Tag Archives: guilin

Let’s Go To Asia – Travel Video

27th September 2015

So as the astute among you may have noticed, we are already finished with our trip. We are in lovely Australia. I still have a few posts about our trip to come, but I recently finished editing this little video together and couldn’t wait to share it.

So here is just a few of the best parts of our trip:

Our South East Asia Grand Tour – One Month Re-cap

22nd April 2015

I can’t believe that we’ve been traveling for a month. It feels like yesterday I was excitedly posting on Facebook that we had one month to go before we left Korea. Now we have seen 5 countries, 12 cities, 11 planes, 5 trains, an endless amount of buses and more delicious foods that you can shake my ever growing belly at.

So what have we been up to? I realise I have been trying to update you all slowly but here is a quick recap for those of you who, like me, are partial to the odd list.

 

8 Japan

Kyoto – One of the places I most wanted to visit when moving to Asia. It didn’t disappoint. Geisha sightings, delicious markets and bamboo forests made this place unforgettable.

kyoto2_5 Best part of the trip: Feeding the Japanese snow monkeys in Arashiyama monkey park

Best tasty treat : Our first try of Okonomiyaki

 

10 Nara –  An adorable small city where deers rule the roost and temples are abundant.

Best part of the trip : Getting up close and personal with the deers.

Best tasty treat:  Green tea ice cream

 

sorry...had to do it

sorry…had to do it

Osaka – A fast paced city full of bright lights and active locals.

Best part of the trip: Seeing the bright lights of Dottonbori

Worst part of the trip: Getting our plane turned around after we left Japan for an unexpected extra night in the city. Although not the worst city to get stuck in.

 

12 The Philippines

Manila – We only stopped off here for the airport but we did it 4 times so it feels silly not to include it.

Best part of the airport (apart from leaving it) :  WENDY’S!

11 Boracay – Absolutely stunning which makes it even more annoying that its been swamped by tauts and con men that run up and down every inch of this spectacular beach.

Best part of the trip: Discovering the quieter areas of the beaches for ‘downers’…or sunset cocktails.

Worst part : Hiding from the sun even though I love it so and getting pick pocketed by our waiter and his accomplice.

23 Bohol – Beautiful chocolate hills and lovely quiet villages.

Best part of the trip: Seeing the Tarsiers

Worst part: Lee getting horrible food poisoning/parasite that would stay with him for 10 days.

13 El Nido – Beautiful beaches, glorious sunsets and island hopping

Best part of the trip: Snorkling for the first time and being utterly lazy.

Worst part: I got hit by the evil food poisoning/parasite here that knocked me for 6.

15 China

Guagzhou – a bustling city on the up.

Best part : Seeing the Canton Tower and the great area surrounding it.

Best tasty treat: A tiramisu latte from the Hello Kitty cafe.

4 Guilin – A small town surrounded by the Chinese mountains.

Best part of the trip: Visiting the Longji rice terraces

15 Yangshuo – A small village hidden in the mountains with an almost Mediterranean feel.

Best part : The incredible mountains we saw on our river cruise.

Tastiest treat: Coconut and champagne ice cream from a street seller

Best bargain: A blue and white porcelain bracelet for £2

18 Hong Kong –

A bright, exciting mix of British culture ,Chinese food and tradition.

Best part: ALL OF IT, especially celebrating our 10 year anniversary here.

Worst part: our wallets are much lighter now

Tastiest treat: The legendary ‘Skirt Burger’ from The Diner

The Stats

Average spent on hotels per night: £4 per person

Average spent on food and drink: £15 per day but this was the expensive part of our trip with Japan and Hong Kong taking a large part of our money.

Average puppies hugged: 2 a day (it’s definitely puppy season in Asia)

Amount of local beers drank: faaar too many

Photos taken: it’s best to not think about it but I’m glad I bought my hard drive.

 

What’s up next? I hear you cry…well maybe you didn’t cry that but i’m going to tell you anyway. Our next month has a trip through Vietnam where we are spending 3 weeks exploring all it has to offer and then we are hoping over to Cambodia to see those famous temples and get our beach fix. Fingers crossed it will be as fun as the first month…just maybe a little cheaper.

