My amazing two days trip2009-08-11 | Life in Guilin
The early part of the August, happens to be the coolest part of the summer in Guilin. My colleagues and I took this opportunity and had a wonderful weekend together in Guanyan, Guilin, Longji gorge and Longsheng. As a native of Guilin, I had always known that Guanyan had one of the most famous scenic spot in Guilin. Even as a child I had heard about its beauty, but I never had an opportunity to visit there. Last weekend, I finally turned this dream into a reality. I finally got the taste of the beauty which it is well known for. The day in Longji gorge, rafting had a substantial affect on me. Words cannot describe the first feel of the rafting. I am sure this sport and some might call it adventure is going to take the world by storm. Time passed so quickly but the experience and thrill is fresh in my mind. It brought lots of happiness and togetherness we had in those two days.
Day 1 2nd August, 2009 Guilin-Guanyan
This trip was meant to farewell my foreign colleagues. We all had a great time together. The weather was fantastic. We left Guilin at around 10:40AM and after a drive of about and hour and half, we arrived at the scenic spot of Guanyan cave. One can either call it Guanyan cave or as some call it Crown cave, because the shape of the hill where the cave shapes like a crown. Instead of climbing the hill to the cave, we enjoyed the beautiful country scenery whilst traveling on the mono rail. The mono rail is simple to drive. The hills, the rivers and the singing of the birds around the mono rail make it a perfect picture scene. The gods own nature.
The Guanyan cave has a subterranean river cave flowing through it. The stalactites, stalagmites and stone pillars inside will capture your imagination. With different shapes one can imagine Karst of Guilin, the different shaped rocks on the roof and wall of the cave are the arts of the nature. We will never know why they look so real life. This vivid photo like image will embedded in your mind. Unlike other Karst caves in Guilin, the Guanyan cave has more modern amenities and is convenient for tourists. Beside the drive of the pulley before entering the cave, we also enjoyed the whole cave on foot, by boat, and by elevator. There was a lot of tourist visiting the cave on that day. What impressed me the most, especially when we reached the exit of the cave, the whole scenery was surreal giving me an image of grand palace, but hidden with mystery and giving it a sexy outlook. I do not know weather my colleagues took gorgeous pictures or not, and I do not know weather they also like it or not, but the only thing I regret that I felt soooo stupid by not taking a camera with me.
After the visit of the cave, we drove our cars up onto the nearby hill and very soon, we arrived at the Cloud and Fog Hotel. The hotel was built on 1993 but it looks like a new one. And it is the only hotel that combines the modern facilities with country feel. We had the lunch in the hotel restaurant; the dishes were really good, with a perfect combination of the meat diet and vegetables. We drove our hunger away by finishing all the beautiful and mouth watering dishes. How is this going to affect my weight I wondered wondered, lol...
We decided to Trek to the country and visit a beautiful place called Xiaoheli. The road was narrow but it was real nice to taste the real fun of hiking. The smell of the nature, the hello from the cows walking beside the country road, the smiles of the wild flowers, the music played by the crystal stream, all of our exhaustions were driven away.
Everybody turns into a good mood and were eager to see the Xiaoheli as soon as possible. Sometimes the mountain road was smooth while sometimes it was bumpy and breathe taking. We walked into the forest called Heboyuan, it was close to the small local village. After about 25 minutes’ walking, we arrived a scenic spot called the small stone forest, which is compared to the stone forest in Kunming, it was much tiny and cute, because this one is just made of sharp rocks and we recorded it in pictures, I am sure this will be one of our best moment in our lives.
We headed for our destination, Xiaoheli. It is a place where you can feel the hills, the plants, the bridge, the stream and everything living together in harmony. We climbed down to the riverbank. Everybody was so excited; we dropped our equipments, shoes and rushed into the arms of the nature. We played with water and took photos and had a great fun there. Time went by so quickly that the sun was going down. We did not want to leave and some of my colleagues were still enjoying picking the stones on the riverside because they wanted to keep them as souvenirs.
We walked back to the Cloud and Fog Hotel and bought some Chinese wampee fruit from the farmers in the fruit field and it tasted really delicious. I am sure this outing was the best gift for our friends and families. We drove back to Guilin at around 6:30PM bringing end to a perfect day.
