Shenzhen, Hezhou, Quilin, Zhaoqing Travel (Part II)

December 8, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Quilin Travel II 
{continued from “Shenzhen, Hezhou, Quilin, Zhaoqing Travel (Part I)”}
Day 4: Thursday 2 June 2005    Quilin City 

Quilin City    Located in the north-east of Guangxi Zhang Autonomous Region, Quilin has a population of

Part of Quilin City

Part of Quilin City

650,000. Its main economic activity revolves around industries including medicine, foodstuff, cars, electronics and many more. It is well connected by roads, railways and air with other cities in China.

Quilin is a famous ancient city with a history of over 2,000 years. It is an enchanting place and known worldwide for its scenic spots like green hills, splendid rivers, grotesque caves and exquisite rocks. Quilin in Chinese means ‘osmanthus forest’ as there are many osmanthus trees around the city. River Li or Lijiang flowing from north to south cuts the city into halves and is joined by another river, River Peach Blossom (River Taohua ), in the middle of the city.

Scenic Spots   Quilin’s beautiful scenic spots attract many

Pierced Hill Park (Chuanshan Garden)

Pierced Hill Park (Chuanshan Garden) in the foreground and Quilin City in the background

dignitaries and tourists from home and abroad. The popular scenic spots are:

Elephant Hill (Xiang Bi Shan), Camel Hill, Tunnel Hill, Folded-Brocade Hill, Wave-Subduing Hill, The Hill of Unique Beauty, The Pierced Hill Park (Chuanshan Hill), Flute Cave, Banyan Lake and Fir Lake, Fubo Park (Whirlpool Hill), Diecai Park, Xishan Park, Nanxi Park Seven Star Park and the list can go on and on.

Besides the landmarks, Quilin offers many activities such as boat cruises on River Li, cycling in the countryside, learning Chinese

Writer's wife and son, and Pierced Hill is in the background

Writer’s wife and son, and Pierced Hill in the background

painting and taking photographs of beautiful scenery of the countryside, mountain-climbing, canoeing, and many more.

Pierced Hill Park     After breakfast at City Garden Hotel in Quilin, we went to Pierced Hill Park (Chuanshan Park) in the south-east of Quilin. The hill has a round hole in its middle and it looks as though it has been pierced, hence its name. The hole resembles a moon if it is seen from a distance. Near this hill is a smaller one called Ta hill (Pagoda Hill). On top of it is a pagoda built in the Ming Dynasty.

Pagoda Hill near Pierced Hill

Pagoda Hill near Pierced Hill

Flowing in between these two hills is a small river called Xiaodongjiang (Little Eastern River). The reflection of the two hills in the river is fascinating.

At the foot of Pierced Hill, there is a huge bronze bell which weighs 2,624 kg and has a height of 2.5 metres. It was made in the eighth year of the Kangxi Period of the Qing Dynasty.

Dong (Cave) Nationality     We climbed up the steps of the steep Pierced Hill and entered a cave to watch pretty native girls of the

Dong Girls performing a traditional dance

Dong Girls performing a traditional dance

Dong (Cave) nationality performing their traditional dances and at the same time singing their native songs. They even asked some tourists to perform a mock marriage ceremony with them and do the bamboo dance.

Li River (Lijiang)    After watching that short and entertaining performance, we climbed to the top of the hill (about 75 metres high). Standing on its top, one can have an absolutely breathtaking 360 degree panoramic view of Quilin City with limestone hills surrounding it and the green Li River (Lijiang) flowing through it.

Then we came down the hill and strolled at the beautiful park by the

Writer standing among three statues of China's important figures

Writer standing among three statues of China’s important figures

Li River. Three black statues of China’s important figures under a tree caught my eyes. I stood with them and asked someone to snap a photo for me.

I saw a man on a bamboo-raft on the Li River using a long net to catch fish. After throwing the net into the water a few times, he did not land in any fish. It was his unlucky day.

