Liaolianxia Tourist Traps
The photo shows a map of the 'reserve'/'theme park'/whatever.
I seem to be giving a lot offree publicity to this place, eh?!!
Our taxi driver was clearly embarassed by how we had been treated (actually we were mainly bemused)and called for the manager, an urbane friendly guy who made a lot of good suggestions including a reduced fee for the children. We, however, had expected a forest reserve where we could walk for a couple of hours in monsoon forest, and RMB268 in total was more than we wanted to pay, let alone multiples of that!
Later in the day we met an English couple who had been to the park. They said they were completely dissatisfied with it all, and felt it was just a waste of time and money.
Whatever the qualities of Gan Shi Ling, a complete absence of information both in Sanya and at the 'point of sale' is bad business practice, and the behaviour of the ticket office staff was inexcusable. Sometimes these parks are worth visiting, because there are always opportunities to learn and be entertained, but RMB268 per person is an obscene amount of money to charge in China. (It should be noted that the excellent Nanshan, west of Sanya cost us less than RMB200 in *total*)
We saw on an official Sanya tourist website, a forest reserve at Gan Shi Lin, some 20km north of Sanya. As we had not had the opportunity to get to our first choice of Jianfenling, 100km north-east, we decided to head for Gan Shi Ling. Our hotel had never heard of the place (not altogether surprising, they would have struggled to know where their own front door was located), but it was also new to our trusty taxi-driver. We had the approximate location in the Hainan Tour Atlas, so headed off towards Tongza and Wuzishan, with the meter ticking up quickly. After leaving the Sanya River plains, the road climbs sharply and constantly to the first ridge. Just beyond here, at the head of the first valley is the Ganshiling Money Removal Tourist Attraction. It is not a forest reserve, but the most expensive private tourist park that we have seen in China. The park wanted RMB268 (US$32) per person, and no reduction for our 10 and 12 year old children! More than a thousand kuai! To put this into context, the new *raised* admission fee for Beijing's Forbidden City is RMB100 and less for children/students. RMB1072 is a staggering amount to pay for afamily of four.
When we politely asked, in Chinese, what was inside - as we had no information whatsoever - we were met with blank looks by the staff, then surliness when we suggested that we were not willing to pay the cost of our airline ticket from Beijing to Sanya without knowing what we were going to find inside. At this point the staff became even more surly, to the point of hostility, and refused any more information. They even tried to prevent me taking photographs of the entrance. We had been polite all along, but these clowns became abusive in response to questions about what we would get for our entry fee. We walked away, having read whatwas inside - three separate areas; a 'forest trip', a 'Li/Miao village' and a folklore area.
Unique Suggestions: Ak for the manager and complain. He was a reasonable, friendly man and was prepared to reduce the price dramatically. (Even at half the price we wouldn't pay...we just wanted to go for a walk in the woods!)
Fun Alternatives: Just explore the surrounding countryside where you can see the forest and the Hlai (Li) people for free.
Favorite thing: This links to a reasonable topographical map of the area. Ganshiling is on the road that runs to the top of the map, at the slight kink in the road to the west of Liaolianxia.