The next morning I woke up early. I needed to head out and start sightseeing since on the way back from Yangshuo there wouldn’t be much time.
I had heard from Jonathan the day before that the palace was worth seeing. So after a quick coffee I headed to the bus station (loved it that the station names were also in English) and got off at Xicheng Crossing next to the two Pagodas.But I was not interested in them at the moment since I wanted to go to the Solitary Beauty Peak (the Prince City Scenic Area) first.
As usual my map reading skills were not on their best behavior and I had to turn around once. Which in the heat and humidity was not really great (I would say it had around 32 degrees). Eventually I found the surrounding wall of the palace and after a bit of looking I also found the entrance. Next to the ticket counter was a sign in English that an audio guide was available. Since I was touring alone I wanted to get one (even though the one in the Forbidden City was such a disappointment). They wouldn’t let me pay for it though and mimicked that I could pick one up at the entrance.
As it turned out the audio guide was only available in Chinese although the sign for it was in both languages. This is China for you. Always great on service!
It didn’t matter so much since with the ticket I got a map of the scenic area. As the name already said it was a peak, one which needed to be climbed.Another one with endless steps but now in awful heat.
But first it was a walk through the park and right at the entrance some students were celebrating their exams with lots of pictures. I asked one of them later to take mine.More impressions from the park, here the “Couples Tree” information (the well of fortune was probably the reason for the students visit) and the tree itself. I still like seeing the audio guide sign in English. The peak was getting closer but so were other things like a little lake and a cave.
Right next to the staircase of the peak climb was a sign for the Chinese on how to behave in the park. I really love how the Chinese Government tries its best to educate its people.
One more deep breath and off I went to the top of another peak/hill/building. After the first two levels there were small temples so I had a reason to stop and look. By then I was drenched in sweat, the heat was killing me. On top I noticed that someone was taking my picture so I asked where I should put myself for them to get the best angle. Of course then I asked them to take mine as well but with one of them. This girl was more than happy to oblige. Down I went again and it was a lot faster than up and after a quick bathroom stop with hilarious impressions I left towards the Sun and Moon Twin Pagodas. After a juice stop (I love that you can get a glass of freshly made juice on every corner) I was ready to walk some more in this heat but then didn’t make it further as to the Liberation Bridge and shortly afterwards to a restaurant in the pedestrian zone. I had some great food again but as usual it was too much. You might not see that but it was strictly vegetarian. I had heard the night before at the hostel that they were eating dog in the area and I didn’t want to risk that.
After the meal I went in search of the pagodas and found them just around the corner. These were the sun and the moon pagoda. I am sure there is a lot of information about them out there, so I provided the link for you here, please just read about it yourself.I searched a bit longer for the entrance to the Elephant Trunk Hill. Once found, the trunk was right there upon entering. And again there was something to climb on top of and since I was already soaked, a bit more didn’t matter. Up I went to have another gorgeous view over the city and the karst hills far away shrouded in a hazy mist. After catching my breath on top I went down again to inspect the actual trunk hole at the bottom. And here I found another example of how the Chinese follow orders. With everything seen (or almost) I was ready to leave Guilin and go to Yangshuo. While walking to the bus station back to the hostel I saw some restaurants which advertised their menu a little differently. But before getting on the bus to Yangshuo I still had to get back to the hostel, pick up my backpack and then get back on the bus no. 10 to the big bus station. The bus to Yangshuo then was leaving every 15 minutes and it was no problem to get a ticket.
On the overland bus I looked out the window and the scenery started to change very soon. Once in Yangshuo I had no idea on how to get to my hostel. I only knew that it was 15 minutes away from the center but of course the bus station was also away from the center and exactly in the other direction.
Since misery likes company I was glad that there were some others Western travelers on the bus. One of them even had a map on which I could clearly see that I would and could not walk in this heat with the backpack to the hostel. It was just too far.
At the North Bus station (where we arrived) should have been a green bus no. 5 but suddenly all public transportation vanished and only taxis were left. A really weird coincidence but with an asking price of less than an Euro per person I was happy to oblige.
I checked into the Westend hostel and had a room on the 4th floor all to myself. I loved it right away up there with the big bed and the air condition. So far Yangshuo felt as if it had a least 5 degrees more than in Guilin. How that was even possible I did not know.
When I had cooled down sufficiently and gotten some information on what to do in the area I decided to explore the city. The center of Yangshuo was West Street which is very similar to Khaosan Road in Bangkok on a slightly smaller scale.
Looks crazy, doesn’t it? But it’s exhilarating to walk through it and watch everyone and everything. When I finally had enough I walked back to my hostel, had dinner across the street from it and turned in for the night. Yours, Pollybert