For me, Guilin was a first. For my travel companion, he had visited 10 years previously. He remembered this part of China as possessing great natural beauty, a rural kind of charm. This kind of beauty remains in fragments:
But as with anything, development is a double-edged sword- and as we ventured away from the Reed Flute Cave back to our van, the same machines creating for Guilin were also marring the landscape of what used to be an untouched fishing village.
See the crane- top right hand corner
But all was not lost, because the Elephant Trunk Hill (Xiangbishan) provided us with a scenic snapshot to enjoy. Better still- whatever age you are- you’re never too old to enjoy a park (well that’s my theory).
The Elephant Trunk Hill gets it’s name from the shape the rocks form, resembling an elephant drinking from the River Li. Entrance cost CNY 75 and you pay more if you wish to climb the hill.
Apparently, there are carvings in the rocks which provide information on the attraction, but you need someone with local knowledge to give more information about this. We decided not to climb the hill due to budgeting restrictions.
However, we did enter the “lovers park” (not awkward because, more than anything else, it was all humorously bewildering to my friend and I).
The park area is full of steel framed statues and larking around is a must:
Minnie and Mickey being all cute And the Garden of Eden- weird statue style
So basically quite unlike parks in the UK. Kids look away now.
Though we didn’t know this at the time, parts of the park can be lit up at night- we figured this out upon seeing a tree with lights hanging down from the branches. So as a tip, perhaps this would be the best time to visit the Elephant Trunk Hill Park. However, entrance into the park at night is more expensive, so do take this into consideration.
From the park, you also get views of the river:
By now, we had completed both the Reed Flute Cave and the Elephant Trunk Hill and we were feeling incredibly hungry. We consulted a park map and located a restaurant on the edge of the park, overlooking the River Lijang. The Homa Cafe is a hidden delight- waiting staff are friendly, and on a cold day- food is incredibly warming.
My friend tucked into a noodle dish whilst I enjoyed tofu, rice and stir fried vegetables. After swapping drinks (he wasn’t fond of his citrus, orangey tea but I enjoyed it), we returned to the area around our hotel in Guilin and explored the town during the late afternoon.
Our late lunch at Homa Cafe.
Our time in China was drawing to a close. But I still had a bit more time in Hong Kong before I approached the other part of my journey and settled down in Melbourne, Australia for a couple of months. And despite thinking I’d seen it all in Hong Kong during my first stint there (see the categories sidebar for my earlier blog posts on Hong Kong), it just so happens I was very wrong. The commercial capital of Asia still had far more to offer…