! I will write more on where to visit in Guilin City in my next post.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

[Travelogue Guilin] Don't Miss Longsheng Rice Terrace

My last post on Guilin travelogue was on 4th May 2020. It's more than a month now. I was afraid people will disturb me with weird emails if I write on my journey during the Movement Control Order (MCO). Now that the MCO has been eased, I will continue my write up before I have totally forgotten about my journey.

You can check out my other Guilin Travelogue here :

Why Travel all the way to The Longsheng Rice Terraces?

My first rice terraces view was in Bali. I was supposed to travel to Sapa last year but can't find time during the good view season. I only free by the end of the year and made this impromptu trip all the way to Guilin. I read about the Longsheng Rice Terraces (Dragon's Backbone) are famous with its extraordinaire view of rice terraces. Oh! by the way, the Longsheng Rice Terraces is also known as Longji Rice Terraces.

I was quite nervous during this trip. I read about the December view is not that good since it is offseason. 

When is the best time to visit Longji Rice Terraces?

I read the best time to visit the Longji Rice Terraces is during the month of May, June, September and October. You will get to see a different view in each season.

May to Mid June month - you will get to see mirror like watery fields.

July - mid-September - for those who love the greenery view on the rice terraces

End of September to October - This is the fall harvest season and also peak season. It will be crowded with local and foreign tourist who would like to catch the golden harvest view.

I was at Longji Rice Terraces on the 28 - 30th  December 2019 and the view was magnificent!

To me, a chance to stay in a wooden house built on the side of a mountain, surrounding by cascading rice terraces with a backdrop of the karst of mountains is like a dreamy experience.

The Longji rice terraces are split into two sections, Ping'an Zhuang village terraced fields and Jingkeng Red Yao Terraced fields. Both villages housed its own minority tribes. Ping'an for Zhunag people and Jinkeng for Yao.

What is the difference between these two villages?

Ping'an is bigger and more developed mainly for tourism while Jinkeng is less commercialized and consist of small villages along the mountainside.

I was well aware of my ability, so I chose to stay in Ping'an. for my convenient.  I read the Jinkeng has more scenic view compare to Ping'an. Not many hiking trails at Ping'an area compare to Jinkeng too. Not many trails, I can visit with my knee condition, in a day though. But if you an avid hiker, you can start from Jinkeng up to Ping'an.

Anyway, the entire village in Ping'an is still built out of stilted wood houses and I came across most of them still dress traditionally and do their farming using hard labour bare hand. Most people in Ping'an area are super nice and accommodating to foreigner too. Some of them can speak English. The owner of Bed and Breakfast place hcan speak English too.

I started my first morning at Longji with breakfast from the place I stayed. You have not many choices here. I inform the owner beforehand that I am a vegetarian. So my morning breakfast is this delicious freshly made vegetable noodles soup and freshly brewed mountain coffee. I can taste the mountain sweet vegetables in this soup. It was awesome when you enjoy a hot meal during the cold weather. Yes! It was super cold at between 7 to 9-degree Celcius.

I was planning to start my trekking after breakfast but a bit disappointed the weather is getting really bad. From the mist covering all the terraces to the heavy rain which make be breathe out smoke due to cold.

The rain finally stops at around 2:30pm. I jumped out of the bed to head down. I can't miss the timing or lose the opportunity. Tomorrow I am checking out from this place and back to Guilin City.

Best place to visit at Ping'an Rice Terraces

1. Seven Stars with the Moon viewpoint

2. Nine Dragons and Five Stars viewpoint

3. Longji Ancient Zhuang Village

4. Ping'an Tiantou Village 

The location of the place I stayed is in the heart of Ping'an Village. To be exact its halfway in between the Seven Stars with Moon viewpoint and the Nine Dragons and Five Stars viewpoint.

I started my journey quite late in the afternoon due to bad weather. It was thick mist covering all the terraces and then heavy rain for quite a long time since morning. I was so worried about the whole morning. Tomorrow is my last day here and will be checking out at noon. 

