Friday, 31 July 2009

Magnificent Guilin

I went with my colleague and friend Stephen to South China for 10 days. We took the 22 hour train on 'hard seat!', the worst class on train but I never experienced yet sleeping on a hard seat.
Train was leaving at 17.01 and arriving at Guilin at 14.25 the next day. Ticket was so cheap 194 yuan (20€) for 1 631 km!
Once in Guilin, there is not much to do, just a few spots to visit, wandering in the city is quite pleasant (a few free parks with pagodas) but people actually want to go to YANGSHUO (about 1 hour South-East from Guilin). There are buses every 10 minutes from Guilin train station, even if you don't speak Chinese, there are touts (rabatteurs) everywhere and same price everywhere (15 yuan). Actually this is the express bus (with air con), there are also 'normal' buses going to Yangshuo from the Bus Station, but not worthy (too many stops and not sure about air con).

Here is a good map of Yangshuo surrounding

Here it is the famous landscape from Guilin: the Li river cruise. That was as I expected, MAGNIFICENT, quiet, clean.
We took a bus to Yangdi from Yangshuo (8 yuan/1,5 hour) then found a boat (there are many waiting for customers) that we shared with 3 Cantonese students. We paid 30 yuan each for a 2 hour cruise, what a bargain when you imagine most people book the tour organised by their hotel for 350-400 yuan/person!! And frankly, this is much better to do the cruise on a small boat (max 5 people) than on the big touristic & expensive boat. At the end of the cruise, there was the scenery of the Chinese 20 yuan banknote.
For going back to Xingping, there were buses (5,5 yuan, 45 min).
Yangshuo city is welcoming. It became very touristic (many clothes and souvenirs shops as well as may pizzerias!) though it is still a charming city.

Then, we went to Longsheng, 2 hours drive from Guilin (17 yuan) on local bus that stopped nearly everywhere to try to have more people getting in. Once in Longsheng, we regretted not staying on a village like some locals offered us, Longsheng is so boring! Anyway, we've been to the LONGJI TERRACE RICEFIELDS and it was amazing. It took again a couple of hours driving on a minibus (minibuses leave every 1.30 hour from Longsheng, 8 yuan). As we arrive on the late afternoon, we were the only foreigners. Locals were offering us to stay the night at their home in one of the many villages settled in the middle of the ricefields. Too bad we already booked a hotel in Longsheng.

A map of Longji Terraces Ricefields on

Friday, 17 July 2009

Bamboo Rafting

I went to a 2 day trip with Bamboo Rafting organised to Yuhang (near Hangzhou). The travel agency invited 40 foreigners living in Shanghai to join 40 Chinese to compete in bamboo rafting. And it was free of charge for foreigners, lucky us!

So we left Shanghai by bus for a 3 hour drive. Here we were, people (mostly students) from Sweden, Latvia, UK, Korea, Niger, Zimbabwe, Colombia, Brasil, Russia, France...

The competition started the second day, with teams of FIVE, doing a race, the first challenge was to be the fastest to the arrival on a bamboo raft. In 5 minutes, it was done. We won our serie but the Chinese were faster.
The second competition was a slalom one on an air-boat. 14 minutes to paddle, it was hard!
The day finished by a swim in the rivern this felt so good when you know it's 35° outside, then a barbecue and a bonfire.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Beach near Shanghai: Jinshanwei

One day in May, I went to a beach called Jinshanwei 金山卫 with Stephen and Morgane, located two-hours South of Shanghai.

We were so craving about the beach, because temperature was already very high in May. As you may wonder, Jinshanwei is not a natural beach but it's ok, at least we were on the sand. You can see on my pic that they separed the natural sea (look at this grey sea on the back of the beach!! yes this is normal color of the sea!) and the treated sea (much nicer color, isn't it?)
Although, the part of the beach we went to, couldn't swim, they've put some lines preventing, probably other parts of the beach you can swim. There are jet-ski, boats, bicycles with 3 seats...and most of the Chinese who came with their tent and kept their clothes on (because you know, they come to the beach but don't want to get tanned!). It was funny, because we were the only ones to wear a swim-suit (except another the only other couple of foreigners), so we spotted a dozen Chinese trying to take a picture of us, prentending they were photographing the sea. haha.

Direction: at Shanghai South West Bus station, near Shanghai South Railway Metro Station 上海南站, line 1, take the bus 上石线 , ticket costs 10RMB and lasts about 1h45-2hours. This bus leaves at sharp time, i.e. 12pm, 1pm...This bus is also stopping at the bus stop in front of Lianhua metro Station, line 1, maybe more convenient.
Jinshanwei is the last stop (everybody gets off there anyway) called 石化汽车站, then the beach is at walking distance 500 meters and free.
A bus map here ->

Friday, 10 July 2009

Back Back Back

Finally! I found a way to access my blog again: a good proxy and i'm back! FYI, it's been 4 days that facebook is censored and months for youtube, dailymotion, blogspot, wordpress...
Sometimes google and hotmail also. Well, this is China. That's why i had to stop writing.

So I am still in Shanghai and just finished my internship as an Industrial Relations Assistant.

I will go back to France on 1st August. In between, I have 3 weeks to spend, so here is my plan:
- Hangzhou: Bamboo rafting
- Guilin, Yangshuo
- Beihai, Weizhou island
- if have enough time, Guizhou province