Advice please re Guilin, China

Oct 31st, 2000, 01:00 PM
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Advice please re Guilin, China

Hi, husband and I are considering booking a 28 day tour to China next year. We had planned to do it independently but have found a tour that fits with all the places we had been planning on seeing at a lower price, and we have decided to just go independent on the days we dont like the itinerary of the tour.
The Guilin tour itinerary is as follows: Visit the Reed Flute Caves, Mt Diecai (which I cant find a reference to anywhere?) and the Institute of Chinese Medicine in the afternoon. As we arn't really interested in seeing the caves, would we be missing out on anything great if we didnt see Mt Diecai or the Institute of Medicine? The following day the tour takes the Li river cruise to Yangshoo which is great.
So if we gave didnt take the first day tour that I listed, what would be a day better spent in Gulian? Any suggestions please- thanks in advance - Gayle
Nov 1st, 2000, 11:54 AM
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I would like this information also.
Nov 3rd, 2000, 03:33 PM
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I just came back from China last month.
Our tour guide kept calling Guilin
"the Beautiful city of Guilin" which we
found it to be funny because we didn't think it was so beautiful. The Reed
Flute Cave is OK and I don't know anything about the MT Diecai. The Li river cruise is beautiful, a must see.
but the only problem I had was the sanitation on the boat; they serve lunch. I skip it and stayed on top to watch the scenery. Our tour guide had told us not to wander around at night,
her words that "it was not safe". Also,
one night our tour did try to walk
around at night as a group but we were
swaped by children clinging on to us trying to sell flowers. It end up to be a very short walk. Like I said before the River is a must see, and hopefully
you will have good weather.good luck
Nov 3rd, 2000, 05:22 PM
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Thanks Jeannie for your advice. Where else did you tour? Any other advice would be appreciated. What sights did you tour that you found a dissapointment if any? Did the tour take you to too many factories? We are really looking forward to the trip thanks for your help - Gayle
Nov 5th, 2000, 06:45 PM
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Hi Gayle,

In 1990, I took a boat from Kowloon to Ghungzhou (Canton), a boat from Ghangzhou to Wuhshou, and a bus from Wuhshou to Yangshou. It was a trip of lifetime.

Yangshou is the pearl of China. Had I known that when I was there, I would not have been so quick to leave and go elsewhere on tour.

My advice to you is to spend as much time as you can in Yangshou. . . a week or so, no less is best. You can rent bicycles there, shop in the markets, visit painters and craftspeople in their homes, eat wonton soup at the sidewalk cafes, bargain for antiques, take lots of pictures, take a "taxi" to Moon Hill, tour hospitals of Traditional Chinese Medicine, watch the the cormorant fishermen at night and more. It's absolutely THE BEST.
Nov 8th, 2000, 03:44 AM
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In Guilin, I found the Chinese minority folk dance show to be very interesting and entertaining. Our guide took us to the Royal Garden hotel, but there's another show held elsewhere (can't remember where). Cormorant fishing was also interesting even though the demonstration was really for tourists; the fee was equivalent to US$5. Both of these are night shows.
I'd skip the Reed Flute cave except if you have free time. There's a cave of a 100 Buddha; that's a tourist trap.
Like you, I can't find any reference to Mt Diecai, but perhaps that's one of several peaks that one can climb. We did one called Duxiu Feng (sp?) for a panoramic view of the city and more views of the karst peaks. We also went to the Elephant trunk hill.
Nov 8th, 2000, 03:45 AM
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I meant Cave of a 1000 Buddha.
Nov 8th, 2000, 05:40 AM
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We found Guilin to be a nice, small city.
We had good weather the days were there, which probably helped.
The Li River cruise is very nice, scenic and peaceful. The food on the cruise boats is okay, but do not pass up the snake wine.
The Reed Flute Caves are a waste of time -very crowded and commercial.
The Institute of Chinese Medicine, while interesting to talk with the people there, is a money making scheme.
They'll offer a foot massage but then put on the hard sell for Chinese medicine. People in Beijing, Xian and Kunming told us Guilin was a high crime district. We did go out at night but remained mindful of our surroundings. At one point we were clearly being 'cased' by a young man near one of the markets. Still a worthwhile visit.
Nov 8th, 2000, 06:30 PM
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Thanks everyone, I really appreciate your comments. I have found a tour that goes everywhere we want to see, but I really dont like tours (have done only one previously otherwise always independent) I'd really love to go thru China independently, and all your comments really tempt me to give it a go. I hope the thread under travelling independentlisted by someone else gets some input and it may help me commit to trying it. Thanks again
Nov 13th, 2000, 08:37 AM
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Besides the Li River trip, the highpoint of our Guilin experience was the 1 hour foot massage and the 1 hour full-body massage which each cost about $12. This was done at the hotel which holds a show celebrating the diverse population of China. We were in Guilin for such a short time and so busy, we were exhausted when we left. Arrived late one night and went for foot massage at from 9:30 to 10:30. Up early to see Elephant Hill, take the 9:00 Li River trip, see Reed Flute, and visit the University (to climb a hill, but really to view and hopefully buy local art.), then on to dinner, the show at the other hotel, and the full body massage. Back to the room at 10:30 and out early the next morning. This was sort of typical of our China Focus tour. Great fun, but busy.
Nov 15th, 2000, 06:54 PM
Janice Tarter
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I just got back from a 27 day tour of China, Hong Kong, Viet Nam and Bankgok. It was a fabulous trip. The only thing we did in Guilin was the Li River Cruise and the market at Yangsoo after the cruise, but you need to do hard bargaining as the prices are very inflated. It is not a very pretty city. We also went to a folk dance show near the Holiday Inn Hotel. It was excellent and only $10 US per person. We refused to go to the Reed Flute Caves and Institute of Chinese Medicine. All tours take you to factories and by the end of our trip we were sick of pearl, jade, and silk factories and the prices are so inflated. All the want to do is rip the tourists off. DON'T BUY ANYTHING AT THESE SO CALLED GOVERNMENT RUN FACTORIES. You can find any of these items at the markets for a fracion of the price.
Nov 19th, 2000, 08:49 PM
stephen blumm
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Guilin has several lovely and large parks. They would be a great place to wander. Any good guide book will tell you about the parks (for comprehensive info check the traditional Blue Guide). The easiest thing to do is to take taxis from your hotel to the park and just enjoy wandering.

The caves are rather silly -- lots of colored lights and tourists.

Hope this helps.
Nov 25th, 2000, 06:52 PM
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Guilin is so-so, but Yangshuo is terrific. We also went on a tour to Guilin. On the first day, we took the boat trip to Yangshuo with the tour group. But when they all got on the bus in Yangshuo, we stayed on. We rented bikes and rode to Moon Hill (and climbed it -- the views are breath-taking), then caught local transportation back in the evening (an adventure in and of itself). It was a great compromise between the convenience of a tour and the freedom to do our own thing.

One other idea: In Guilin, visit the bookstore at the University. They have beautiful water colors by local artists.

Have a great trip and let me know if there is any other information you need.
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