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The Mountains of Guilin

16th April 2015

banner Today was the day. Today was the day we got to see the Guilin mountains. Mountains that are so beautiful they adorn the Chinese 20 Yuan note.
This was one of the things I was looking forward to seeing  since i’ve become addicted to feets of nature since our trip to Taiwan’s Taroko Gorge. Guilin did not disappoint.
We set off on our trip and arrived in a small port surrounded by pushy , scary Chinese woman. If Lee hadn’t have been there I’d have been rolled into a ball screaming ‘stranger danger’. Scared enough to buy all their oranges and flower garlands but luckily he helped me stand my ground.
We carefully boarded our bamboo boat and set off. We moved through the mountains and mist almost becoming accustom to the view. It was awe inspiring and definitely worth the trip. We were a little unlucky with the weather but not even grey skies can detract from these views. 19 20

Our favourite part of the day was making our own names for each mountains. I don’t think they would have been appreciated by the Chinese though. ‘Sulky gorilla yawning’ mountain seems to lack the poetry that the Chinese provide for these hills. 16 17 18
The trip ended and we drove the rest of the way to Yangshuo where we instantly decided to stay for the night. This pretty little artsy town is  geared towards tourists but it feels very relaxed. Surrounded by the mountains and filled with good cheap food made it the perfect stop over. We stayed in the Green Forest Hostel’s Yangshuo branch, which was even better than the Guilin branch. I wish time would have allowed us to have spent a lot longer there but sadly two days was all we had time for. 1 5 6 11 12
Later in the day we dragged ourselves from the delicious street venders (spring rolls , i heart you) and headed on a river cruise to another smaller local village. This time we were taken by a real bamboo boat that was rowed for us instead of a motorised one like earlier in the day. We also got to experience a special showing of the Yangshuo fisher men. These men use birds to fish for them. It seems horribly cruel since a string is tied to the birds neck so he can’t swallow. Once he catches the fish the fisherman takes the food. At the end of the day the bird is rewarded with fish. I still question whether this is fair or not. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t even question going to see it when we bought the day trip ticket. I had seen it on a BBC documentary and surely nothing you see on the BBC can be bad?!? I did question the ethical nature of it though.It’s hard to question such an ancient art that takes years to master. There are only 5 men that still know how to fish like this so I don’t think it will last forever and to be honest I don’t know if this is sad or just. It’ll be sad for the local area when such an ancient culture disappears but then again…those poor birdies. 9 10 13 14
Once we started sailing the river cruise was perfect ..well it would have been perfect if we hadn’t have had a 18 year old idiot driving us. This boy thought it was his personal mission to talk and yell at every other boat on the river. The beauty and peace is a little ruined when your driver is wolf whistling and spitting everywhere….but we still managed to enjoy it.
I think everyone who goes to Guilin is already sure they will take the trip down the river but a stay in Yangshuo and the additional cruise (which cost us about 12 pound) is something we’d recommend. If you are going to travel all that way, it makes sense to see as much of the place as you can.  And what a place it is. 15 7 8

A last word of warning would be that Yangshuo is a beautiful place but as soono as it gets dark this place becomes a crazy nightclub town so make sure your hostel is well away from the party street…and have a good time. 2 3 4 signature

Things to do in Guilin – China

14th April 2015

banner As our train pulled up to Guilin the mist parted to revel the towering mountains around us. Our first impression was Guilin was that it was all we had heard about and more. We had a week to enjoy our time here and we wanted to try everything Guilin had to offer the only problem was we were still suffering from the dreaded food poisoning we had caught in The Philippines. Our bodies were rebelling and we were fighting against our tummies to have a nice time.

We luckily had a beautiful room in the ‘Green Forest Hostel’ that let us rest up in a nice environment or as nice as a place can be when your body is trying to attack you. Unfortunately one of these rest days was Lee’s birthday. The poor guy had to spend his 30th curled up in a ball watching Sopranos with the rain pelting down outside. As birthdays go, it wasn’t the best. Like a trooper he pretended to like the crappy signs I made him and pretended the card I’d carried with me from Korea was special. He also received a voucher for a suit once we arrive in Vietnam (I feel to help lower the price of this suit I should also get lots of lovely clothes made…it would be rude not to after all).

14 16 After a ruined  birthday we had to bite the bullet and decided to head to the hospital. After a very quick, efficient visit and 36 pound later we were loaded up with all the pills China had to offer.They took effect after about 24 hours and we could finally explore. The city of Guilin is quite bustling. Set among the beautiful mountain islands this little city is a great place to wander around. There is the famous sun and moon pagodas to see in both the light and dark and the large delicious night markets that fill a large area of Guilin. We also discovered a small traditional street filled with street food and bakery’s that had our tummies rumbling for the first time in weeks and this time for the right reasons.

4 10 11 12 13 15 The only thing that was annoying about Guilin was the price of all the attractions. I stupidly thought that it would be free to see the famous rocks listed in the guide books such as Elephant Hill, but you had to pay to get in to every area. There is luckily always an opening on the river bank for a sneaky photo but it was never quite the same. It was about 7 pound for each attraction which was a little out of our budget. We picked a trip down the river to Yangsheo and a trip to the rice terraces and even that was pushing our budget to it’s limits.

