A Travellerspoint blog

Quito

The Middle of the World

sunny 20 °C

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Here we go again!

We managed to make it to Quito even with the looming threat of the ash cloud! Everything seemed to be going smoothly until we got on the plane at Heathrow only to be told we´d have to wait for 2 hours before we could leave due to volcanic ash. This would have meant missing our connecting flight from Madrid to Quito but luckily we only had to wait 50 mins and we arrived in Madrid just in time to board our connecting flight, phew!

First impressions of Quito was that it was a lot like Spain just further from home! It´s a really high city at over 2,000m and we´d been warned that we might have to take it easy for the first few days to acclimatise to the altitude. We tested whether the altitude had affected us by spending our first day climbing pretty much anything we could find! After tackling a few hills, stairs and ladders we came to the conclusion that we´d be fine! We spent the morning looking round the local Basilica climbing stairs, walking across a wooden plank and then ascending some precarious ladders all the way up into the spires for stunning views over the city. Then we headed into the main part of the old town to look around another cathedral and try some traditional Ecuadorian snacks for lunch. The old part of town is really beautiful with lots of spanish style buildings and leafy plazas with locals walking round selling everything from ice creams to brooms! After lunch we took a tour of the Monastery of Santa Catalina which is a 400 year old convent and monastery where the 20 resident nuns live in small and basic cell style rooms and are only allowed 1 hour a day to talk to each other. Takes dedication to a whole new level! The nuns also sell various natural products and elixirs but you have to buy them through a revolving door which keeps the nuns hidden.

On our second day we took a trip on the second highest cablecar in the world, 2.5km up the side of Volcano Pinchincha. It was a good thing neither of us are really afraid of hights as it was dizzyingly high at over 4,000m. We saw some great views over Quito and noticed that we were above some of the aeroplanes coming in and out of the city! In the afternoon we tried our first "almuerzos" which is a traditional set lunch in Ecuador which generally costs less than $2 and is usually some fresh local juice, a potato soup and a massive plate of chicken rice and vegetables!

Our last day was spent in a town around 2 hours from Quito called Otavalo which is famed for its traditional markets selling alpaca wool scarves, balnkets, ponchos etc. It was a bit of an effort to get to and the weekday market was only small, but it was nice to see all the local produce even if we did only end up coming home with a bag full of fruit! The trip also gave us an excuse to cross the equator by bus, as although only 2 hours away, Otavalo is in the Northern Hemisphere and Quito in the Southern Hemisphere!

Posted by alexdani 15:59 Archived in Ecuador Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Beijing

Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City, Tianamen Square, Summer Palace, Olympic Park and The Great Wall - The sightseeing capital of China!

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So we've made it. After a whopping 9 plane journeys, we're at our final destination. Beijing seemed so far away from New Zealand at the start of our trip and we can't believe it's already nearly time to come home! We're staying at a 240 year old hostel which is in a traditional Chinese courtyard style. Apparently the Emperor himself used to stay here back in the day, and there's even an underground tunnel beneath the building which leads to the Forbidden City so he could sneak in unnoticed!

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On our first day here we visited the Temple of Heaven, which is where the Emperor visited to pray to heaven for good harvest in 1400s. The buildings are all really beautiful, although once again we are unsure how original it is as it looks as though it was painted yesterday!

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In the evening we went to see the Olympic Park, which was just as impressive as on the telly! The Birds Nest and Water Cube were all lit up, but it all looked unused apart from the masses of space around it which was being used by locals speed-skating around makeshift tracks.

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On our second day we went to Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City, so called because up until 1925 no-one except the Emperor and his servants were allowed to enter. It was absolutely enormous and full of more beautiful Chinese buildings.

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Once we'd wandered around inside we walked up the hill behind, which has an amazing view down onto the city.

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In the evening we found a duck restaurant to try the famous Peking Duck, something we'd been looking forward to the whole time we'd been in China! They slice the duck here instead of shredding it like they do at home but it tastes delicious with big dollops of Hoi Sin and crunchy spring onions! We weren't sure what to think of it being served on a duck shaped dish though!

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The next day we trekked along the Great Wall. We'd heard that the stretch of wall nearest to Beijing, Badaling, gets really busy with Chinese tourists, and has been almost competely rebuilt from the original, so we took an alternative trip to a place called Jinshanling, 125km outside of Beijing, where there are still a few stretches of original unrestored wall. We took a scenic 10km hike to the next town of Simatai which was a lot more physically demanding than we'd been expecting. The wall swoops up and down the mountains so you have to scramble right up before coming back down again the other side.