I visit the first hiking trail which is Seven Stars with The Moon point. The path took me through the alleys with rows of rundown wooden shops and also some cafes. Just walk upwards follow the staircase.

I made a few stops along the way since it was after rain and the staircase is wet and quite slippery. During peak season, some of these cafes along the staircase will charge some Yuan for a peek of the rice terraces view. I was quite lucky to visit during the off-season and most of them were closed. So I got to free view.

After a long walk, I manage to reach the top viewpoint. I was so glad to be able made to the top.

The view is totally spectacular with some contract colour. I bought a cup of hot Loh Hon Ka with ginger tea for 5 Yuan from the seller at the bottom of the lookout point.

Enjoying the late afternoon Longji Rice Terraces view with hot tea in hand was kind of awesome refreshing feelings. I feel complete! hahaha

I walked down from the viewpoint to start my journey to Nine Dragons and Five Tigers hiking trails. The rain came on and off due to the wind blow. 

I love the Nine Dragons and Five Tigers trail the most because the local government has put an effort to build a concrete pathway along the terraces. Previously, the trails were full of plank wood and it kind of dangerous if the weather is wet. The work is still in progress during my visit. 

I manage to walk all the way and enjoy the gorgeous contract colour view surrounding me.

I was glad to make my way here at the end of the year, despite all the negative review I read for Dec season.

The beautiful view from the top with brownish and tones green colours rice terraces traversing the horizon miles.

After enjoying all the spectacular view from the top, it was time to make my way down through all those staircases. It was a difficult climb down for me. That is the thing about having a bad knee. isk isk isk... I almost get lost in the maze of villages house by the time I made it down.

I reached the B&B almost dark and the rain started to fall really heavy. Out of sudden, my knee feel really weak and I lose my balance right in front of the B&B. I hit my bottom hard. I landed in the hospital for knee surgery after came back from this trip.  I am still unable to resume all active activities and have to caution.

I had the local style dinner on my last night here at Longji Rice Terraces. The menu for that night is fresh bamboo shoots stir-fried with sour vegetables and some stir-fried tofu too. Awesome delicious dinner. By this time my knee has swollen and hurt so much. Not to mention my back pain is killing me at the same time.

I have a slight fever that night. 

Subscribe to my blog for the latest update. I will continue my Guilin end year escaped soon.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

[Travelogue Guilin China] 4 hours Drive from Yangshuo to Longsheng

Finally, able to sit in front of my PC to finish off Guilin Travelogue. There will be 3 more episodes coming up after this. 
As I was trying to finish off my travelogue to China, everyone is aware there is this life-threatening virus invading the whole world. Airlines and Hotel have been affected by this. Airlines have been reducing the airfares. some even offering free seats. 

Tips: Don't travel for the sake of updating Social Media and be proud of. Travel wisely and aware of the situation before you go ahead to fly out. Whatever situation lies ahead of you out of that journey only you responsible for the consequences.

Reminder and Disclaimer: I travel to China during last Christmas. Safely back to Malaysia before the CoronaVirus news break. My travelogue to China is just to share travel experience. I don't mean to urge you to travel to the place and expose you to the virus. Please don't email me with your brainless question on why I keep writing about China during the virus outbreak. 

I have planned to continue my journey to Longsheng rice terrace from Yangshuo. I requested the hotel to arrange for a car to drive me up to Lonhsheng rice terrace. The driver will come to pick me up around 12:00 noon from Yangshuo hotel.

I had a simple breakfast which is fried egg and some milk coffee. Then decided to explore around Yangshuo in the morning. There are few options to explore this small town and villages nearby- rent a bicycle or scooter or just walk like me. I decided to explore by foot.

Loving the peacefulness of this small town here. I walk around town until reached one small local market. I was looking forward to trying the must-try famous local breakfast, 'oil tea'.

I found one stall selling 'oil tea'. Bravely, sat down and order one for me by pointing to other tables who are enjoying their 'oil tea'. The lady came and put down a bowl full of some rice crisps which look like some sort of cereals. Then another lady came by with a big kettle and pour down the hot tea into my bowl. As the tea reaches down to the crisps bowl, I can see the rice crisps pop up. I read this taste a bit bitter and for those who can't stand herbal drink may not like this. My expectation was kind of like drinking the herbal drink with the hope I won't get so much of disappointment.

