Fantastic Winter Tour to Guilin and Beihai with Beloved Parents
Travel Length6 Days
Travel ThemeNature, Food, Family Trip
Travel RouteChengdu - Guilin - Yangshuo - Guilin - Beihai - Chengdu
HighlightsLi River, Moon Hill, West Street, Yulong River, Silver Beach, Haikushilan, Mangrove Forests Nature Reserve, etc.
As the Chinese textbook said, “Guilin’s landscape is the best under heaven”, I was always wondering how beautiful the scenery is. Also, I heard from many of my friends who have been to Beihai told me that how beautiful the scenery is and how delicious and how cheap the seafood are there. In December, 2019, I finally have chance to discover and taste with my parents! Because I only have my annual vacation in winter but I’d like to say winter is also a great time to visit Guilin because there are much less tourists and that will make the tour more special~
Guilin is located in the south of China and close to Guizhou Province and Guangdong Province. The high speed trains in China are very developed nowadays, so that makes it possible for us to travel from Guilin to Beihai within 6 days.
Day 1 Chengdu to Guilin
Because of the price of the flight tickets and also my dad hate to travel by flight, we choose to take the bullet train from Chengdu to Guilin. The train is by D1820, from 10:13 to 16:45 which I think the time is just comfortable for us as we don’t need to get up very early or arrive very late. I have to appreciate the development of train system because nowadays, when you book the bullet train tickets, you could choose the seats. So, I choose 3 seats together with my parents that make us feel more comfortable in this little long journey.
After 6.5 hours train travel, we arrive in Guilin West Train Station and then we take a taxi about 30 minutes to get to downtown to check in our hotel: Lijiang Waterfall Hotel.
Lijing Waterfall Hotel in Distance
The “Waterfall Hotel”
Nightview of the Twin Pagoda Outside of Lijiang Waterfall Hotel
The hotel’s location is perfect! The night cruise port is just close to this hotel and within a few minutes’ walk you could find many shops and restaurants. After a little break at the hotel, we walk to taste the famous local food “Beer Fish”. Indeed, the fish is cooked with beer and it’s really tasty!
After the dinner, we take a stroll along the river and finally reach the cruise port to take the famous 4 lakes and 2 rivers night cruise of Guilin. I have to say this is the most beautiful night cruise I ever have.
Nightview of the 2 Rivers and 4 Lakes
The night cruise could divide into 2 route, 2 rivers and 4 lakes. But if you will take the Li River Cruise to Yangshuo, I suggest you to only take the 4 lakes cruise. The 2 rivers and 4 lakes cruise will take about 90 minutes but if only for 4 lakes, it will take about 1 hour. But if you don’t have time to take the cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo in the daytime, you could try the 2 rivers and 4 lakes cruise. The whole route cruise will come across a small ship lock, because of the different drop of the water level among the lakes and rivers. In the small ship lock, you could see the ship gradually cross the lock and go up of the water level. So, if you are interested in this, you can also have a try of the whole cruise route.
And for the cruise tickets, in the peak seasons, I suggest you to book it in advance to get the good time or in case of the shortage of tickets.
Day 2 Li River Cruise to Yangshuo
We take the shuttle bus from the hotel to the cruise port but it seems like a bad idea as the shuttle bus leave so early and it will go to pick other passengers, we leave the hotel at 7:00am but finally arrive at the cruise port at around 9:00am. If you take taxi, the time could only be about 1 hour. The cruise leaves at around 9:30am. But people could check in early and have a seat in the boat.
Li River Cruise Ship
The cruise goes from Mopanshan pier to Yangshuo port and along the way, you could see the “Painting of Nine Horses”, notable view printed on the back of the 20 RMB note, Yellow Cloth Reflection…etc. As for some seniors, it’s hard for them to stand on the deck for a long time (like my parents), so for most of the time, we will sit down and watch it in the boat. But don’t worry you will miss the beautiful sceneries because when the ship’s going to pass the scenery, the workers on the ship will notice all the ship members with microphone. So, before we cross these sites, we will go on the deck in advance.