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The restored parts of the wall weren't too bad but in other parts the path was crumbling away so badly it was a real mission to climb. It was an unforgettable experience mainly due to it's breathtaking scale as it spirals away over the mountains of into the horizon. Our guide told us that many thousands of people were forced to build it over 2000 years ago and the bodies of those who died whilst working on it were buried inside the wall, making it the longest cemetary in the world. When we finally made it to the end of our hike we had to take a zip wire down from the wall, across a huge lake into the town below. It was pretty terrifying as it looked a bit rusty and we started so high up, but a great way to finish our trip!

We did this!

We did this!

On our penultimate day we went to the Summer Palace which ironically was covered in a blanket of snow! It had been snowing heavily since we woke up and the whole place was like a magical winter wonderland. The brightly coloured pagodas and pavillions looked amazing against the white and we got rather trigger happy with the camera! (you'll have to wait until we get home to see them though! ;) )

In the evening we went to see an acrobatics peformace by the world famous Chinese acrobatics team. It was only an hour long show but it was one of the best things we've ever seen. They bent themselves into the most mindboggling positions imaginable spinning plates on all their limbs at the same time! At the end there was an insane bit where 5 motorbikes drove around inside a metal sphere missing each other by inches as they went zooming round upside down. It was awesome!

Today we spent our last day looking around one of the indoor markets where they literally drag you into their stall to look at something you didn't want to buy in the first place! It wasn't the most relaxing shopping experience but it was fun bargaining with them to about a 10th of the price they'd started at!

And thats it! 3 and a half months of globe trotting are finally over and its time to come back to good old England. We've had a really great time but we can't wait to come home and see everyone now.

SEE YOU TOMORROW! :) X x x

Posted by alexdani 04:54 Archived in China Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Suzhou

Gardens in the Snow

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We took the train from Shanghai to Suzhou to visit its famous thousand year old gardens, supposedly the best preserved in China. Its dubbed the "Venice of the East" for its network of beautiful canals lined with teashops, though we came to the conclusion that Venice should be slightly offended by this comparison! It was a nice enough place but unfortunately we arrived to sub-zero temperature and non-stop rain. As usual the chinese street seller crew were out in force at the train station, selling macs and umbrellas. They really do seem to be ready to make the most out of any situation! By the time we'd checked in to the hostel it hardly seemed worth braving the elements to try and explore some gardens, so we took solace in the toasty restaurant for a nice cup of tea and a well overdue relaxing afternoon.

It rained for a good 12 hours straight but by the next morning it had finally stopped, only to be replaced by SNOW. It was so strange to think that less than a month ago we'd been sweating in 35 degree heat and now we were wrapping up warm against the snow! We spent the morning exploring a few of the gardens which unlike English ones have a notable lack of flowers. Instead we were treated to lots of rockeries, pavillions (with flowery names such as the "listening to the rain pavillion" and the "heavenly peace pavillion"), ponds and the odd bonsai tree! They were really beautiful and peaceful and we could tell that when all the cherry blossom comes out in the next few weeks it would be absolutely stunning.

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In the afternoon we visited the Suzhou Museum, an uber cool modern building which was designed by the famous architect I.M Pei, who also designed the glass pyramid in the Louvre.

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It was back to Shanghai in the evening for one more day of sightseeing before flying to our final destination, Beijing.

Posted by alexdani 04:11 Archived in China Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Shanghai

Skyscrapers Galore

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We arrived in Shanghai for our fanciest airport pick up so far. A lady waving a piece of paper with my name on who led us to an enormous car with big comfy armchair seats for the 1hr trip into the city. The first thing that hit us was the sheer number of skyscrapers. The whole place is so space age it's like being in a sci-fi film!

We planned to spend two days here, either side of a two day trip to Suzhou. On our first day we just wandered around getting a feel for the place. We found the old town, which had a strange mix of modern shops in traditional Chinese buildings, and had a look around a Chinese garden. The weather was starting to get really cold though (about 6 degrees) so we escaped into the warm for some food.

In the evening we took a taxi into the financial district where all the skyscrapers are. Shanghai is home to 3 of the tallest buildings in the world.

