A gymnasium is always available in a five-star hotel and Sheraton Guilin was no exception. No picture of my sweaty body although the workout failed to increase my appetite for breakfast in the resident restaurant.
It was better than the other breakfast i had so far in the trip, especially the sheer variety befitting its star status. Nevertheless, i didn't want to upset my tummy by overindulging and stick to just a sufficient amount for that energy push.
While most places would have music piped in, this took the cake by having an in house pianist who serenaded the diners with his talent.
At 8.30am sharp, we set off for the next highlight of our tour package; the visit to Longji Terraced Rice Fields (龙脊梯田)! By the way, 龙脊 means the dragon backbone and i guess we would soon be impressed by the view.
Street vendors are aware that tour groups usually set out early and some were waiting for us right next to the coach with the hope that we can buy something; sadly, despite wanting to contribute to local economy, i honestly have no use for those items.
Wait, this is familiar! Isn't this the same iconic supertree we have in Singapore's Gardens by the Bay? According to the tour guide, condominiums / commercial entities using Singapore's structures often can place a higher sale value as Singapore as a nation is well known for its efficiency and clean governance.
Ride was a few hours long and the tour guide introduced another product to us; ejiao honeyed dates. Ejiao was supposed to be rich in collagen and used heavily by Empress Dowager Cixi more than a century ago. Sample was provided and it was only after i returned back to Singapore that i realise ejiao was gelatin from the skin of the donkey!
Pomelos lining up the roadside - testament that this area was popular for its pomelos. According to some of the signs, they were known as 红心柚; red-heart pomelos.
Drizzling weather and we chanced upon quite a few accidents along the way with, thankfully, no fatality. Although i was under the impression that deadly car accidents in China would be rocket high, i am wrong; Thailand, favourite destination for many Singaporeans looking for a short trip, was top in Asia last year!
Cold urban buildings gave way to green plantations as the coach trudged towards Longsheng county, which was about a hundred kilometers from Guilin.
Dropped halfway for a toilet break and noticed the LED panels on top of each cubicle; is there seriously a need to waste electricity to show whether the cubicle is occupied?! The conventional turn knob (red to reflect occupied) is more than sufficient in my opinion.
Saw my tour mates crowding at the end of the compound and like them, my breath was literally taken away when i came upon this view. To read more, click here.
Ride up the mountain - visibility was bad and our experienced driver had to navigate carefully in case we became one of the statistics for road accidents.
Arrival at main entrance of the scenic area! As the number of photos from this moment was just too many for me to condense into one blog post, i have broken it up and you may start by checking out the "way up" to longji via here.
That internal bus brought us to Ping An Village, one of numerous spots within the scenic area and this shall also be our destination for a local lunch!
The restaurant was housed in a traditional looking wooden building that's not indifferent from those in the village with a history longer than Singapore.
Here's lunch with local village delicacies!
Favourite dish was the omelette and fellow tour mates were happily digging into this until someone commented if the black specks on the egg were ants! The dish instantaneously dropped in popularity even though i was just delighted to be the one to clean it up! If ants taste that good, i wouldn't mind adding them to my food on a regular basis!
After which was the climb up to see "the seven stars with the moon". Along the way, we passed by a century-old rice field, a hundred-year-old house and eventually got up to the place with the best view! Do click the links to read more. In chronological manner, they are as follows; (1) Ride Up, (2) Ping An Village, (3) Old Rice Field, (4) Old House, (5) Climb Up and Down and (6) Best View.
On the way back to Guilin City!
See how close the humongous lorry was to our coach. I almost missed a beat and thought this lorry was going to hit us! A heart in the mouth moment as some would say.
I am unsure what these are. If my assumption is correct, the plantation could be similar to the ones at Longji; likely luohan which was one of the local produce for Longsheng county.
Speaking of Longsheng, the name came about because of a war fought between the emperor and the local tribe. The latter lost to the more powerful, better equipped army by the emperor and in memory of this incident, they renamed the place Long Sheng which means the dragon won (dragon in ancient China translates into emperor).
Rain started pelting down again and as the tour guide said, we were damn lucky as it would be a torment to climb down the slippery cobblestone at Longji!
It was already six in the evening when we reached Guilin and the timing was right for dinner! Nope, we were not attending a wedding dinner, which was in the same restaurant yet different sections.
Many kinds of live seafood were available and prices were quite affordable although Guilin was nowhere near the ocean!
Whatever the case, i don't see the point of paying extra and both dad and i were satisfied by the standard dinner offering as part of our tour package.
Immediately after dinner was an item under the compulsory tours; a ride on the coach for the night scenery of Guilin and a short walk along Rong Lake. => click here for the post. Also in line was the free waterfall show! Curious? Click here!
Check out the posting for the summarised itinerary of Chan Brother's tour package (guaranteed no shopping stops) to Guilin; it would give you a better overview of my trip. :)