1 2 The night market was our spot for every evening. Greasy noodles and Taiwanese breakfast pancakes. We wandered the streets daring to try foods with our delicate bellies and seeing the Guilin people go about their day. Guilin was a much nicer place to be than Guangzhou. People smiled and were helpful in shops. We always received a friendly smile when attempting to speak our broken Cantonese.

5 7 8 9 The day trips were the definite highlight of our trip to Guilin but the sheer amount of photos I took requires a special post and maybe an AA group dedicated to a shutterbug addicts. 3 signature

Our Chinese Train Debacle

12th April 2015

How would I sum up the Guangzhou train station?

hmmm…..let’s say…Hell!

a crappy photo of the hordes of people

a crappy photo of the hordes of people

If you , like us, come from the UK then catching a train is something you will be quite use to. You turn up about half hour before if you are being cautious. Get your ticket and wait on the platform. This is not how they do things in China.

If you want to get a ticket for a train in China you need to make sure you are at the station an hour to two hours before. This is because:

  1. The queues are 50 people long
  2. The Chinese people didn’t seem to know how to queue

I’m not a confrontational person but after Lee and I had been queuing for over an hour and 5 people tried to push their way to the front to buy 5 tickets each , I got a bit nasty. I put my middle school teachers face on and shouted a stern ‘no’ in Chinese and pointed to the back of the line that was a faint speck in the distance. The man looked confused since pushing in is a way of life in China.

By the time we got to the front of the line we had missed our train but luckily the Chinese train system must be use to the chaos since you are allowed to re-book your tickets once. We re-booked and hoped an hour to get to the train would be enough. When we rounded the corner to see the chaos that confronted us, we weren’t so sure anymore.

Once you’ve queued for an hour (2 hours on weekends) to get your ticket you must then push your way through the mess of people, refusing to queue, so that you can get to the waiting area. Here you must present your passport and ticket. After half hour we finally got through, with a new hatred of every person in a five meter radius. I was ready to start swinging and taking names.

From here everything was a battle. A battle to get on the escalator, a battle to push our way to the x-ray machines, a battle to show our passports and ticket again…honestly you’d think we were trying to get into North Korea not just ride a train down the road in the same country.

Once all the checks were done we were in the waiting area and had 10 minutes to wait before we had to queue and get on the platform. By the time we sat in our seats (which to Guilin in first class cost 16 pound each) we hated the world. Then a strange thing happened….just when you thought you couldn’t hate the world enough…you hate it twice as much. The man behind me kicked my chair for an hour even after I asked him to stop, every person around us was playing music loud without head phones and a man was having conversations on his phone so loudly that the baby five seats away was crying. If i’d every wondered what the depths of hell are, it’s a Chinese train. Lee and I looked at each other without saying a word and burst into laughter. The sheer chaos around us was insane. We calmed ourselves with the knowledge that this was the new fast train to Guilin that took only 3 hours instead of the old train that took 12 and watched Guangzhou disappear outside the window and turn into a beautiful landscape of towering mountains and rice paddies.

at least there was a nice view

at least there was a nice view

We didn’t know what to expect when we got off the train at Guilin but after what we had gone through the only thing I could think was ‘it better be worth it’. signature

 

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Two Days in Guangzhou

7th April 2015

banner China is somewhere that is so alluring. Surrounded in the myths and legends of the orient. It is the first country as a child that I thought of as a far away and unreachable place. I also love the food. These reasons are probably why Lee and I decided right away that we were going to add China to our itinerary. We had already been lucky enough to visit Beijing and Shanghai last year but we felt there was more exploring to do. We got our visas in advance before we left Korea (through this company) and started planning.

We knew we wanted to visit Hong Kong and we knew we wanted to visit Guilin, famous for it’s mountainous landscapes. Since we knew that we wanted to hit these two locations it made logical sense that we should start at the mid point between the two, Guangzhou.

I knew nothing about Guangzhou before I started researching it and unfortunately I still didn’t know much about the place after I researched it. It seems that Guangzhou isn’t the bloggers main destination. Instead of being disappointed by this , it peaked my interest.