More Hills    Then we visited two more hills which are nearby: Fubo Hill (Whirlpool Hill) and Xiangbi Hill (Elephant Trunk Hill). One can

Elephant Trunk Hill (Xiangbi Hill)

Elephant Trunk Hill (Xiangbi Hill)

walk up to the top of the former and have a good view of Quilin City. Inside its cave, some Buddha statues and frescoes dated from the Tang and Song dynasties can be seen. The Elephant Trunk Hill has a shape of an elephant with its trunk extending into Lijiang River (River Li), hence the name of the hill.

Dibao Silk Products Co. Ltd.    The next place we visited was a silk factory called Dibao Silk Products Co. Ltd. in Quilin. Arriving there, we watched female workers making quilts from silk. Besides quilts, this factory sells a variety of silk clothes.

Fir Lake

Fir Lake (Sanhu)

Later we went to Chuanshan Road to visit a famous Chinese tea-shop to taste more than five types of tea. The employees claim that Chinese tea is good for health and longevity. In the shop we were surprised to see, hanging on the wall, big photos of Mr. Clinton (the ex-president of U.S.A.) and his family drinking Chinese tea in the shop.

Banyan Lake (Ronghu) and Fir Lake (Shanhu)    After lunch we headed straight for a large garden in the Quilin downtown where two

A glass bridge over Fir Lake

A glass bridge over Fir Lake

lakes, Banyan Lake (Ronghu) and Fir Lake (Shanhu) are connected to each other. The lakes  were a part of the Quilin city moat during the Tang Dynasty. There are some small islands in the lakes which are linked by zigzag-bridges. One part of a bridge is made of glass and has a beautiful, romantic glass-shelter. Standing tall at Banyan Lake, are two beautiful pagodas, one gold in colour and the other silver. There are many shady trees around the lakes and a few of them are more than 1,000 years old. It is a good place for relaxation and exercise. Local people like to gather here to play card games and Chinese chess under

Twin pagodas by Bayan Lake at night, Quilin City

Twin pagodas by Bayan Lake at night, Quilin City

shady trees. At this park, it is a common sight to see poor boys and girls persistently asking tourists to buy flowers.

This clean and tranquil place and a certain part of Quilin city were once surrounded by a high wall to protect the inhabitants against enemies’ attacks in ancient times. Now, most of the wall has been demolished and cleared for roads and buildings. A gate of the

South Gate (Gunamen)

South Gate (Gunamen) near Fir Lake, Quilin City

fortress still remains near the lakes and it is called the Southern City Gate (Gunanmen).

Beijing Baoshutang Pharmacertical Company   After strolling round the two lakes in Quilin City, we went to a Chinese medicine company, Beijing Baoshutang Pharmacertical Company, along Long Ying Road. It boasts of many kinds of medicine which can treat health problems ranging from eczemas , rheumatism, impotence to diabetes mellitus and complications of cardio-cranial vascular disease. Quite a mouthful!

Writer and his wife posing with a large equestrian statue by Bayan Lake, Quilin City

Writer and his wife posing with a large equestrian statue by Bayan Lake, Quilin City

Once inside the shop, we were invited to watch a demonstration by a young, pretty lady. Before she touched a red hot iron chain, I could see her frightened facial expression (or was she acting?). When her assistant brought the red hot chain to her, she touched it quickly and there was a cry of horror from all of us. Then she showed us the red patch on her palm and stretched her hand to her assistant who applied a white cream on the scorched area on her palm. After that she introduced the cream, Baofuling, to us. She told us that the cream can also be used for treating other skin problems. After introducing many kinds of medicine to us, she happily raised her

Beijing Baoshutang Pharmacertical Co., Quilin City

Beijing Baoshutang Pharmacertical Co., Quilin City

right hand and asked us to look at the palm which had earlier touched the red hot chain. The red patch had surprisingly disappeared. A few tourists who were convinced that the cream was magical bought it.