How is 'oil tea' taste?

I would say to me it taste uniquely strong. A bit bitter and spicy at the beginning and a hint of sweet once the sweet brown ball puff is fully soaked up. I think the ginger made it taste spicy. The lady shoves some salt for me to sprinkle in my 'oil tea' bowl. I added some salt for some taste.   Seriously, if you are looking forward to getting nutrition benefit then don't focus on good taste. hahahaha...another word...I won't drink this again muahahaha...I don't really hate this but just something I can only try once!

How the 'oil tea' made?

'Oil tea' is prepared by frying tea leaves with garlic, salt, ginger, chilli and some other herbs in an iron wok. Oil is added to fry the ingredients and then all the mixture is pounded with some wooden pestle to release some flavour. Then boiled the pounded tea until it looks like a broth.

How 'oil tea' was served?

Its all depends on the shop owner. Mostly will serve it over a bowl of puffed rice, chopped scallion, coriander and some crispy peanuts, then sprinkle some salt over it.

Locals usually don't drink this by itself. They will enjoy the 'oil tea' with some local snack. As for me, I got myself some osmanthus jelly cake to go with this bittersweet tea. No! It doesn't taste oily at all. It just likes drinking a herbal broth.

After my 'oil tea' adventure, I continue my exploration nearby but my eyes were seriously searching my nice cafe for a cup of hot Cappucino. I need to clear this 'oil tea' taste in my mouth. huhuhuh

I found one nice cafe and sat down sipping my hot coffee while observing the locals who pass by that cafe. It was a quiet cafe and I enjoy my time there.

I made a move around 11am to clear out some of my things before check out and wait for my driver downstairs at the lobby.

I walk around for the last time at the Li River opposite the hotel to kill my time while the driver is finding his way to my hotel.

My driver is very punctual. Arrived at exactly 12:00 noon. I read the drive from Yangshuo to Longsheng will take around 2 hours. Hell no! The journey took around nearly 4 hours. I pass through more than 30 tunnels along the way. The road is cutting through many karst mountains.

The driver who picked me at Yangshuo is from Longsheng. I could imagine he started his journey early in the morning to pick me at Yangshuo and drive me up to Longsheng again. After around 1 hour drive, he told me he would like to stop by for a quick nap. He stops at some military training camp. I alighted from the car and walk around the place while giving him some peace for a quick nap. My driver quick nap is as important as my life too. hahaha

The driver just rests for about 30 minutes before continuing to drive for another one hour then he stops to have some meal while I shop for some snacks at the nearby convenience store.

Then continue another one hour journey to the Longsheng tourist station.

The driver then told me to get down to pay for some entrance fee to Longsheng village. I paid around 80 Yuan. I was told it a low season so it was a half-price entrance fee for me. He then drives me up to road like worst than Cameron Highlands old road. It's a small road up steep mountain climb and as the car climb higher, I could see a nice view. But still, it was too dangerous to drive up and I don't even want to imagine driving up and down at night. Dangerous!

The driver stops me in the car park area. I will be on my own from here find the place I booked. No car allowed to enter from here. You will be greeted by many local mostly mountain people waiting to be your potter. I was there during low season. So many of them don't really have things to do. If you carry luggage, it is advisable to hire them to carry for you with some price from 50 to 100 Yuan. At least can help them a bit. It will be around 20 to 30 minutes hill and staircase climb from here. Dragging your big luggage from that car park up isn't a joke! Seriously, not a joke! It will be a rough dragging and carrying it up the steep staircase too.

I was with a small backpack. So I don't hire any of them. They keep saying ..."You don't know where to go! You don't know where to go! " in Chinese of course! hehehe..I understand them and replied in Chinese to them that"I know! I know!" hahahaha...
I came in totally prepared with my hiking pole in one arm. I walked towards the Ping'An Village which is the highest in the mountain. Trying my best to stay positive.