And if someone worries that he’s not a professional photographer and he can catch all the beautiful sites, there will be professional photographer on the deck and he can take photos for you. And the cost is reasonable (10RMB for one photo), after the cruise, you could pay them and they will give you your paper photos in the port of Yangshuo.
The cruise will provide a very simple Chinese style fast food, and the other food on boat is a little expensive, so I suggest you to bring some food on your own. Or the cruise will provide western style food, such as Sandwich, bread, milk...etc. But you need to mention that before boarding (a day at least). And the western food is still very simple, so normally I suggest you to bring some snacks and have a nice lunch in Yangshuo downtown.
I’m with the 20RMB Note and the Background Site
Li River Scenery
My Parents with the 20RMB Note and the Background Site
Li River Scenery
Finally, we arrived in Yangshuo port and walk on a long lounge to get out of the port. The lounge is so long and could take a few miles to get to our hotel. As it’s a little hard for my parents to walk so long, so we take a tuk-tuk to get out of the port. After bargaining, we finally deal 20 RMB to take us to our hotel: The New West Street Hotel. (Because taxi can’t come inside of the port)
As for the New West Street Hotel, I have to say, it’s very average hotel but its price and location are very good.
New West Street Hotel
After checking in, we left our luggage at the hotel and come to the famous “Ten-mile Gallery” for visit. But by now, this zone is controlled by local administration, so taxi or outside car can’t get in, so we hire a car from local people and take us to go along the “Ten-mile Gallery” for visit.
The Moon Hill
After the visit, we have dinner at one of local villager’s house and then come directly to see the Impression Liusanjie Show.
I have to say, the impression show is one of the best show that I have ever seen. I also think this is a must-see in Guilin. The stage is just on Li River and with the karst hills, background lights making the show very immense and lively! You can also visit kinds of minorities people wear their beautiful costumes and singing their lovely songs in their language.
Impression Liushanjie Show
After the show, we take a taxi back to Yangshuo county and take a nice stroll on the West Street. Well, the street really surprises me, because I never imagine that such a small county of Yangshuo have a such hustle and bustle street. I have seen many Indian restaurants, Italian restaurants, even German restaurants…etc. Almost, you can find all kinds of food in this street. And also, you can find many famous restaurants of the local dishes like the beer fish, beer duck…And also, if you like night lives, there are many bars along the streets.
Besides the restaurants and bars, it’s also a shopping paradise. Besides many of the decent shops and cool shops, you can also find many street dealers. We purchase 2 bottles of local famous osmanthus wine.
Yangshuo West Street
It turns out my parents seem not like the hustle and bustle street, so after a short stroll, we come back to our hotel.
Day 3 Yangshuo Tour
I could say this day is the best part of my tour! After the long yesterday, we get up late and have famous Guilin rice noodles for our brunch. It tastes good to me and also the price is pretty nice (about 10 RMB for one bowl).
Guilin Rice Noodles
After our brunch, we take our luggage and check out. Because today, we decide to stay in a hotel just in the scenic area of Yangshuo. And it turns out a very brilliant choice!
As the hotel is in the Yulong River Scenic Area, so normal car and taxi can’t go inside but his hotel provides us the shuttle service. It’s very easy to find the sightseeing bus in the bus center (just the entrance of the scenic area). We take the bus and after a few minutes ride, we finally reach our hotel: Yangshuo Mountain Retreat!
The Door of Yangshuo Mountain Retreat
Beautiful View from Our Balcony
Our Hotel Room at Yangshuo Mountain Retreat
As you can see, from the pictures, it’s a very lovely hotel. And also the hotel rooms are nice and warm.
Delightful Sites from Our Window
The Front View of Yangshuo Mountain Retreat in Daylight
After check-in, we had a nice stroll along the Yulong River.
Beautiful Yulong River
And after I walk my parents back to hotel, we had a nice lunch at the hotel along just besides the river. The food at the hotel tastes really good. We had a beer duck, a dish of local green vegetable and tomato with fried egg soup.
Fear not, if you can’t speak or read Chinese, workers in this hotel also speak good English and have a very nice Chinese-English Menu.
