China - First Impressions

China's flag
Asia » China » Hunan » Guilin
May 4th 2008
Published: May 10th 2008
Edit Blog Post

Hong Kong At NightHong Kong At NightHong Kong At Night

The bright lights of Hong Kong
After spending 6 days running around Hong Kong, we were lucky enough to get our Visa on the second attempt at the Chinese embassy. Because of the Olympics, the government are cracking down on multiple entry visas and visas lasting longer than 30 days so they can maintain tighter control on foreigners entering and exiting China. It has been a real painful process involving 2 full days sitting in the embassy trying to push our visa application through. I wish we bought our Visa in England!

We spent 4 days visiting the sights of Hongkong, checking out the Avenue of Stars, the Peak Tram, Times Square, Soho, Kowloon, Causeway Bay and loads of markets. I even visited the largest computer store ever! and managed to find a really posh shopping centre called "Lane Crawford". I was so tempted to buy the smallest laptop I have ever seen for 200 pounds. Hong Kong is a great place, it would be a nice place to live and work.

A couple of days ago we managed to pass through the Hong Kong / China mainland boarder into Schenzen. We soon realized that no one speaks English and that all of the signs
On The Streets Of GuilinOn The Streets Of GuilinOn The Streets Of Guilin

Now, how are we all going to fit in that!
are in Chinese. Once we got passed the scary looking officials on the boarder, it was a matter of pointing on the map in the Lonely Planet, repeating ourselves over and over, while using a phrase book and body language to get where we wanted to be.

With the exception of having an over emotional taxi driver who almost burst into tears when we used our harsh Indian tactics on him in response to his over charging, we have not had any problems. The Chinese don't seem to be as confrontational as the Indians. With the exception of the language barrier, I think China will be a breeze in comparison.

We spent our first night in China on a very posh sleeper train. It was definitely an improvement on the Indian transportation we have recently become accustomed to. The train was clean, and the people were polite with the exception of one bloke who insisted on farting as loud as possible all night long while I was trying to communicate with another passenger in the same compartment. She was not phased by this blokes farting. I couldn't help but laugh!

We are now in the beautiful city
Rice TerracesRice TerracesRice Terraces

A typical view while Hiking in the rice terraces
of Guilin. The landscapes are stunning and the locals are incredibly friendly. Unlike India, no one is trying to fight, threaten, rob or throw rocks at us. My First impression is that China is not what I was bracing myself for, it appears to be incredibly organized and friendly. In Guilin, they even drive around on electric motorbikes. Its nice to see people following some basic road rules.

We have visited the Longsheng Rice Terraces. We hiked high up into the mountains on our own and had amazing views of the mountains, villages and rice paddies. We met some tribes people but didn't have a clue what they were saying to us. I think they got frustrated because they kept repeating the words to us slower and louder, it was hysterical!. We wondered off the main trails and got completely lost for a few hours, but eventually managed to find our way back to the town we started from.

There are quite a few tourists in Guilin. We have met up with a few other backpackers and traveled around the city together. We have visited Seven Star Park, Reed Flute Cave, Elephant Trunk hill, and hiked to the top of a few view points. Its a nice and friendly town.

Unfortunately it has not stopped raining since we arrived in China. The southern climate seems fairly tropical, similar to that of South India or Thailand. I have bought a Chinese umbrella - its great!


13th May 2008

Hi Darren, I'm sure everyone is wondering if you are OK following the earthquake. Let us know if you get a chance. I have been enjoying your blogs Dan

Tot: 0.103s; Tpl: 0.015s; cc: 24; qc: 120; dbt: 0.0224s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.6mb