When we arrived in Guangzhou it was 1am so we headed to the taxi rank. This should have been an easy task but the angry, shouting taxi drivers trying to convince us aggressively to ride in their illegal , un-metered taxi’s made it quite difficult. I steered Lee away from their zombie-like grasps and found the taxi rank. Illegal and rude taxi drivers are such a problem in Guangzhou that the government has set up an English helpline. If a driver refuses to take you somewhere, is rude to you or won’t use the meter you can phone this number ‘96900’ and report them by giving their license number. I thought this may just be an excessive precaution until we stepped off the taxi rank and were directed to a driver who started hurling abuse at us because he didn’t want to drive to foreigners. To say we were a little shocked was an understatement. Luckily we navigated our way to another taxi who took us to our hotel. It is good to know that taxi’s only take cash here (in case you are coming from Korea) and also that if you go through a toll you will get an additional receipt when you pay since it isn’t automatically added onto the the meter fee. Our toll only cost up 15p so don’t worry they aren’t extortionate or anything. It cost us 120 yuan to get to the city centre (about 12 pound).

We found our hotel which was a bit dodgy on the outside but had a large and comfy room. We rested our heads and dreamed of all the exciting things we would be getting up to the next day…that was until 6am when building work on the room next to ours started. A power drill a few inches from your head at 6am is not the welcome most guests hope for.

Guangzhou had not started on our good side.

We got dressed and headed out to the city. The first stop on almost all our visits to new countries is weirdly the seven-eleven. Lee and I always rush to see what exciting chocolate bars they have and what weird drink flavours we can find. This is an odd tradition but it is a great insight into the country.

The rest of the day was filled with us desperately trying to find the shrines and markets we had read about online. We weren’t very successful. All we seemed to find were run down shops and a million Mc Donald’s. At one point there were three separate Mc establishments in my field of view. It was a little excessive. Even for fast food lovers like ourselves.

We headed back to the hotel room disheartened and missing Japan with its efficient, clean roads and kind people …..BUT we were determined to not let Guangzhou beat us. The next day we hit the town with a renewed vigor.

We started the day by accidentally wandering to a local park that had old Chinese ladies practicing their fan dancing by the lake and the large centre point compass of Guangzhou at the heart of the gardens. After this we took in the Comic City shopping mall by Gongyuanqian (on lines 1 and 3) subway station full of kitschy teenager clothes and accessories. I had to be wrestled away from a few clothes bargains. Then we headed to Shangxiajiu street, a pedestrianized market area which had some nice small shops and delicious smelling markets.

11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Lastly to finish off our day we went to the infamous Canton tower to take in the renowned rainbow lights. This was by far the best part of Guangzhou. The skyscrapers filled the air above us and Chinese traditional music filled the air. We walked along happily for hours until it turned dark and we were craving some deliciousness. This is when I forced Lee to experience something i’ve been trying to do for a while….we went to the Hello Kitty Cafe. I realise this is Japanese but we had one in Daegu , Korea that shut down the day I tried to visit. I vowed I’d enter it’s door somewhere. This pink powder puff of a place served lovely coffees and let Lee get in touch with his feminine side.

1 2 3 4 7 8 We headed back to the hotel happy and content, feeling we had made the most of our very short time in Guangzhou. It isn’t my favourite city by any means but it feels as though it’s ready to explode and become the second Shanghai. I’d be excited to return in 10 years and see what has been done with the place….but for now it’s not some where I’d be racing back to. 9 10

Tokyo Arcade

2015 Travel Plans

19th February 2015

So I think I owe you all an apology. For the last few weeks i’ve become a little bit obsessed with my up coming plans to the point that I have kept mentioning it without giving any details.

So I thought that I’d share with you some of the things we’re hoping to achieve over the next year.

First, there are to-do lists…EVERYWHERE. My flat looks like a bombs dropped because there are about ten jobs going on at once but I’m hoping that it will all fall into place really soon and we will be ready to roll.

First I suppose it’s important to share with you what our plans actually are so here is our 2015 travel plans:

Tokyo Arcade Japan

Japan is somewhere magical to me. It’s a place mentioned in movies not a place that exists. When we went to Tokyo last year I was in my element and I fell in love with the place. Last night I was chatting to a friend who’s going to Tokyo soon and I couldn’t stop gushing about how much fun they were going to have. This time around we aren’t going to the bright lights of Tokyo, instead we are heading to Kyoto and Osaka. Kyoto has been high on my list for a long time and I feel guilty that one of the places i’m most looking forward to going over the next few months is our first stop but I just can’t wait to be surrounded by the history and beauty of this place….and the sushi!

 

El Nido Palawan Island, Phillippines Been here, truly magnificent and glorious!  http://www.lifebeyondthehorizon.com/philippinesparadise/The Philippines

Lee and I had never considered a trip to the Philippines but after seeing all of our friends fantastic pictures we quickly added it to the itinerary so we will be stopping in on Bohol, Boracay and El Nido. Here’s to sandy beaches and drinks with the locals.

