Published: June 30th 2010May 15th 2010
We arrived in Kunming on the train after a long trip that was eased by movies and time to catch up on blogs and KFC for dinner hehe much better to eat cold kfc than train food I vote! So after the spectacular scenery that we had seen last night had almost disappeared now we are travelling through villages with some rice terraces that are not very green still beautiful though and especially seeing people working in them!
We have left Chengdu wondering if we had prioritised the wrong way as we have not had a chance to see some amazing things there as we had such a short amount of time and same with the next stop we were wishing that we had put aside time to go to Dali and Lijang however we have already booked onwards tickets and we live in hope that Guilin & Yangzhou will live up to there end of the bargain as we have five days there. Well we stepped off the train and head outside where for once we have no accommodation booked just some names written down...we go and check our bags and then head off in chance of finding something
we are happy with however the taxi driver dropped us at Camellia hotel a place we didn't have written down but we thought no harm in asking the price huh...we went in and the prices they had on the wall were over double what they said we went and had a look at the room looks good so we head back down confirm the price and head off down the road just in case there is something else...if seems like a good location we had a look at the YHA next door but for $5 less it was not worth the saving that's for sure we head back to the train station and collect our bags and go back and check in....the rooms big, clean and the shower is lovely so we are happy! The services they provide aren't available all the times they say they are which is a little annoying and the tour people can't help us with getting to the stone forest (the reason we came to Kunming) as we are not chinese nor do we have more than five people in our party. So basically they have tours but they are for Chinese tourists and they
wouldn't let you go on it....the shuttle only goes if there is more than five european/international tourists your other option is to get a private car 400Yuan (totally out of our budget) okay so you have to get a taxi 15k to the eastern bus station and catch a bus that takes 2 1/5 hour....we were by this stage deflated and I was determined there must be another way....I searched and searched online found conflicting information to what we were being told but who knows what's correct...still determined I walked to all the hotels nearby they all say the same thing except one person that says to join the chinese tour just don't buy anything at the stops at the shops and maybe bring our own lunch! I head back and talk to Mike and we swing between what to do...by now its 9pm and we head downstairs to get some dinner....but surprise the restaurants finished for the night (we asked earlier they said until 10pm) so off we go down the road to a bar that does food and have pizza and garlic bread and then head back to bed we want to have an early start tomorrow.
We get up well Mike does and he wakes me up I really didn't want to get out of bed this morning I am tired and hiding under the blanket but I know I have to make a move as we want to have brekky at 7.30 so up I get and 15mins we are out the door and down for brekky and then we went to see the lady in the office again about the car to see if we can get it cheaper but no luck there so we go off to the hotel down the road to join the tour....when we get there the lady who works at the tour desk says there bus is already gone the sign they have is wrong...we both have a little spat at her but she just says 'chinese tour anyway no good for you' in the end she confirms what we thought that there is a local bus that leaves from the train station down the road so we head down there and just around the corner we catch a 60 for 2yuan pp to the eastern bus station take 30mins (not much traffic) then we get off and the
driver points where to go to get the bus to shilin....when we got inside the bus station we went to ticket desk two and brought tickets to the stone forest shilin 25yuan pp then downstairs to the bus and 10mins the bus was full and we were on our way....we got to the stone forest in 1hour and 10 mins and it was easy as pie.....stupid lady at the hotel she made us think it was going to take about 3hours each way so we considered not going. As we are approaching 1hour on the bus we see rocks in the hills which quickly turn into large rocks / karsts' (limestone formations they are similar to halong but smaller and out of the ground not the water)
We arrived and head down to get tickets we were glad we knew how much they were 175yuan each otherwise like others we saw there we may have had to sit down and consider it....however it was totally worth it having an artistic eye may help a little as I was in awe looking at the different shapes turtles,ladies,couples allsorts of things and the different textures of the rock they range from
super smooth like well polished jade through to rough limestone and they are different colours some white, grey, rusty yolk colour and in one we found that everyone was slapping and praying next to had flecks of red! We did wander around some of the paths that lead you up and down and all around and they are wide and then really narrow (some I had to check Mike could get through) but it was fun and we made it out still in love with the place! We saw some traditional dancing and there is Minority people dressed up everywhere taking tours, selling things, driving little buggies, walking with umbrella's so that was nice they add to the colour of the place! UNESCO you have not let us down again we agree this is a world heritage sight if you go to Kunming you must go to the stone forest! We found out it was officially made a Unesco site in 1997 in Wellington New Zealand who would have thought huh!
We head back to the office and the bus is leaving in 10 mins so we get a quick ice block its 28oC and we are feeling a
little warm...the bus leaves on time and we are off back to Kunming it takes 1hour 20 to get back same price and we soon arrive after watching another Jackie Chan movie and we go and get on the local bus its 5.15 and traffic is a bit worse so it takes about 50mins to get back to our stop and then we walk back to the hotel and get our washing from the chinese man down the road then head out for dinner we had a nice meal of pork (was lovely but heaps of fat) the house speciality we ordered was beef it looked fine we hoped it was cooked...when it came out it was cooked it was silverside hehe tasted fine and we head back to the hotel I am shattered and have blisters under my toes :(
We have a good sleep and the next morning have brekky and pack bags and about midday head down the road to check our bags....we ran into an english couple that just came from Guilin that was trying to decided wether to get the bus to Dali or stay in Kunming as the train is fully booked for the
nest two days...we talked for a while then head off check our bag go get some stamps and then lunch....I had crossing the bridge noodles as they are famous well I had some form of them anyway its chicken soup with noodles and meat and eggs in it...then they put some oil in the top the reason for the name is a lady who had a artist as a husband used to make noodles for him and everyday he would sit over the bridge away from the house and when she took him his lunch they were always cold by the time she got there until one day she discovered if you put some oil in then it sits over the top and keeps the soup and noodles warm hehe that's the story anyway! While we were eating a begger came to the door and before you know it there is a staff memeber there shutting the doors and trying to usher him along....someone else came over and moved him along and that was the end of him....so many places they would just let them go but not in china they just have no time for them.
we walked around the shops for a while my back is sore has been since Chengdu so I think maybe its from the bump in the car but its will be okay! Mike finds a bracelet that he has been wanting which has a scorpion inside it (who knows if he will get it into Aussie but all good) we grabbed some bakery and some chicken for dinner, breakfast and lunch our train this is the long one we head out 1830pm and we get into Guilin at 1330 tomorrow. We get inside and sit for a while and soon the train is boarding so we go and get on...we are in different cabins beside one another....thankfully a nice dutch man that is in a different cabin to his dad offers to swap tickets so I get to go in with Mike...only thing is Mike loses his ticket so we search high and low if we don't find it we have to buy a new one....30 mins later we find is in behind the straps on his backpack....who knows why he put it there but we thankfully don't have to pay another 300yuan and we are underway on the train...that
brings me to an end as I am currently sitting hear drink hot choclate with marshmallows writing my blog after eating dinner no pull/power so only have battery to write this blog...no movies 20hours arrgghhh....tomorrow we arrive in Guilin hope its got something special for us.
There are more photos below