Here are your options to get from Guangzhou (Guangdong Province) to Guilin (Guanxi Province). Ranked by cost :
$ - 9 Hr bus ride from Hell (170Y) - very safe, there is a conductor on the bus to count pple so they don't leave you behind and she answers queries and tells u where to stop and get off. Free water is distributed on the bus. The bus runs abt 4 times a day and the latest is 22.35 hrs.
$$ - 13 Hour Sleeper Train
The price ranges from 160Y to 320Y for 5 different classes.
1- Hurt your ass hard seat class
2- Less pain in the ass soft seat class
3- Aeroplane like cushion seats
4- Backache hard sleeper class
5- Luxury soft sleeper with clean linen ! and pillow!
$$$- Guilin Airlines ( about 600Y not inclu. of taxes)
Just fyi, the locals told me that this airline is quite prone to accidents. The last 2 major crashes were in 1987 and 1997 ... wanna take the plane this year? Go figure.....
I took the bus and got there in 1 piece. There are 2 toilet stops on the way. Both are bad, so don't hold it in hopes of finding a better toilet.
IVECO mid size buse or 40+seats local buse runs between airport and Minhang Dasah downtown every 30 minutes.
Duration: 45-60 mintues.
Stops: rail station/long haul bus station before arriving the terminal.
I have also included this as a thing to do.
Recommend if you can, pay only 200 Yuan and take a small boat down the Li River. The big boats taken by most tourists are crowded and you do not seem to have the facility of getting up and taking photos easily. I could be wrong!!
By accident we came across a gentleman who offered us the chance of going down the Li River by boat for 180 Yuan each. The trip itself involved a 45 minute mini-van ride to the Li Crown River dock area where we had lunch and had to wait for about 2 hours for the boat. We then had a 2 – 3 hour small boat ride sharing with 2 other people. Along the way we stopped off at two villages.
The small boat allowed us the luxury of being able to take photos easily. The boat took us to two villages and we then had another 45 minute ride to Yangshuo town. We arrived at Yangshuo about 5pm.
Yes it was budget and pretty basic but we got to see a lot more than if we had gone down river by tourist boat and it was half the price. It was up close and personal.
If interested go to the White Pearl Hotel in Guilin and ask around.
In keeping with our routines (see General China page) we caught the Shuttle Bus from the airport to the CBD and then Taxi (12 Yuan )to hotel.
Shuttle Bus just outside main entrance and leaving within 5 minutes of arrival.
Painless, no hassling about taxi's ripping you off and travelling like the Chinese do!!
Cost of bus ticket: 20 Yuan.
The plane left at 10.50 for Shenzhen and arrived 45 minutes later.It was actually very interesting as the plane flew over mountainous areas as well as a number of heavily populated cities. The views were excellent. (see photos). We were served a cold drink and biscuits.
A painless, quick way to get back to Shenzhen!
Cost of ticket 770 Yuan
This is a very small airport with several international flights, such as from Malaysia Airlines (Charter flight), Dragon Air, Asiana, etc. There is only one duty free shopping area where the prices of souvenirs, local produce and liquors are so expensive. Definitely not worth buying here.
Be sure to bring your own book or magazine to kill your time here while waiting for your flight. No magazine stand or convenience store are in sight. There is one small cafe at the corner of the airport but it is so empty and dark.
While your plane is descending for the runway and if you are having a window seat, be sure to look out from the window. The view is simply to breathtaking. You can see rice terrains and vegetables farms on every inch of the available land. They look like topography diagram on your Geography textbook. It certainly the greatest artwork from humankind.
For a cheap Down Town City tour take the #10 bus.
It is good if you just arrived in town and want to get aquainted with the layout.
There is also a tourist shuttle ( I think #58) that will take you to all of the in town attractions.
Most people will tell you the cost is 150-200 but if you bargain it will be 80. We paid 80 and we did have a chinese person do the bargaining. I think that is fairly cheap and i believe most people pay about 100RMB as most taxi drivers only went to 100.
Right as you walk out of this airport you will see buses and people will most likely go up to you and ask if you want to take the bus. The ticket is 10RMB and be carefull they dont charge you 20 as they did to us and sold us 2 tickets each, bastards got us good. The bus ride takes about 25-30 minutes.
To get to Guilin from Beijing, one has to go to Beijing Xike Zhan i.e. West station. Buy a ticket to Guilin from the ticket counter station. Price varies according to hard seat or soft seat.
For me, everything is paid for in the local tour package to Guilin by the tourist agency. I got the very slow train that stops at every train stations along the way. This is only great if you want to see a glimpse of the different places in China. But mind you, I had to spend 24 hours i.e. A DAY in the train. It's ok as long you don't have weird people sharing the same bunk area (which consists of 6 bed bunks in one section of a train cabin) with you. Great way to meet and exchange conversations with the locals and foreign travellers on board.
This mode of transportation can be hired for a minimal sum (around RMB 40-80 depending on how good you are in bargaining). I tried it in Yangshuo & thought it to be quite exciting & fun though I was quite worried initially.
Guilin Airport is very, very far away from the city. You could pay some outrageous sum of money to have a taxi drive you out there. Or for a more reasonable fee (20 RMB) you can take the airport bus that departs each half hour from the CAAC office at the intersection of Minzhu Lu and Shanghai Lu, just east of the train station. Either way, it takes about 40 minutes to get to the airport...
In this shot, Xiujuan has just boarded a China Southern Airlines flight at Guilin Airport and ready to take off!
Renting a bicycle is a great way to get around Guilin as some of the sights can be quite far from the city center and riding buses isn't everyones cup of tea or riding taxi's for all that matters. I'm not fond of riding taxi's. But if you want to rent a bike you better have (at least from my experience in Guilin) a raincoat (which I didn't have) if you ride a bike for long periods of time without fenders your back will become soaking wet!! haha But bikes are fairly inexpensive to rent by the day...I don't know how much I paid.
From Guilin I wanted to book a ticket to Chongqing with a sleeper but there weren't any available unless I wanted to stay 4 days in Guilin and I had planned on 3 and thought that even 3 was to many. So I just bought a Hardseat ticket for my adventure to Chongqing. I paid in FEC's as I couldn't find any local to help me get the cheap price so I paid 65 FEC (US$17.75) Which was incredibly expensive in my opinion. There were only 2 train rides that I paid "Foreigner" price on and this was one of them.
I had to change trains in Guyang so I thought I'd try to stay the night there well that didn't work out as I could'nt find a hotel that would accept foreigners so I went back to the train station. I was able to get a local priced hard sleeper ticket on the continuation part of my journey to Chongqing for 10.50 (US$2.00) Yuan. So I was happy to pay that so I could get some sleep! The term "Hard Sleeper" isn't as bad as it sounds. It's actually quite comfortable.You have to have a sleeping bag or something to cover yourself if you want to stay warm (in winter). And also I've been told that there isn't a 2 pricing system anymore as far as local or foreigner...just different classes which of course will have different prices.
Fly into Guilin airport! :) Well, I think it's Guilin airport... it may just be one serving the Guangxi province, as it was some distance from the city. It was pretty small though.
We had our small, sometimes air-conditioned tour bus that got us to most of the places. ;) If we went off on our own, without the group, generally we walked or took a taxi. Taxis are incredibly cheap, although still be cautious of drivers who will try to rip you off.