Kunming, 2015-03-01 01:04:39 +0800
Day 4 (197) in China
Back to China. I came from Luang Prabang in Laos to Jinghong by bus, then from Jinghong to Kunming by car, with a friend that I met on the bus. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I forgot to take my camera bag from the friend’s car before she set off for a different destination. So now I cannot really go anywhere by train or by plane, or stay in hotels.
Chengdu => Guiyang => Guilin => Yangshuo => Guangzhou => Guilin => Kunming => Luang Prabang => Vientiane => Vang Vieng => Luang Prabang => Jinghong => Kunming.
If you have the choice of staying in China or going abroad during winter holidays, I would strongly advise to go abroad. I only went to Laos this time, but it was much warmer, cheaper, and more fun than most places I visited in China.
=== Places or activities I liked on this trip: ===
=== Places you I regret ever going to: === ==== Huangguoshu Waterfall 黃果樹瀑布, near Anshun, Guizhou province ==== So famous that many Chinese people may have never heard of Anshun or Guizhou province, but definitely have heard of the biggest waterfall in Asia, Huangguoshu. I actually didn’t see the waterfall itself. I only reached the parking lot near the waterfall. There you have to buy ridiculously overpriced tickets (160 yuan/80 yuan with a student card,) and it’s just to enter the scenic area. I actually went there in low season, where there was hardly anyone going in or out.
From the parking lot it’s still several kilometers to go to the waterfall. You can choose to go by public bus for 2 yuan, but in low season there are very few buses and when we arrived, there were no buses anymore. Another choice is to take the sightseeing bus for 50 yuan/person, which seems crazy after you have just spent 160 yuan for the entrance ticket. You can also take a cab, but cabs around the waterfall are not regular cabs. They are even more expensive than the sightseeing bus.
‘’‘Another drawback:’’’ The waterfall is among China’s best-known attractions, which means that in high season there are more Chinese tourists than there are trees in the forest surrounding the waterfall. The parking area looked like it was big enough for at least twenty coaches. If you have to visit Huangguoshu Waterfall, go there on weekdays. If you’re departing from Guiyang, you have to take the earliest morning train to Anshun, otherwise you won’t get to the scenic area on time.
==== Yangshuo 陽朔, Guilin, Guangxi autonomous region ==== Yangshuo was discovered by Western backpackers and fans of rock climbing in the 1980s. I reckon at that time it must have been ridiculously cheap and peaceful. Many foreigners told me that Yangshuo was their place on Earth, that they only went there for a few days and stayed for several months instead. It was supposed to be very small, for Chinese standards. Just about an hour from Guilin, it’s a place you have to go if you visit Guilin.
My vision: ‘’‘Tourist trap.’’’ It’s about as authentic and cheap as Zakopane. In Yangshuo, even taxi drivers and shop assistants can speak at least some English, and the overall level of English is about 150% above average. Unfortunately, in most of the town food prices also don’t bring to mind other places in China.
2015-03-02 10:57:21 +0800
Day 5 (198) in China
Hitchhiking in China. I heard many relations from people who managed to hitchhike in China, even for longer distances. I heard if you’re standing on the right spot, you shouldn’t have to wait more than around five minutes. I’m going to travel around 900 km from Kunming to Chengdu. I left my Polish friend’s place around 7.30 in the morning and walked to the place where I assumed I could catch a ride, at least to G5 highway, where I could probably catch a ride to somewhere in Sichuan. I stood there for about 30 minutes, then some guard in uniform gestured to me that it wasn’t the right way. Then some girl about my age tried to explain to me in broken English that I should take the bus 151 to the bus station and I can buy tickets for my bus there.
Then I decided I was standing in the wrong place and that I should probably get to the highway 收費站. I walked around 50m and tried to get a cab. Then some elderly man stopped and asked me where I wanted to go. I said, Sichuan. He said he could take me to the highway for 60 yuan (!). I told him I was going to take a cab, and anyway, I wasn’t interested in paying for my ride. In the end, he took me to the highway entrance (G56 this time) for 30 yuan. There I stood for several minutes with a sign saying ‘‘Chengdu’’, but I only saw three cars with Sichuanese numbers. Then I decided I wouldn’t find any car going to Sichuan, so I wrote ‘‘Zhaotong, Chengdu’’. Within two minutes, a car stopped and the driver said he was going to Zhaotong. I asked if he wanted any money for the ride and he said it was free. So now I’m still on the way. It should take about five hours and I’m going to stay overnight in Zhaotong.
I made a vow not to drink any alcohol until March, 8th to give my liver a rest after Laos.