Month: August 2016

Exploring the famous Elephant Trunk Hill and Seven Star Park in Guilin, Guangxi, China

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Last week I posted about our Yao Mountain cable car ride in Guilin (You can see it here: Guilin Day 2: Annoying local fishermen, and riding the Yao Mountain Cable Car Ride) and this is the remainder of that day. After finishing up at Yao Mountain, our tour guide took us for a motorcycle ride around the most famous sights in Guilin. It was quite the spectacle! Check out the video down below and keep reading for more pics!

As we arrived at the park, it was about a 15 minute walk before our tour guide took us to a secret spot where we could get the best pictures of the famous Elephant Trunk Hill which lies on the Li River.

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The Li River, with the Elephant Trunk Hill on the opposite side.

So we finally got to the Elephant Trunk Hill, and it surely is an amazing form of nature. The rock juts down like a gigantic elephant’s trunk with a searing gap in the middle.

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After taking a million pictures there, our tour guide us further down the river where we could see all the locals actually SWIMMING in the Li River. I was a little surprised to see this, because China’s rivers are notorious for being very polluted and dirty. After looking closely at the water, it seemed relatively clean and clear, but still, I wouldn’t trust it.

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Locals swimming in the Li River

Soon after the sun was beginning to set, so we got on the motorbike with our guide and went to the most famous local park, known as Seven Star Park. Here we were able to see probably the coolest rock I’ve ever seen, known as Camel Hill. I even got to kiss the camel!

Make sure to check out my YouTube channel and to like/subscribe if you enjoy the content! Next week stay tuned for our exciting journey down the Li River!

Eating Guilin Noodles in Guilin, Guangxi,China

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While I was in Guilin, I of course had the opportunity to sample the famous Guilin mifen (桂林米粉) also known as the famous Guilin Noodles. These are rice noodles covered in a sweet gravy broth with a number of different ingredients not limited to ox bone broth and mangosteen in addition to many others. (The recipes vary greatly by restaurant) On top of the noodles green scallions, pickled cabbage and green beans and radishes are usually added on top. There is also a bit of meat in there, usually pork or dog.

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The condiments which you can add on top of your noodles.

One of the first things I did when I came to Guilin was look for the noodles so I could make that obligatory Guilin noodle video, which is what I did. The noodles were only 4 rmb for the bowl, which is about ~$.60! After covering with all the additional condiments, the noodles look quite pretty and very colorful.

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The flavor is immense in these noodles. The peanuts are nice and crunchy and fried and mixes very well with the soft noodles. I love scallions in just about everything, but the pickled radishes and green beans were also tasty! The pork was super fried and had the consistency of something like pork rinds back home, but only the crispiness on the outside, meatiness on the inside. I think the bamboo shoots were probably the best condiment, though. Here’s one more look at them, don’t forget to check out the video I posted about these videos on my YouTube channel above!

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Those delicious Guilin Noodles!

 

 

Looking for monkeys in Da Nang, Vietnam

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I got to Vietnam about 5 days ago and arrived in Hanoi. The entire trip so far has been awesome. Of course I don’t have my pc with me so I haven’t been able to edit my weekly videos but I have more videos from China scheduled to upload which I will post when they do – don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel for my latest travel videos. I will have plenty of videos from Vietnam coming once I get home and edit the hours of footage I have! This is just a sample of what’s to come!

Today was my first entire day in Da Nang after arriving at the airport last night and I am blown away. Vietnam is beautiful, clean, and incredibly cheap. I rented a motorbike for 140,000 dong (around $7, their currency really needs to be rounded down) and drove around the peninsula just outside of the city. I was advised by a couple of travelers to go here to see a few local monuments, some amazing views and possibly even some monkeys. 

I rode to the nearby peninsula and saw the legendary Lady Buddha statue, the premiere attraction in Da Nang.

I absolutely love this country. Freedom seems to be a big thing here, and I was amazed how quick I was rented a motorbike with no license. I’m even told by some locals that drunk driving isn’t even illegal in the country. Regardless I’d never do something silly like that. While driving past the Lady Buddha I encountered one of the most amazing viewpoints I’d ever seen. 

The views were endless serene and beautiful

My German traveler friend recommended I follow the road all the way to when the mountain starts to take back the road – meaning where the bushes start to overgrow the path – to look for monkeys. I, in fact did see a number of monkeys but didn’t get my camera out in time unfortunately. I caught a few seconds of one on video, but it’s awfully blocked by bushes. Perhaps I’ll have another opportunity before I leave Vietnam in about 9 more days.

I don’t have a whole lot more to share except for a few pictures but I felt it would be good to update the blog. Rest assured, plenty of great travel logs of Vietnam are on the way. I still have a lot of videos from Guilin I need to get out as well, the work never stops! 