Dreamlike Lijiang Theatre    In the evening after dinner, we went to a big theatre known as Dreamlike Lijiang Theatre to watch “New Ballet Circus Show”. I was surprised to see many busloads of tourists going there to watch the show. When we were inside the large theatre, we could see that it was fully packed.

Dreamlike Lijiang Theatre, Quilin City

Dreamlike Lijiang Theatre, Quilin City

We were treated to a variety of splendid performances in the theatre. Most of the performers were young. They did ballet, exotic dances, acrobatic acts, rotating saucer dance, some circus acts, silly acts by clowns and many more. The continuous change of coloured lights made the show more colourful and exciting. It was indeed a stunning show.

Night Market along Zhongshan Road   At about 9 p.m. I came out of my hotel and walked alone along Zhongshan Road. I was attracted by a brightly-lit spot down the road. When I reached

Yushan Garden Entrance, Quilin City

Yushan Garden Entrance, Quilin City

there, I saw hundreds of temporary stalls selling intricate embroidery works, Chinese paintings, antiques, ornamental stones, apparels, bamboo, wooden and jade sculptures, jewelleries and many more. There were a few stalls where customers’ portraits could be drawn on the spot and done in 15 minutes by male and female artists.

That night-market was purposely organized to attract tourists from home and abroad. After browsing all the stalls, I walked back to the

Cascading water from a fountain in Yushan Garden, Quilin City

Cascading water from a fountain in Yushan Garden, Quilin City

hotel. On the way, I had an unpleasant encounter. I was stopped a few times by young Chinese men and ladies who told me that they could get me beautiful girls. But I politely declined their offers.

Day 5: Friday 3 June 2005     Quilin City (Last Day) 

During our last day in Quilin City, we visited a few more places there. Among them were as follows:

Yushan Park    After breakfast, we left City Garden Hotel and

A large peacock shaped from a cluster of plants in Yushan Garden

A large peacock shaped from a cluster of plants in Yushan Garden

headed for a beautiful park in Quilin City, Yushan Park. It looks like a Victorian garden with beautiful flowers, a big fountain and cascading water. Besides, it has a huge green peacock shaped from a cluster of plants, and a smaller peacock, a big mushroom and a few elephants all made of thousands of small, colourful medicine-bottles. All these figures are fascinating to look at. A big, old banyan tree which is more than 1,000 years old is still growing at the park.

A colourful peacock made from small medicine bottles in Yushan Garden

A colourful peacock made from small medicine bottles in Yushan Garden

After lunch at 12.30 p.m., we went to visit a famous Chinese painter who works at a Chinese temple-like building . He is very good at calligraphy and Chinese painting. His beautiful works are hung on the walls for sale.

Jingjiang Princes’ City    Then we went to visit a historical place, Jingjiang Princes’ City. It was built in A.D. 1372 during the Ming Dynasty. It was occupied by the princes and their families. Some of

Jingiang Princes' Palace, Yushan Garden

Jingiang Princes

them later became emperors like Emperor Zhao Gou, Emperor Shun and Emperor Tuohuan Tiemuer. 14 Jingjiang princes of 11 generations had lived there. It is the best preserved princes’ city in China even though it had been burned down several times.

Western Hill Park (Xishan Park)    The last visit in Quilin was Western Hill Park (Xishan Park). The park is located near Li Jun Road. 200 Buddha statues dating from the Tang Dynasty can be found on the hill. On a slope of the hill stands a big rock which is in the shape of a

Xishan Lake, Quilin City

Xishan Lake, Quilin City

dragon head. At the foot of the hill, there is a green calm lake, Xishan Lake, which reflects the beautiful surrounding scenery.
By the Xishan Lake, we saw a pretty young lady playing a Chinese classical music on a stringed instrument called ‘guzheng’. We crowded around her and listened with enthusiasm.

