Beijing to Guilin & Return: A Memorable Long Weekend
This week’s blog comes from guest blogger Paul Francis, a public school teacher in Beijing. Paul and his wife recently travelled to Guilin, and here he shares his experiences.
My wife and I are working at an international school in Beijing, so with a long weekend approaching we decided, along with a couple of our colleagues (who had now become friends), to take a trip to Guilin.
A Trip to Guilin
This ancient city is located in the Northeast of China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. With its beautiful terraced fields and natural beauty, Guilin is a “must see” for nationals and expats alike. We opted to take advantage of the inexpensive flights available through China Air for approximately 1000 CNY or $145 return from Beijing.
After arriving in Guilin and settling into our hotel accommodation for our first night (approximately $50) we walked around this bustling city in order to get a feel for it. Guilin is a mixture of old and new and it’s not uncommon to see hand-drawn carts alongside luxury vehicles.
Entertainment and much more!
This interesting city has a lot to offer for the curious expat in terms of architecture, culture and experiences. For instance, the very night of our arrival we were treated to a visual extravaganza, the likes of which we had never seen before. Through a culinary lens, the dishes here in China continue to amaze my taste buds and palate; the sheer amount of delicious food is boundless!
Our gigantic play was presented outdoors at the edge of the Li River which runs through Guilin and included a company of actors which may have numbered in the hundreds. The play began at sundown and included torch-lit characters along with live animals such as cattle and water buffalo; it was truly a remarkable spectacle and something we will never forget.
The next day we made our way to the base of a mountain on the outskirts of Guilin. At the summit, we had booked overnight accommodation at an inn. I couldn’t help but think that for the $70 which we spent on this unique accommodation, we really had lucked in.
As we climbed the narrow winding path to reach the mountaintop we stopped frequently, not only to catch our breath but also to admire the majestic scenery laid out before us. The local homes of the indigenous minority group were of particular interest to me. They were constructed of wood and stone and laid out in such a way that the first floor housed their animals such as chickens and goats.
The accommodations at the inn proved to be more than comfortable and the accompanying lookout over the vast mountainous area was truly breathtaking. Our inn, which catered almost exclusively to foreigners, did not offer any exotic local dishes such as snakes or toads. Rather our menu provided a choice of two meals. One was comprised of noodles and chicken while the other offered dumplings and a type of locally grown potato-like vegetable. Both dishes were accompanied by a very thin hot soup.
The End of Our Adventure
The next day we made our way down the mountain and connected with our pre-booked shuttle to the airport.
When we arrived in Beijing and prepared ourselves for the upcoming work week we couldn’t help but feel smug in our choice of a long weekend adventure in China.