Guilin, China, 2008

This little trip-within-a-trip was an excursion that Kundan and I made with Yingwah from Hong Kong to Guilin in Guangxi Province, an hour’s flight to the north west. At four days, this trip was probably three and a half days longer than most visitors spend in this delightful region and, for two of us at least, it was our first taste of China.

China Travel Services arranged a driver and guide so that we could see as much of the exquisite, artist and poet inspiring landscape as possible while not missing out on any of the obligatory shopping and handicraft opportunities. Cindy, our guide, was wonderful; coping with the unexpected complication of a non-mushroom eating vegetarian, a reference book toting travellaholic and a Mandarin speaking student who picked up all sorts of remarks not usually intended for the ears of visitors.

We must have made a rather unlikely looking family but it was all enormous fun. No, we did not drag Kundan up over the Dragon’s backbone but we did get a phone call halfway through the trek when a helpful stall-holder back in the village seemed to think that if he spooned the fish pieces out of the broth before serving it to her it counted as vegetarian. If I only appear to have one change of clothes on this trip it was because of all the dried fruit, nuts and biscuits I had had to stock up with to get her over the border into China in the first place.

Cross cultural communication surged ahead in the marketplaces, however, with Kundan receiving the ultimate accolade: “You bargain better than a Chinese Lady”. One of the most memorable stops was Fu Li, otherwise known as the fan makers’ village. Here Cindy apparently abandoned her brief to take us to every handicraft outlet in the province and allowed us to wander around the village and take a ride on the local ferry. It may even have been more fun than the Li River Cruise, the attraction that most visitors parachute into the region to notch up.

As you will see, we were extremely lucky with the visibility and so I’ve chosen not to caption the pictures individually. I’m sure that there are better ones out there but, even so, I don’t particularly want these turning up in any old search engine, particularly as Yingwah has been dreading the day I got out the ones of her dressed up in the Maio costume for some time. I have added an index instead

003 – 027 Longsheng rice terraces (Dragon’s Backbone)

006 – 012 Yao women coming down their uncut hair

014 – 018 Yingwah dresses up in Maio costume

039 – 042 Reed Flute Caves

049 – 054 Thousand Buddha Cave

056 – 060 Elephant Trunk Hill

061 – 069 Yaoshan Mountain cable-car

071 – 108 Li River Cruise

114 – 126 Yangshuo (Impressions Light Show)

136 – 156 Fu Li village

Categories: China, Far East


  • Chris says:

    Looks like you were bitten by the Dragon as well!

  • I think it may be the Phoenix for ladies. I was probably bitten long, long ago when the boss at my Saturday job in Richmond married an antique collector. His speciality was Oriental pottery and he loved to bring in his latest acquisitions to show us and explain all about them. As the business was winding down we were seldom bothered by customers. I still get a bit muddled in the periods between the Tang and the Ming dynasties but at the age of seventeen I was having my taste educated. It was surely a priceless opportunity but one I didn’t learn to appreciate until many years later.

  • Sandy says:

    Very nice rock samples. I didn’t see any references to Mr. Bush?

  • George W is in picture 031, he was adorning the walls of a silk workshop, he must have visited sometime.

    The rock specimens in 142 are as contraband as the tiger skin in 143, they have been taken from the beautiful limestone caves which honeycomb the region. I think that the landscape type is named Karst but in China they call it the Land of Ten Thousand Mountains.

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