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).
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.
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.
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.