 

Guilin, China. Globe Travel in Bristol, CT is standing by to make your vacation dreams come true!  Reach us at 860-584-0517 or by email at info@globetvl.com!

China

We went to China a few months ago but we can’t wait to go back. We wanted to see some impressive landscapes and the countryside of China is definitely the place to do this. We are heading to Guangzhou and Guilin …all the G’s. I’m not going to lie, I’m in it for the dumplings.

 

Hong Kong, China | 21 Most Colorful And Vibrant Places In The WorldHong Kong

I know listing Hong Kong as a separate country is debatable but I have a very good friend from Hong Kong who thinks of it as a different place and the British Visa application was different for Hong Kong compared to China so I think it’s fair to list them side by side. We are looking forward to climbing Victoria Peak and meeting up with my friend who happens to be visiting at the same time as us. Woohoo

Hoi An, Vietnam - Visit http://asiaexpatguides.com to make the most of your experience in Vietnam!

Vietnam

Vietnam is another place that’s been high on the list for a long time. We are starting in Hanoi  then going to Hue, Hoi an, Mui  Ne and Ho Chi Minh. We are looking forward to cooking classes, pho, and 12p beer… as well as all the culture/people/sights of course. We are going to the home of PHO!

Angkor Wat Cambodia / Watched the sunset here while drinking a horrid local wine and eating a crispy fried frog. A beautiful place & a wonderful adventure.

Cambodia

Next stop is a bus trip across the boarder into Phnom Penh. We don’t have long there before we are off to Sihanoukville. Before you all rush to tell us its not great we are only there for the night before we head to Koh Rong Samloem. A small island with about 5 hours of electricity a day. I’ll be celebrating my birthday here and I can’t wait. Sunsets and cocktails..woohoo. Lastly it wouldn’t be a trip to Cambodia without a sunrise trip to Angkor Wat in Seim Reap.

skyline2 Thailand

We are having a ‘do over’ in Bangkok since last time we had such a disaster (which you can read about here). People always think because of this we didn’t like Bangkok but I loved the place. I can’t wait to go back and see the place properly this time. Then it’s up north to the bloggers paradise that is Chiang Mai. Unfortunately , It’s rainy season when we go to this part of Asia . Our original plan didn’t have Thailand on it at all , instead we wanted to see Laos and Myanmar but the rain means we have to skip them this time, as well as the beaches of Thailand but I’m really excited to see Chang Mai after hearing so many great things. See you soon Pad Thai. You will be in our bellies.

Singapore's Supertrees at the "Gardens by the Bay". I see I'll have to go back to Singapore to see these by night.Singapore

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am for this country. Is it for the history? slightly. Is it for the culture? marginally. Is it because one of my best friends is moving there a week before we arrive? HELL YES! This is a selfish stop for Lee and I to see one of our favourite humans…and maybe go to Sesame Street in Universal Studios, which for a Muppet fanatic is the holy grail.

Rice terraces close to Ubud. Bali, Indonesia To book go to www.notjusttravel.com/anglia

Indonesia

When we came to Asia this was high on my list of places to see. We are spending a lot of time here and seeing Yogyakarta, Ubud, Nusa Lembongan, Gili Air and Kuta Lombok. We can’t wait. Yoga, monkeys and beaches. We also may be dragging one of Lee’s best friends to meet us for a weekend so I can’t help but jump around a little bit when I think about journeying to this magic country.

The dolphins coming to shore at Monkey Mia, Western AustraliaAustralia

Lastly, but definitely not least is our new home for the year, Australia. This isn’t a country I ever wanted to live in , that was until Lee sold me on it because he is in love with the place. I am now fully on board and can’t wait to experience every inch of the place. We are starting in Perth but who knows where the year will take us.

Extra stops in 2015

Obviously we don’t know what will happen with the rest of the year but there are definitely some places we’d love to pop into:

Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysia

When we are in Singapore we are very tempted to just run over the border and have some food there to say we did it. We are a little bit addicted to adding countries to our list but we will definitely be back to spend some proper time there soon.

Wow, just wow! Bridestowe Lavender Farm, Tasmania - by Tim Clark

Tasmania

I realise this is still Australia but I really want to pop over to this lavender filled paradise.

Fiji IslandsFiji, Tonga and Samoa

It would be rude to not visit these places while we are in Australia surely….let alone the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu…ect

New ZealandNew Zealand

Once again this country is so close to us when we are in Australia that we would love to go and see the place but maybe we will do it at the end of year in Oz.

Here’s to an exciting year ahead.

 

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