The Pearl Tower, which looks like its straight out of War of the Worlds.

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The Jin Mao tower (on the left) which is the second tallest building in China.

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And finally the Shanghai World Financial Center (on the right), which at 492m tall is the 3rd tallest building in the world!

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We decided to walk up to the "SWFC" and after finding out it had the tallest observation deck in the world where suckered into paying the extortionate fee to climb to the top of it. It was totally worth it though and the oddest experience ever. It was only finished in 2008 so the design is really space age and pretty hard to describe. All the staff were dressed in Star Trek style uniforms and the lift had lots of LED screens which flashed faster and faster as we zoomed up to the 100th floor. The view from the top was cool and just like the sky tower in Auckland there was the glass floor to walk tentatively across.

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When we get back from Suzhou in a couple of days we're planning on finishing off the sights by going to the Shanghai museum and taking a walk along the famous riverside 'Bund'.

Posted by alexdani 06:37 Archived in China Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Xi'an

Terracotta Warriors

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After a short flight from Chengdu we arrived in Xi'an. The sky was grey from all the smog, just like Chengdu
(where they told us that they hardly ever see the blue sky!), but it was much colder! We found our hostel which was in an old traditional Chinese style building, with (now enclosed) courtyards and balconies which were really beautiful. In the evening we went to the 'Muslim Quarter' of town which is known for the food. We found out the hard way that some is rather tasty, and some is just inedible!

The following day we went to see what we'd come to Xi'an for - the Terracotta Army. We took the public bus to the site an hour outside of Xi'an and decided to get a guide when we arrived. The first thing we did was visit the gift shop where, on occassions, the farmer who discovered the site visits to sign books! We were in luck and managed to see the man himself who is now rather old.

The warriors, dating from 210BC, were constructed by an estimated 700,000 workers for the First Emperor's mausoleum. They've found about 8,000 figures so far (of which no two are alike) and still say there are more to be uncovered. They were built in precise military formation which included terractota horses and charriots. Supposedly the Emperor thought he could continue to continue to conquer the world even after his death!

We went into the main area where the largest number of warriors have been found and restored (around 2000). The fact that they were over 2000 years old made it really impressive, but you couldn't get close enough to really appreciate the fact that they are all unique. Our guide explained that they were all coloured when they were found but after a month or so it faded to the brown colour.

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Also there was only one warrior that was found complete, requiring no restoration. All the others had been put back together. This is the lucky one that survived:

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On our second day we went to visit the 'Big Wild Goose Pagoda', which has many tiers. We spent a while looking around but it was just too cold! For dinner we went to a restaurant that served a traditional soup. It was all a bit confusing - first you were given a bowl with some flat bread in it, which you had to break up and then they took it away to make the soup. It was nice and warming but we weren't a big fan of the taste and soggy bread floating around!

In the evening we were once again back at the airport for our flight to Shanghai.

Posted by alexdani 06:12 Archived in China Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Chengdu

Pandas! :)

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On our first day in Chengdu we'd planned on getting the bus to Leshan, a town 2 hours away where there is an enormous Buddha carved into the side of the mountain. However first we had to book some train tickets to Xi'an our next destination. The lady at the hostel said that we had to catch a bus for 40 mins to the station - buses in China seem to always be packed so we had to stand the whole journey. When we got there they said that there were no tickets for the day we wanted, or for the following 6 days (unless we wanted standing tickets for a 16 hour journey!). By the time we got back it was to late to make the journey to Leshan, so instead we spent the day on a cheap flight website we'd been told about. We ended up booking flights for all our journeys back to Beijing as we didn't want the same thing to happen again and the flights weren't much more expensive than the train anyway.

In the evening we went to a Sichuan Opera which is a traditional show with dancers, musicians and fire breathers. The most impressive thing was the 'face changing' where the performers were wearing masks which, with the sweep of a cape, magically changed colour and pattern in a fraction of a second. We were served jasmine tea in traditional tea cups throughout the show too, which was nice to try. Think we'll stick to good old milky tea though!

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Our second day went more to plan and we went to see the big buddha. It was huge - the biggest Buddha statue in the world. You walk down from the top of its head to its feet and getting back up was pretty tiring!