Waiting for Lunch Along the River
I rent an electrical bike to drive along the river. But I was so excited and forget my phone and camera at hotel… So, I can’t show the pictures but you can imagine, the small quiet country road with crop field land, green grass and kinds of flowers along the river that makes me feel very relaxed and peaceful!
Apart from the hustle and bustle of Yangshuo West Street, this place is very quiet countryside, especially at night.
The Front View of Yangshuo Mountain Retreat at Dusk
When night falls, with the lights hanging on the trees or sitting on the grass sparking, also you can hear the weak chirp of birds and insects and if you get lucky, you will see the sky filled with plenty of stars. I’m grateful that I’m the one who get lucky. But unfortunately that my camera can’t capture that at night, so I can just show you the beautiful view with my weak words. But if you search for a nice and peaceful countryside for a vocation, I strongly suggest this place and this hotel.
Day 4 Yangshuo-Guilin-Beihai
On this day, we have to say goodbye to this place as we have limited time but with a tight schedule.
Breakfast at Yangashuo Mountain Retreat
My families are living in the inland cities for generations, so we have a strong desire of going to the oceans. That’s why we come back to Guilin with about 2 hours driving and catch a 4-hour bullet train to Beihai. It almost takes a full day just for transportation. And finally when we check in the hotel of Beihai, it gets dark.
Day 5 Beihai
Beihai is a small city close the south sea of China. Why not we call it the Nanhai? (nan=south and Bei=North in Chinese) Because it’s in the north of Guangdong Province and also it belonged to Guangdong in an earlier time.
If you are coming to China for times or if you are familiar with China’s attractions, you may know the Sanya, the “Hawaii of China”. But you might not know Beihai, because it’s not like the Sanya. It’s still in cool temperature in winter and even a little cold at night. But with the beautiful scenery and productive of various nice sea food with a very cheap price, I think Beihai is underestimated all the time.
We have a full tour of Beihai to the gorgeous Silver Beach, Haikushilan and the Mangrove forests.
The Silver Beach has very soft white sand and the sand is regarded as the softest of all the beaches in China. And truly it is!
A Sand Castle Made on the Silver Beach
My Parents on Silver Beach
The Mangrove Forests Nature Reserve are well developed and well protected in Guangxi. And even in the whole country, it's one of the best.
The coastline of the Mangrove Forests is 50 kilometers long, covering an area of 8000 hectares, with sufficient heat and light. The harbor is deeply inland, well closed, with low degree of seawater pollution, stable physical and chemical properties, fertile mud on the beach, suitable for the growth of mangroves. The mangrove area under protection is 7.2 square kilometers. There are 12 kinds of mangrove plants, including mangrove, aubergine, Tonghua, etc...Besides o the trees, there are also the nice habitat of the birds, small fishes, shells and crabs…
Mangrove Forests Nature Reserve
Mangrove Forests Nature Reserve
Day 6 Beihai-Chengdu
The Haikushilan is located under a small mountain and at there, the rocks are strong enough could bear so many years of the erosion of the waves.
Haikushilan, a Chinese proverb to the romantic love which means I will never leave you even the seas dry up and the rocks decay. So, the tough rocks are the symbol of the loyalty of the love and also along with the beautiful scenery, many young couples come to take their wedding pictures.
In the last day, we had a lazy day, just go around the coast and also enjoyed the sea food and buy some local dry and preserved sea food home. And then we take the flight direct back to Chengdu. (Yes, there is direct flight between Chengdu and Beihai with a very cheap price in winter!)
My parents at Haikushilan
I’m at the Haikushilan
Young Couples Taking Wedding Pictures at Haikushilan
After the day tour, we come to local sea food market to buy a lot fresh sea food in a very cheap price and let our hotel cook it for us.
We enjoyed the nice dinner with the 2 bottles of osmanthus wine!
And also, we heard from the hotel cook that if we come in the middle of August to join in the local biggest festival: Starting Fishing. There will provide a lot tasty sea food for free to tourists. But we also heard at that time, there will be very crowded. As you can see, there is a gain, there is a loss. We missed the festival and free nice sea food but we did enjoy the nice and peaceful vocation without crowds.
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