Day 2 3rd August, 2009 Guilin-Longsheng (Longji gorge)
The bus from Guilin to Longli gorge will leave at 8:00AM in the Guilin train station, so we have to be there in the early morning. As we would be the first tour group for the newly developed tourist destination Longji gorge, we were privileged to be invited to spend a day there. We started our drive at about 9:00AM, and it took us about 1 hour and 40 minutes to be there. During the trip, I chatted with my colleagues and the people in charge of the Longji gorge gave us a wonderful speech about the overview of the scenic spot and they even sang some local songs. We enjoyed the bus trip very much. From the bus, we could see some parts of the world famous Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces.
We arrived at about 11:30AM, and then moved to the restaurant called Quanjing lou (A building from where you can enjoy the whole landscape). We were a little bit tired but everybody became excited by the great shows of the Dong people (The major groups living are Dong and Zhuang). The host of the show had collaborated with the most famous male host Li Yong in 2008. He was great host and delivered a great speech. This made us feel happy. Soon we joined dancing and sing along. The experience was cool! The songs they were singing sounded like the voice of angel. Even without any musical equipment, I can still feel the echo and the rise and fall of their voices vibrating in my ears. The Dong nation is the only nations who can sing by multiply voice parts in China (more than 3). The Zhuang people are specialize in songs called Liao ge, which is sang frequently by two men and two women. The Liao ge is one of the national immortal heritage now. How exciting, isn't it? I felt pride that we have this kind of minority in China; more so, visitors from all over the world can enjoy it if they come to the Longji gorge.
After a delicious lunch, we began our unforgettable rafting tours in the Longji gorge. At about 2:00PM, after a short drive of 10 minutes, we reached the river banks which are in the valley. The rubber boat is for two peoples’ use, and the helmet and other safety equipments were comfortable. Some of my mates and other visitors did not expect how rafting will be like so they did not prepare well for this trip. After sitting on the rubber boat, they had to take off their sports shoes or tied sandals onto the life jacket to prevent them washing overboard.
Some of us were still unexcited when sitting on the boat but not long after that everything changed. The entrance of the gorge is at 8 meters high! Can you imagine it? The first thing at the beginning of your tour is being thrown down by waters from that high dam! The only things I can hear at that moment were screams and laughter. The excitement had finally begun.
Rafting brings out joy and a sense of adventure. The lifeguards were very professional and experienced so need not worry about getting stuck in the currents or being hurt. They tried their best to make the journey very smooth and comfortable. They went out of way to make everybody happy. Sometimes the current was rapid, we had to hold the handles tightly and adjust our posture to keep the rubber boat steady. Sometimes, the river was peaceful and we can even jump down for a short swim. I did it; the feeling was great, knowing that I was not going to get drowned because of our life jacket. Many strong swimmers took off their jackets and treated the stream like their personal swimming pool. One of my colleagues did not know how to swim, but after our encouragement, she jumped down from the boat bravely! It was really funny and I am sure she had a great time.
The rafting lasted for about 2 hours. We really enjoyed it. Sometimes we stopped our raft by the river bank and enjoyed the sunshine and the essence of the nature. I only enjoyed the second half of the landscape during the floating because it took me a lot of time to adapt the crashes of the water and the rocks. But it was really good to have such an experience. One of my colleagues said he had previously been in rafting tours but no one compared to Longji gorge. I felt privileged because it was my first time to experience rafting and to the best one as well. I am certain that more of my friends and colleagues will come here very soon. As next time I will be a veteran and I will enjoy the full scenery and everyone’s scream and laughter. I list some tips as below for those who are willing to come to Longji gorge rafting.
1. Take two sets of clothes and I strongly recommend that wear the swimsuit for rafting as you are surely going to be soaked.
2. Do not take any electric sets with you, like camera, video recorders, etc.
3. Do not take any unnecessary articles while rafting for example, watch, necklace, keys, etc, or even the money. Remember, the less you take, the better you will enjoy the tour.
4. Hold the handles tightly on the boat when your boat is bouncing around.. Make sure the center of gravity is properly controlled because you will never know in the next bounce, you or your boat mate who will be on the front of the boat and lifeguard will be on the rear.
At about 4:00PM, we finished our floating tour and after a short rest and hot water bath and clothes change, we took some group pictures. It was a regret that we could not take the camera with us while rafting, but we will never forget the pictures we had together, it will only be recorded down in our hearts and will never faded.
After the drive back to Guilin, it was the evening already,
we said goodbye to each other and finished the amazing weekend of togetherness. Now I know
why so many people want to go out for vacation and I am happy that we will introduce more
friends all over the world to have such wonderful tours.
--- By Robert (VisitOurChina)