Yangshuo    Our next destination was the City of Yangshuo, a small city situated 65 km south of Quilin. It has a population of 300,000. Like Quilin, its unique hills, grotesque caves and winding rivers attract many tourists from home and abroad.

A pretty lady playing "guzheng" by Xishan Lake, Quilin City

A pretty lady playing

When we arrived at Yangshuo in the late afternoon, we checked in at a three-star hotel called Baofeng Hotel.

Day 5: Friday 3 June 2005    Li River Boat Cruise 

Li River Cruise Boat     In the evening, we went to Li River for a boat cruise. We boarded a long, broad double-decker boat at a jetty. To get a panoramic view of the scenery, most us went up to the upper deck of the boat. Soon the boat moved upstream. After moving for a short distance it stopped in the middle of the river. Then a bamboo raft

A breathtaking Li River scenery

A breathtaking Li River scenery

rowed by a man in Chinese trditional clothes and carrying a pretty young damsel in her colourful native dress came and stopped near our boat. Then the lady serenaded a few folk songs to us. Our tour guide courageously serenaded to her for awhile.

Animal Figures    After that, our boat continued cruising upstream. As it moved, we were brought to the attention of unique hills near and far by the boat-commentator. She told us that some hills resembled figures like a dragon’s head, horses, rams, etc.

A pretty folk song singer in Li River

A pretty folk song singer on a raft in Li River

Besides the spectacular scenery of the limestone hills, we saw some activities in the river such as children and adults swimming in the big river, and large, black water-buffaloes bathing in the water. Tourists will be surprised to see toilets built above the water of the river.

Cormorants (Fish Catchers)    When night fell, our boat stopped in the middle of the river. Then we watched a fisherman in his small boat commanding his black birds, cormorants, to catch fish in the river. He directed a brightly lit lamp onto the water. The obedient

A fisherman taking out a fish from a cormorant's beak, Li River

A fisherman taking out a fish from a cormorant’s beak

ones dived into the swift-flowing water. The stubborn ones were gently pushed into the water by the man. When the birds surfaced a few times without any fish, we laughed. Minutes passed. Then one after another surfaced with a big fish inside its beak. The owner happily extended a pole to the birds in the water so that they could easily get onto his boat. Holding a bird at a time, he pulled the fish out of the bird’s beak. All of us on the cruise-boat were very impressed. We cheered and applauded the birds for their amazing skill.

Day 5 : Friday 3 June 2005   West Street (Yangshuo) 

Writer in white T-shirt, his wife and son, and tour-guide in red shirt on a cruise boat

Writer in white T-shirt, his wife and son, and tour-guide in red shirt on a cruise boat

In the evening, we went downtown of Yangshuo and strolled along the famous street, West Street. It is bustling with life with an ambience of a carnival. It is popular among local residents and foreign tourists. Shops along this narrow street sell all kinds of souvenirs, colourful clothes, Chinese paintings, CDs, DVDs, fruits, native handicrafts, foot-wear, snacks, beer, etc. You name it, they have it.

Our Tour Guide’s Warning   We were forewarned by our tour guide to reduce their offered selling prices for goods as much as we can. A

Yangshuo City is surrounded by limestone hills

Yangshuo City is surrounded by limestone hills

smart lady in our tour group managed to reduce the selling price of a Chinese painting from RMB 280 to RMB 100! A big discount of 64 %!

Shops with Foreign Names    Surprisingly, some shops uses foreign names, like Lisa’s Cafe, Hard Rock Cafe and Mickey Mao’s. To keep up to their shops’ names they serve western food and drinks like beef-steak, French fries, apple pies, beer, wines and ice-cream sundaes. One will not feel faraway from home here as there are

A Chinese painting shop in West Street, Yangshuo

A Chinese painting shop in West Street, Yangshuo

shops which provide Internet services. If you have a lot of time on your hand, you may go to a secondhand book shop to rent and read an English, French or other foreign novel. It also buys and sells secondhand books of any languages.