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We saved the best thing in Chengdu until our last day - PANDAS! As the pandas are native to the Sichuan provice there is a huge reserve and breeding centre close to Chengdu. We went early in the morning as this is the time when they are at their most active, and they were moving around loads more than we'd expected. We saw lots of adult pandas and some cute little cubs, although we didn't get to see any really tiny ones as its the wrong time of year. Some had just been fed and were laying right in the bamboo munching away. They also had some 'lesser' or 'red' pandas that were more like racoons but still really cute.

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In the afternoon we were back at the airport for our flight to Xi'an.

Posted by alexdani 05:44 Archived in China Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Lijiang

'Black Dragon Pool Park', 'Jade Dragon Snow Mountain' and 'Tiger Leaping Gorge'!

sunny 12 °C
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After a 4 hour bus journey from Dali we arrived in Lijiang and spent the afternoon looking around town. Its such a beautiful place; old chinese buildings separated by cobbled streets and rivers with 'Jade Dragon Snow Mountain' in the background. This area has many 'Naxi' people and so lots of people walking around in traditional dress, which is really interesting. It is very touristy, but seeing as nearly all of the tourists were Chinese we didn't really notice so much!

On our first day we visited 'Black Dragon Pool Park' (they seem to have a liking for elaborate place names!) which was absolutely beautiful. The entrance fee was really expensive but fortunately there were a few sneaky chinese ladies lurking near the gate offering entry at a third of the price through a "secret path"! Intrigued, we followed the woman under a couple of fences, through the woods and straight into the park! Inside there was a big lake and some pavillions positioned perfectly with the mountain behind them.

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We spent all morning looking around and had just stopped for an ice cream when we noticed a whole group of people staring at us (more than usual anyway!). After a while one girl came up to us and asked us if they could take a photo of us with their grandmother who was dressed in traditional costume. It turned out that they were 'Yi' people (a Chinese minority group) on a big family holiday, and were as intrigued by us as we were by them. It made a nice change as we're usually the ones asking to take pictures of people. (we couldn't resist asking for one in return though!)

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In the afternoon we went to visit 'Mu's Mansion', which is a really beautiful typically Chinese style building and although the original is really old it has recently been restored (or pretty much rebuilt!). Still, it is really impressive and leads up to a hill with great views over the town.

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Two hours from Lijiang is a place called 'Tiger Leaping Gorge' where you can do a 2 day hike over the mountains, supposedly the best trek in China (It's also apparently one of the deepest river canyons in the world.) So on our second day we got a bus out to a small town where you start the trek from. The map was really vague so it took us a while to find the path we needed up the mountain but once we found it the directions were easy enough. The views across the gorge were amazing even after the first half an hour of walking and we were really lucky to have a perfect sunny day which made it look even better!

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We stopped for a super cheap lunch at a guesthouse run by a Naxi family and coudn't miss the opportunity to take a quick snap of the grandmother.

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After this we had the most gruelling part of the trek, 24 bends up to the top of the mountain, making a total climb of almost 1,000m! It was pretty exhausting, especially with the sun beating down on us, and it didn't help that we were being followed by some locals with mules offering an easy ride up to the top. Every time we stopped to take a breath or showed signs of tiring we'd hear "you want horse? you want horse?". This routine was amusing at first but ended in an mildly aggressive response of "NO HORSE!" after the 20th time of asking!

The views all the way along the hike were utterly spectacular, probably even rivaling the scenery in New Zealand. The snow capped mountains to our left and the sparkling blue gorge rushing below.

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We called it a day at about 5pm when we arrived at a lovely little guesthouse up in the mountains, where we sipped green tea as we watched the sky turn orange behind the mountains. It was one of the most memorable places we've stayed on our trip so far and it was really cool to wake up in the mountains for our second day of trekking.

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The morning was all downhill but most of the path was seriously steep and crumbling away which really took it out of our knees and wasn't much fun. We descended all the way down to the river where there were the most ferocious rapids you've ever seen! We'd heard the place is usually really popular with tourists but we hadn't seen a soul for hours. It was great to have the place all to ourselves but we were starting to get a bit concerned that maybe there was a reason no-one was around! There were lots of tables set up where locals would usually sell food and drink etc but no-one to be seen. It was a ghost town. We finished the trek by climbing back up along a small path that led through local fields and villages to a guesthouse that offered minibus trips back to the start of the trail.