I look all smiling, right? But I cried after that because it was a tiring climb. hahahaha...Gosh! plus...I was lost. I reached the Ping'An village but couldn't find the place I stay and feel super helpless. There is signage in English. But as usual my bad sense of direction kind of fail me at first. I found one local and she pointed up to the place. Oh my God! further uphill? WTH! The place is nowhere to be seen from where I was standing. Not even in this photo.

Uwaaaaa...just now so confident told those locals, I know the place. What is this???

Finally, after the sweat and tears walk and climbing up the countless steep staircase, I found the place. Luckily the owner can speak English. She is one of the mountain people here. After the check-in process, she led me to the staircase. I was like...more staircase? The climb seems like never-ending. I asked her which floor. She said my room will be on the 6th floor since I booked the rice terrace field view. I was not so sure whether to cry or to laugh.

Yes! I have to climb up and down starting from now. What did I get myself into? All I know, throughout my 2 nights stay here....I never leave my hiking pole behind. Seriously, its like a nightmare plus a good heaven dreams.

Where to stay at Longsheng?

Longji Holiday Hotel
Address : No.2-868, Ping'  Village, Longji Town , Longsheng

I chose this hotel since it stated only 15-minute stroll from Longsheng Rice Terrace and the people there are able to speak English. The review is also not bad.

What do you think about my room here? Nice? I love what I saw when first opened the door. Read below and you will know how I feel about staying in this room.

This is the view from my balcony. It will be golden beautiful if you visit this place during May to October. I was here nearly to winter. Most rice has fully harvested. I read this place will be super brown and dried look during the end of Dec. I was there during that time. huhuhuh...God Bless me! Let's check it out tomorrow.

Don't hope for a restaurant or cafe here. There are some of those but mostly inside the Bed and Breakfast place which is scattered around here. Thinking about climbing the staircase again and it was super duper dark out there. I rather stay in. The place I stayed also have a good Restaurant and I was able to order a good vegetarian food here.

My dinner for that night, the lady cook some of the fresh vegetables from their own farm. I eat in for lunch and dinner for 2 days.

Mushroom and Sawi soup

Egg fried rice with some diced bell pepper

As I mentioned, its a low season and not many visitors here. I only saw a French couple and their 2 children during my dinner. I heard they are checking out tomorrow. I will be the only guest here then. OMG! scary to imagine I am the only one occupied the whole 6 storeys old building for another night. I am a rich Malaysian Woman in my own way at Longsheng who rented the 6 storeys building for myself. muahahaha... No need Rich Man. I am Rich! Rich! Rich! hahahaha...

It was only 6pm and the sunset very early here. The fog starting to cover up the rice terrace view. It was really cold to the extend I am not sure how to sleep with this temperature. The heater in this room only faces in one direction which is not even the bed. WTH!
The floor tiles, I can 't imagine stepping on it to visit the toilet. WTH! The temperature shows 9 Degrees but the feeling was like in the minus degrees. I wore two layers of thermal wear and a winter jacket and cover myself in a thick blanket. I still feel super cold. I was wondering if it snowing outside at night. huhuhu... Make things more dramatic, it was heavily raining outside around 12 midnight until the morning. Gosh! is this a blessing from heaven? I don't know what to say....brave the cold weather Rina. What to see the next morning if the fog covers the rice terrace. Aihhhh....

The place is nice indeed but I can't imagine sleeping through the night at that chilling cold to the bone weather. I guess that building doesn't have proper heating during the cold winter. I was breathing out smoke even on my bed.  I thought won't make it back to Guilin City and imagine myself freeze to death here! Other than that this place is really surreal and peace of mind.

Check out my next post on full view of Longsheng rice terrace on the end of Dec month. I end up hospitalised 5 days for knee surgery after back from this trip. isk isk isk ...I am still recovering from the surgery and still walking using the crouches as I published this post.