Day 6: Saturday 4 June 2005   Travel to Zhaoqing City 

In the morning, we left Yangshuo for Zhaoqing in Quangdong Province. On the way, it was raining slightly. As we were travelling, we saw more limestone hills near and far. With a little bit of

Paddy fields in between hills along a Zhaoqing road

Paddy fields in between hills along a Zhaoqing road

imagination we could see some hills resembling animals, fruits and human beings. There are paddy fields, vegetable farms and orchards along the way to Zhaoqing. The road to Zhaoqing was wet, bumpy and narrow. We could see an expressway to Zhaoqing City under construction. Besides, we saw rivers swollen with yellow water due to heavy rain and erosion in the interior where deforestation had taken place.

West River (Xi Jiang)    Before reaching Zhaoqing, we were travelling along a road which is parallel to China’s third largest river, West River (Xi Jiang). Small and big boats carrying sand, stones, logs,

Huaqiao Hotel, Zhaoqing City

Hua Qiao Hotel, Zhaoqing City

mineral ores and other heavy goods can be seen moving on the river. They are plying between cities along the large river. Finally, we arrived at Zhaoqing City. We checked in at a five-star hotel, Hua Qiao Hotel, along Tian Ning North Road, a busy street in the centre of the city.

Musical Fountains    After dinner, we walked in the light rain to Star Lake nearby and watched musical fountains dancing to the tunes of loud musics. The colourful lights made the fountains dance more lively. At the same time, there was a concert on a big stage

A musical fountain in Zhaoqing City

A musical fountain in Zhaoqing City

near the musical fountains. The place was so crowded that it was difficult for us to enjoy watching either the musical fountains or the concert. So we left the place and went to browse at the brightly-lit shops along a busy street.

Day 7 : Sunday 5 June 2005    Zhaoqing City Tour 

Justice Bao Memorial Hall    At 8 a.m. we left Hua Qiao Hotel and went to visit Justice Bao Memorial Hall which was built in the style

A statue of Justice Bao in his Memorial Hall

A statue of Justice Bao in his Memorial Hall, Zhaoqing City

of a traditional Chinese temple. In 1056 during the Song Dynasty (960 -1729), the Emperor of China appointed a Mr. Bao to be in charge of administering the Emperor’s regulations in Kai Feng Prefecture. The administrator, Bao Gong (Justice Bao) as he was commonly called, was allowed to use a head-cutter to cut off the heads of criminals before reporting to the Emperor. In other words, he was given the authority to make decisions on the spot.

Head-Cutters    In the hall, there are three models of head-cutters. The dragon head-cutter was used to execute royal members who

Headcutters for executing criminals in Justice Bao Memorial Hall, Zhaoqing City

Headcutters for executing criminals in Justice Bao Memorial Hall, Zhaoqing City

committed crimes, the tiger head-cutter was used to execute corrupt officials and the dog head-cutter was used to execute evil gentry and local tyrants. There are two halls there, each has a big statue of Justice Bao.  The place is considered a holy shrine of Justice Bao. People from near and far go there to worship the famous judge.

Star Lake Boat Cruise    Later, we went to Star Lake to enjoy a boat cruise on the lake which is shaped like a star; hence its name. Located in the suburb of Zhaoging City and made up of two scenic spots, viz. Seven-Star Stone Hills and Dinghu Mountain, this lake is

Star Lake in the foreground and Zhaoqing City in the background

Star Lake in the foreground and Zhaoqing City in the background

a popular place for dragon-boat races. We saw some young people training hard at canoeing for the 2008 Olympic Games which will be held in Beijing.

