Shanghai to Guilin Weekend Trip-July

Old Jul 2nd, 2015, 09:38 AM
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Shanghai to Guilin Weekend Trip-July

Hello
I have work trip to Shanghai coming up in mid-July. It looks like I will also have a free weekend afterwards and considering a side-trip to Guilin as it looks amazing! I am free from early afternoon on Friday July 17 and until EOD Sunday, July 19. Is this enough time? Its a quick 2hr flight from Shanghai. Can I go myself and arrange a tour of the Li River, etc once on the ground or do I need to pre-arrange anything?

P.S. I have been to Shanghai several times now and I have been to Beijing/Great Wall so I am not interesting in staying in spending the weekend in either.

Thanks!
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Old Jul 2nd, 2015, 12:18 PM
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> It looks like I will also have a free weekend afterwards and considering a side-trip to Guilin as it looks amazing!

You'd be much better to tackle real rural China rather than to enter what's really the last word in Chinese tourism maelstrom, with overpricing and over-promotion as far as the eye can see, and Disneyfied throughout.

Consider instead corners of rural Zhejiang much closer to you in Shanghai, with less of the package tour hordes, far fewer rip-offs, with lots to see, and with real local pricing.

Try two days in Shaoxing, for instance, easily reached by bus or train from Shanghai. It's a modestly sized town with a walkable centre, laced with canals, a reasonably well-preserved historic quarter, interesting literary connections with mansions and a school once used by Lu Xun, and easy day-trips into the countryside, e.g. to Anchang, a water town rarely visited by foreigners. Local specialties to try include 'stinky' tofu and yellow wine.

You could also consider (flight needed, probably, given your limited time) Quanzhou or Xiamen, further south.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2015, 03:08 PM
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I realize that it must be very touristy but keep in mind, you are probably speaking as someone that has been to all of these places many times
Isn't it worth to see once?
How about Hangzhou? Or Huangshan Mountains?
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Old Jul 2nd, 2015, 03:19 PM
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If you don't want to follow Peter's suggestion, I would visit Hangzhou and/or Suzhou and/or one of the water towns. I have been to Guilin, and it was certainly scenic, but it was fairly touristy even then, and that was 1997. Tourism to and within China has grown a great deal since then.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2015, 07:41 PM
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> I realize that it must be very touristy but keep in mind, you are probably speaking as someone that has been to all of these places many times

Indeed, that is something I'm unlikely to forget. In fact it means I've been there four times, the first in 1989, the last about three years ago. Because I went in 1989 I'm aware why Yangshuo initially became famous. But even then Guilin was a nightmare of deception and cheating, and Yangshuo was the escape. I've watched it deteriorate since then.

Unfortunately the frequency of my visits there does not alter its essential qualities--now a largely rebuilt, cod-historical, maelstrom of tourism. It isn't China (unless you somehow imagine pizza restaurants are Chinese) but a kind of self-Disneyfication of China. There's genuine rural China much closer to Shanghai, but even if the karst landscape is required, there's a great deal more of it across Guangxi Province but without the ersatz China of Guilin and Yangshuo.

But as with everything and everywhere, it's chacun à son goût. My particular goût is for real China, not ersatz, made-for-tourists China.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2015, 08:47 AM
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I am talking to a couple of mates I work with in Shanghai who are Chinese and they may be traveling with me too. If this happens, I assume they will handle the "deception/cheating and authentic food"..although, as you said there may not be any authentic food left. Good points.
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