It was at this point that we found out why we were practically alone in the mountains. We'd heard that there was "some construction" on the mountain road back to the start and that the trail was officially (though not physically) closed because of it, but this turned out to be an enormous understatement. They had been blowing up the cliffs with dynamite to widen the road and caused landslides all the way along the road. We'll save the full details of this for when we get home but safe to say it was the scariest journey of our trip and we were pleased to be arriving safe and well back in Lijiang that evening.

On our final day in Lijiang we rented bikes to explore the surrounding area and visit one of the local villages. The village, Baisha, turned out to be a bit of a tourist trap but it was worth the effort just for the bike ride there and back in the sunshine with the mountains and trees in the distance.

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Posted by alexdani 05:44 Archived in China Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Dali

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Dani on the mountain

Dani on the mountain

The journey from Guilin to Dali was our most ambitious yet. An 18 hour overnight train followed by a 5 hour public bus! We arrived at the train station in Guilin hoping the train number/platform would be obvious but sadly this was a little optimistic and we had to opt for the method of waving our tickets at people and hoping they pointed us in the right direction! We eventually found a sort of waiting area similar to an airport gate and after a while we followed the heaving crowd through the doors and down to the platform where luckily our carriage was right in front of us! (thank goodness numbers are the same in Chinese as in English!) We had a small cabin with 2 bunks of 3 beds (the top ones being perilously high!).

The journey wasn't actually too bad as most of it was spent sleeping and before we knew it we were arriving in Kunming. Again we got lucky as Kunming was the last stop so we couldn't miss it! Originally we'd planned to spend a night here before heading to Dali the next morning but due to our tight schedule we thought we'd try and save a day by heading straight through. Kunming Station was chaos though, there were hoards of people moving in every direction and the useless map we had gave us no idea where the bus station was. We hopelessly tried asking people but there wasn't a word of English to be found anywhere! Eventually we fought our way through the crowds to a bus station but were told (in Chinese) that we needed a different bus station. At this point lots of Chinese people tried to help us but we didn't have a clue what they were saying and the whole thing was all rather frustrating.

We decided a getting in a taxi might be a good plan as we had the name of the bus station written in Chinese to show him. All seemed to be going well until he started flying down the motorway, the meter zooming up. We had no idea where he was taking us as the bus station was supposed to be quite near, but unable to communicate we had to sit in the back panicking about where we were going and hoping he came off the motorway soon. Fortunately we did end up at the bus station but the taxi driver definitely took a conveniently long way round! 5 hours and one fairly uncomfortable bus journey later we finally made it to Dali, a beautiful little old town in the mountains.

We only spent one day here, and continuing our theme for this trip decided to do a hike! We took a cable car up one of the mountains and then a leisurely three hour stroll along a very well constructed path which wound backwards and forwards along the side of the mountain. It was mainly flat so wasn't too strenuous and the views of the town below and the mountains and lake in the distance were stunning. When we got to the end there was a little temple to look round and then a relaxing chair lift back down to the bottom. In the evening we took a stroll around the old town and had dinner on "foreigner street" with English menus!

Posted by alexdani 00:58 Archived in China Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Yangshuo

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On our first evening in Yangshuo we'd arranged to be taken to see the traditional cormorant fishing. Once it was dark we got back on board a bamboo raft and caught up with a fisherman. He had a light on the front of his boat and a team of 6 cormorants diving in and out of the water. The water was so clear you could see the birds swimming around hunting for fish. Every now and then he would pull one out of the water and make it spit out all of the fish it had caught. It didn't look especially comfy for the poor bird and we decided it was actually quite a cruel method of fishing (we're also not convinced that fishermen still use this method, but just perform for the tourists).

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The next day we hired bikes to explore the beautiful countryside around Yangshuo. The road was really flat but wound through more stunning karsts and even though it was pretty chilly, the sun was shining! We rode to a 'Scenic Area' where they had a 1400 year old Banyan tree. We hired our own bamboo raft and had a go at steering it down the river with big poles (a bit like punting).

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We carried on a bit further to 'Moon Hill' which is the craziest shaped mountain:

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We climbed up to the gap where the view was amazing, you could see for miles around. There was a path with a sign saying that you couldn't go up it, but we were told by an old lady that it was fine and she started shooing us up the path! It turned out that it led all the way to the very top of the arc where the view got even better!