Day 7: Sunday 5 June 2005   Back to Shenzhen City    

Red Forest Park    After an early lunch at 11 a.m. in Zhaoqing, we travelled back to Shenzhen City. It was cloudy and hazy all the way. On arrival at Shenzhen City, 3 and a half hours later, we went straight to a park, Red Forest Park, by the sea. It is a clean place where shady trees and grass are well kept there. Breeze from the sea

Writer, his wife and son at the Red Forest Park, Shenzhen

Writer, his wife and son at the Red Forest Park, Shenzhen

continuously brings in fresh air to the park. As it was Sunday, many people were strolling and relaxing at the park.

Windows of the World    After a few minutes of refreshing and relaxing walk at the Red Forest Park, we went to a famous theme park, Windows of the World, at Overseas Chinese Town in Shenzhen City. It is a large area where one can see more than 100 miniature replicas including seven wonders of the world, world famous monuments, arches, cathedrals, temples, and many more. Some people say that If one can see all these replicas in one day there, one does not have to travel round the world to see the real ones.

"Oriental Dress" Show

“Oriental Dress” Show at Central Theatre

“Oriental Dress” Show    Having seen some of the replicas at the “Windows of the World” Park, we hurriedly went to Central Theatre to watch a 5 p.m. splendid show called “Oriental Dress”. In the show, the audience was thrilled and excited to see tall, gorgeous Chinese girls showing off colourful, elaborate Chinese national costumes and ancient royal dresses. It was like a fashion show. As poems about romances were expressed the girls appeared on the large stage. The show of five acts was spectacular.

China Folk Culture Villages   After the show, we visited some “villages” at the “China Folk Culture Villages” Park. At this park one

China Folk Culture Village Entrance

China Folk Culture Village Entrance

can visit 24 villages of China’s 22 minority nationalities ( Uygur, Tibetan, Mongolian, Li, Wa, Mosuo, Dong, Miao, Yi, Dai, etc.) where they showcase their folk arts, customs and architectures.

Splendid China    Then we walked to another theme park which is adjacent to the earlier one, “Splendid China”.  At this park we took a tour of  the “whole” of China. As we walked along a path, we saw China’s scenic wonders which are miniature replicas. There are about 82 of them including Nine-Dragon Screen Wall, Wind and Rain Bridge, Ancient Star-Observatory, Shaolin Temple, Three Gorges of the Yangzi River, Tengwang Tower, Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum, Summer Place, and the Great Wall of China.

"Dancing with the Dragon" Show at Phoenix Plaza (Note the fountains in the foreground)

“Dancing with the Dragon” Show at Phoenix Plaza. (Note the fountains in the foreground)

Dancing with the Dragon and the Phoenix    Later, at 7.30 p.m., we went to a large open air theatre, Phoenix Square, to watch another splendid show called “Dancing with the Dragon and the Phoenix” which was about 5,000 years of China’s history. It was performed by over a hundred actors and actresses. The performers brought ancient China to life through Chinese folk dances, opera, wedding custom, wars and colourful lantern shows. It was a surprise to see real animals such as horses, sheep and buffalos participating in the show. When the final curtain of the spectacular show came down, the whole audience stood up and broke into loud applause.

Day 8: Monday 6 June 2005   Travel Back to Malaysia 

On the 8th. day, our tour of South-east China was over and we were preparing to go back to Malaysia.

A ferry carrying passengers from Shekou Terminal, Shenzhen, to Hong Kong Airport

A ferry carrying passengers from Shekou Terminal, Shenzhen, to Hong Kong Airport

After breakfast, we sadly left Shenzhen City for Shekou Port Passenger Ferry Terminal and took a ferry to Hong Kong International Airport on Lantau Island. At 12.20 p.m. we left the airport and flew by a smaller China Airline plane back to Changi International Airport in Singapore. At about 4 p.m. we landed safely. A few hours later we were finally back in our hometown in Malaysia.

Although our tour covers a small part of China it has left an indelible impression on all of us. We hope in the near future to go to another part of China to learn more about the unique and splendid country.

We thank you for reading our travelogue and hope you have found it useful. Happy travelling!


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Written by:  Choo Chaw, Kluang, Johor, Malaysia.