Twenty hours on the train from Shanghai to Guilin were remembered: spicy hot noodles; curious hard workers who looked at us without interruption and did not look away, even when you look at them with the look “Well what are you looking at?” the absolute absence of European persons; the beauty of the endless paddy fields outside the window and, perhaps, very long sitting on your ass.
Just before the arrival, we drove through the beautiful mountains, and were in anticipation. And when we arrived at the station and went out in the heat, we first went to the toilet, and only then we thought where to go and where are these flying mountains of Zhangjiajie Park here? Five minutes later, we realized that this is wrong city.
And that city is four hundred kilometers to the north in a straight line. There seems to be time to correct the error, but hitchhiking back and forth can take a couple of weeks, because now the path is far from even. And go back through Guilin again and this is just an incredibly big, stupid and not logical hook. And then we did not have the money – not even enough for food. And the worst thing is that even if we get there, the entrance to the park costs thirty-six dollars per person, and this is only the entrance to the park, and there still pay for cableways, for each at least twenty-two dollars. We were one hundred percent sure that it was worth it to see these wonderful mountains with our own eyes, no matter how much money it cost! And at that moment the soul rushed to the north with violent force, but the logic stifled, tied and kicked in the balls. Nastya was crying, and I was trying to calm her down. I was funny and very sorry. It must have been a panic. And it was a fiasco and the apogee of our stupidity. Four months have already passed. A trip to China for the third time? At that moment, we had no choice but to immerse ourselves in Guilin.
We reached the public transport stop, climbed to the second floor of the city bus, and ten minutes later we got off somewhere in the city center. We decided to look around first and went over the “landmark” marks on the maps.me. The road led us along the embankment, past the picturesque temple complex consisting of two temples: the moon and the sun standing on the water. The entrance to each of the temples was worth the money and we, having enjoyed the view from the outside, went towards the cliff in the form of an elephant drinking from the Lijiang River, where we faced another unexpected obstacle, in the literal sense of the word.
The fact is that Guilin is one of the few Chinese cities where tourists from all over the world come to. Here are picturesque mountains, the largest karst cave in China, beautiful temples and this very rock. All of the above costs money, about 15 to 28 dollars per person. Well, in order to earn as much of this money as possible, they made a very smart move, cutting off the embankment from two sides.And, if you want to enjoy the view of the rock and make a good photo, you need to pay a decent amount. But on the map, of course, there is also a free “point of view” on the upper level of the embankment. And, probably, this is the most unique observation platform in the world, because in front of it is a wall of lush trees. And everything would be fine if it were in those places where there are no branches and leaves, but they put some shields there. In the end, we, of course, were able to crawl somewhere and partially consider this rather ordinary rock, but it was much more difficult to make a good photo.
We lived on the last money
Then the fun began. It’s still a bit early to look for a place under the tent, so we found a Wi-Fi and outlet in a café of a shopping center and sat down to work and, on a completely happy occasion, we received a small urgent order, and an hour later we already had money for a hostel.
In the morning Nastya again woke up cold, falling asleep before that with a wet head under the air conditioner, which the roommate turned on in the middle of the night. We made a check out, left things at the reception for an hour and went for a walk and on the way to see some medicines. We went out onto a wide, long street, on both sides of which we could see the low caps of the mountains, and, looking where to go next, we set off in the opposite direction.
Find what to see
An hour later, the road, residential quarters, led us to the mountain placer. Looking into the alleys, we tried to make out the paths leading upwards, and later noticed a lookout at one of the peaks. A hotel complex was built around the mountain, but, fortunately, the gates were open, and we went inside.
The path up was blocked because of the danger of a collapse. Next on the bench sat a policeman, and we decided not to risk it and went to look for workarounds. And once again we were very lucky, and we found an old staircase of carved stone, serpentine leading up to the cave in the form of a tunnel. The floor is concreted here, but the walls and the ceiling are untouched. All around in stalactites. Mostly dripping water from the ceiling. We enthusiastically passed through the mountain and just above reached the observation deck.
An extraordinary picture has opened before us. This mountain formation is not like any of the previously visible. Usually the mountains are ridges. Here, as if a giant Little Prince a million centuries ago, he put sandy cakes and flew away to get his birds. And below, between the mountains, dense Chinese buildings spread in all directions.
On the way back we reached the cave of some kind of flute there. It is the largest in China, but also the people in it most. There was a huge line at the entrance. Tickets for local people cost four dollars, but for us they were exactly ten times more expensive. There was not enough money and we decided not to get upset much, after all we had already visited one cave, and for free.
Maybe we are here for a reason
Without buying medicines, we returned to the hostel and sat down to work in a cafe near the reception desk. Nastya did not feel very well, we decided to ask the girls at the reception and they gave her a lot of medicine based on ginseng. Well, now we can live and we decided, for this courtesy, to stay there for another night.
We spent almost the whole next day there in a cafe, and by the evening made some money and found another hostel cheaper, for only five dollars for two people per day. There was quite clean, cozy and very stylish, free laundry and location in a picturesque tourist area. We paid for three nights in advance and decided that it was probably not for nothing that we accidentally came to this city, and we should visit this cave. As a result, we extended for another two days, but did not accumulate the necessary amount, spat on this case and set off on a very interesting and difficult path to the Ban Giock waterfall.
I would like to separately note that in the city of Guilin for a tourist everything is paid and everything is ten times more expensive than for a local one. Even all city parks cost at least four dollars per person. So without money there is absolutely nothing to do there!