We ride the Guangzhou metro to the end of the blue line, Guangzhou South Train Station. Ticket office queues are reasonable so we soon enter the cavernous train station. After three weeks in Taiwan, I’ve forgotten the immense scale of China. You could park airliners in this space. The infrastructure of the station is amazing and shows a nation on the rise but there is still work to do. The high speed train pulls away and we pass dilapidated, ramshackle huts that look about to collapse but the tell tale sign of washed clothes drying in the sun give them away as residences.
Time to try China train food. I buy a prawn wanton noodle soup for 30¥ and a cup of tea for 30¥!!! Its a microwaved pot noodle but is ideal for breakfast, even with the overpowering garlic.
At Guilin north train station there are many pushy taxi touts and at the bus station next door, there’s no ticket office and tourist info is closed. We haggle with a driver whose kind eyes rest above a beaming smile. It was a good choice, as the journey is filled with easy listening classics, Take me Home Country road, California Dreaming, and a seasonal When a Child is Born. Its worth paying over the odds for some good tunes. He drops us at Guilin South bus station and warns up about touts overcharging us for tickets to Yangshuo. His English is good but his vocabulary doesn’t stretch to irony.
The bus to Yangshuo takes an hour and a half along a road we watch being built. Unexpectedly and without warning, cars, buses and trucks drive towards us on our side of the dual carriageway, diverted from their side as tarmac is laid. Further along, dust swirls like mist and our driver races cars and farm trucks over gravel and mud for the best position through the lumpy terrain. The shock absorbers on the bus died long ago. We reach Yangshuo and catch the final bus of the day, then walk to the hostel.
The hostel has a roof terrace with views over the Liu river and karst landscape beyond.
I’ve caught Alison’s cold which has developed further into man flu, so we have a quick wander round Yangshuo’s developed downtown, where many tourist restaurants and souvenir sellers vie for your attention, before crashing early and posting the many blog posts we’ve recently written!