One of the coolest places I’ve ever been to

Guilin Day 2: Annoying local fishermen, and riding the Yao Mountain Cable Car Ride

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On day 2 of my trip to Guilin I woke up very early in the morning around 5:30 AM. Maggie was taking the sleeper train into town from Shenzhen so I had to go to Guilinbei Railway Station to meet her and bring her back to the hostel. I caught a couple nice looking views from the cab on my way there.

After meeting Maggie, I brought her back to the Li River around 6:30 to catch the sunrise. It was breathtaking. We were also surprised to see a ton of fishermen there trying to catch some fish from the river. In Chinese I asked them if they had caught a lot of fish. They looked at me very annoyed as if I was making too much noise and said no.

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The fishermen were annoyed as we asked them if they had caught any fish.

We headed back to the hotel, had a shower and some breakfast, and then we were off to explore Guilin! We planned to go to Yao Mountain on this day, and that’s what we did. However first I had to buy a pair of pants because the mosquitos in Guilin are terrible – I got 15 mosquito bites on my first day in shorts. The remainder of the trip was spent in jeans. (Which I buy in the video) After that, we took a bus ride to Yao Mountain and found that you actually had to walk quite far from the bus to reach the mountain. Regardless, we found it and the cable car ride was AMAZING.

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The cable cars were like ski lifts, and honestly seemed kind of dangerous

So the cable car costs 65 RMB ($9.79 USD) to go up one way, and 110 RMB for both up and down ($16.57 USD) per person. It was well worth it though. Hiking to the top of that mountain, despite how much I love hiking, in that heat would be miserable. Plus, the views you get from the cable car and the nice breeze is unforgettable!

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Another unforgettable mountain view. Nature is beautiful.

Going up the cable car was even a bit scary for me, but poor Maggie had an absolute meltdown. In fact I plan to do another video on just how funny I thought her freaking out was. She was truly terrified on that cable car ride.

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Really awesome picture of a random tree branch sticking up and Guilin in the bg.

As the ride came to an end, we even caught a picture of a beautiful butterfly that landed on our cable car. Make sure to check out  my YouTube channel and check out the video of this day at the top. Let me know what you think in the comments! See you next time! I am off to Vietnam tomorrow so expect tons of good video logs and blog postings from there as well! I will be there for two weeks, and I still have videos scheduled to post to my YouTube channel while I’m gone, and I will see what I can do as far as updating the blog goes.

Guilin Day 1: Hostels, the Lijiang River, and the Zhengyang Pedestrian Street

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My trip to Guilin last week was a total success! We saw some amazing things out there, and this is what I saw on my first day. After having got off the train (Check my last week’s post Riding a Chinese sleeper train from Shenzhen to Guilin in China) I took a motorcycle to my hostel, the Sky Palace Hostel in Guilin. I checked in and I had to wait a couple hours for my room so I had some western breakfast.

After having some breakfast, I was able to check into my room. I was alone for Day 1, so I stayed in a shared hostel room for only 45 RMB a night (USD $6.78) which was a total steal.

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My hostel bunk bed at only $6.78 a night!

In fact, no one even checked in for the rest of the day and I had the room completely to myself! The cheap hotel fad would soon be over since my girlfriend arrived the next day, but I was still very happy. After taking a shower I headed out to get some food. I ate some Guilin noodles for lunch (Which will be in a future episode of my show, Ian’s Journeys) and then I decided I would like to check out one of the main attractions in Guilin, the Lijiang River. It was very near my hostel, so I took a walk (In the sweltering summer heat – Guilin absolutely does NOT have pleasant weather in the summer – very hot and humid) down to the river bank.

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The Li River

The river was quite breathtaking. The river stretches down hundreds of kilometers and passes through various towns – and you’d better believe we toured the river – which is coming in future blog posts/videos. All day you can watch different boats and fishermen trying to catch some river fare. After checking out the river, I returned to the hostel to enjoy a beer and take a break from the heat. I went out a few hours later and checked out one of the main tourist areas, the Zhengyang and Zhongshan walking streets which are home to tons of shopping and spots for street barbecue!

After checking out the pedestrian walking streets, I stumbled upon a familiar face: The king of burgers…

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I couldn’t help but justify a burger meal since I was on vacation as I do love my western food!

Later that night, I went to the bar at my local hostel and enjoyed some beers with the locals and had some pizza.

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Enjoying beers with a local

Then, it was off to bed as I had to wake up quite early the next morning to greet my girlfriend, Maggie who was coming in on the sleeper train. The Guilin adventure was just beginning! Make sure to check out the video of this trip, one of my best produced yet, right at the top of this page and on my YouTube channel! Make sure to like and subscribe if you haven’t yet, and let me know what you think in the comments!