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In the evening we went to an outdoor show that was correographed by the man that directed the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympic Games. There was no stage, just the river with the mountains in the background which were beautifully lit up (apparently it's the largest outdoor theatre in the world). We'd heard that it was absolutely amazing so were expecting to be blown away. It was really impressive due to the huge number of people involved (over 600 performers!) the way that light was used and the fact that it was all performed on boats on the river. But it had been built up far too much so we came away feeling unreasonable for being a little disappointed.

The next morning we got the bus back to Guilin where we caught the 18 hour train to Kunming!!

Posted by alexdani 04:06 Archived in China Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Guilin

Rivers, Mountains and Waterfalls

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We made it to China! The last stop in our 7 country marathon. Almost didnt make it though, as surprise surprise the hostel had lied about there being lots of tickets at the station. We queued up optimistically but when we got to the front we were greeted with a stern face and a shaking of the head. We were about to get a taxi back to the hostel when we decided it might be worth trying to blag a seat on the bus anyway. All we had was a paper receipt from the hostel for the tickets that hadn't actually been bought so we jumped on the bus and hoped no-one would ask any questions! As the ticket lady started walking down the isle towards us we were more than a bit nervous. It was either going to be a free trip to China or a severe telling off and another night in Hanoi! Unbelievably, after giving our piece of paper a long inspection and dissappearing for what seemed like an eternity she came back with receipts for proper tickets! We've no idea how or why this happened (or how a full bus had two spare seats!) but we were on our way to China FOR FREE!

We left Hanoi in the morning, 3 buses and 13 hours later we arrived in Guilin. Luckily we met some really kind American people on the bus who lived in Guilin and could speak really good Chinese. They helped us buy our bus tickets at the busiest and most confusing bus station we'd ever seen, and even helped us find our hostel (at 11.30pm).

On our only day in Guilin we started by taking a very busy public bus (spot the foreigner!) to the train station to buy tickets for our next destination, Kunming. Apparently there's around 1.6billion people in China and it seemed as though most of them were at Guilin Railway Station. There were about 10 enormous queues for tickets so we picked the shortest one and hoped for the best. After about 40 mins we confidently handed over a piece of paper with what we wanted written in chinese to be laughed at and told (mainly in chinese) that we were in the wrong queue! Luckily the actual one we needed was quite short and the problem was soon resolved! Having wasted more than enough time already, we hopped in a taxi to Solitary Beauty Peak, an enormous limestone mountain rising ubruptly from the otherwise flat surrounding area. There's not really much to say about the place other than that the view of the city below and the mountains on the horizon was pretty amazing.

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In the afternoon we went to Seven Star Park, named after its seven mountain peaks. It was an massive park with lots of pagodas and pavillions. There was even an old abandoned zoo in the middle of the grounds.

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It was a great place just to wander around and explore and we stayed until sunset which looked stunning behind the mountains.

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In the evening we went to see the Sun and Moon Pagoda's, which are lit up beautifully at night, and also the worlds largest man made waterfall down the side of a huge hotel!

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It was the strangest thing to see. At 8.30pm the hotel lit up and dramatic music started playing as the water began pouring down, then 15 minutes later everything returned to normal!

The next morning we were up early to take our boat cruise down the Li River to Yangshuo. We'd heard it was one of the most beautiful river cruises in the world so were very excited even though the weather was looking a bit grey. The "normal" boat cruise was super expensive so we went for the much cheaper (and more adventurous looking!) bamboo raft cruise. We were picked up from our hostel by a minivan which wasn't big enough for the group of us waiting, not to mention all our huge rucksacks. Somehow we were all squeezed in half on seats with luggage all over us. Luckilly it was only a short journey until we found our very unusual mode of transport tied up on the river. It was basically just 10 long pieces of bamboo tied together with a few bamboo chairs balanced on top and a small motor at the back.

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We managed to get the front seat for unobscured views of the stunning scenery, even though this did mean our rucksacks at our feet were in perfect postion for getting soaked! The gamble of paying less for the raft definitely paid off, it was far more exciting than a boring old ferry and a much better view. We cruised along for about 2 hours amazed at all the surrounding strange shaped mountains.

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After the raft it was about another hour on the bus to Yangshuo. We thought the bus was just for people on the tour...how wrong we were! The bus stopped to pick up locals all the way and when we reached Yangshuo the people practically fell out of the door it was so full! We'd met some other English people on the way and followed them to a hostel they'd booked where we got a lovely room with a really cool view of the mountains.

Posted by alexdani 04:04 Archived in China Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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