You can check out my other Guilin Travelogue here :

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

[Travelogue Guilin, China] Don't Miss Out West Street at Night in Yangshuo

After back from exploring Ancient Town, Xingping, I get some 30 minutes rest before head out to grab some dinner and explore West Street at night. I only have one night at Yangshuo before continuing my journey to Longsheng the next day.

For those who took a Li River Cruise day trip may have a chance to explore West Street at day time for around one hour. But I was told its more happening at night. That's the reason I booked a room to overnight here.

Pavillion opposite place I stayed. Can see the beautiful Li River view from here
West Street is less than 5 minutes walking distance from the place I stayed. Seriously, this place is super convenient. Check my earlier post if you want to book this place. But before I walked over to West Street for quick dinner, I took the opportunity to enjoy the view of Li River after sunset.

It's low tide during this time. So I manage to walk down and take a quick stroll along the river. Some local will find the river snails and fish during this time too.

The view is different from this level but still, I can see a row of karst mountain. Gorgeous view! They will light up the river bank beautifully after dark.

West Street in Yangshuo exist ever since 590 AD during the Sui Dynasty and I read it is more than 1,400 years old. This makes this place is the oldest street in Yangshuo. The street was named due to its location on the West of the County.

I discovered a variety of food from local to international here. I noticed not just in Yangshuo but in Guilin overall, the locals here love to eat charred Durian. I am not a big fan of durian but really amazed on how they grilled the durian in aluminium foiled and enjoy the charred durian as a snack food. I bet it tastes creamy and delicious! 

Why I said you should consider to overnight in Yangshuo for at least a night? The West Street kind of happening with beautiful lights up and the never-ending crowds make this place more vibrant. For those clubbing goers, this place is kind of perfect for you at night too. Their club kind of in a glass shop and outside people can see through on what is happening inside. I am not trying to support women exploitation but only at night people like me who never been into the club can see what is going on in there; I have the video which I upload in my Youtube Channel. You can also view from the link below.

I grab some garlic grilled oyster and steamed yam for my dinner that night. The food portion is kind of big. So, that's all I can eat for that night. You can check out my video in the link below this post for more bizarre and exotic food which discover at West Street Yangshuo.

I mentioned in my previous Guilin Travelogue, their speciality here is Gui Hua or Osmanthus flower and Monk Fruits. So you can find many osmanthus flower tea and osmanthus flower snacks here.

Guilin is also famous for nougat and milk candies. I tried those roses nougat and it tastes seriously delicious. I thought it will be kind of you know the texture either hard and difficult to chew but I amazed the nougat here is crispy and kind of hook for more with only one bite. Most snacks come with really beautiful design packaging. Just like those in Japan. So, it really perfect souvenirs if you in Guilin.

I bought some flower tea to enjoy up in Longsheng. I read it's going to be a cold-weather up there tomorrow. So hot strawberry tarts tea can warm up my body.

For those who love chillies, here is the perfect place to shop for some those homemade chillies too. I love to wall around this place since most of those sellers not very pushy and they kind of creative when it comes to displaying their items and attracting the customers to walk into their shop. They even wear the tribes' costumes and sing the song with passion.

You can check out those in my video in the link below

This place gives me the vibes as if the night is not going to end. My leg feels really weak at this point but since my hotel kind of near, I don't really feel like going back to the room and rest. hahaha

I find one quiet corner to sit and enjoy the night and view in front of me.

The Starbuck here is really stunning too. I love the old building design. so this place kind of perfect for me too. There are many other local cafes here too. It's more worth to visit the local cafe here.

For those avid Instagrammer, you can find every corner here as a perfect backdrop. There is one basement Supermarket. I was thinking about exploring but I can't stand the smells of that place. So I made a 'U' turn and end up sit by the nearby bench to enjoy the live band.

I guess my limit has come to end. I made a move back to the Hotel and thinking about climbing up the staircase to my room really worried my knee a lot. hahaha

I will continue West Street Yangshuo exploration in the morning since my car will only come at 12 noon.

I recorded my happening Night exploration at West Street Yangshuo in below video. Check it out!

You can check out my other Guilin Travelogue here :