For the last 1.5 years I was planning a motorbike tour to Asia. I looked into a transport option from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur for my BMW Sertao bike. My flight was booked from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur. Early March. If I would be able to do my original plan I would ride my bike after I finished my summer season with Real Journeys to Auckland. At the end I had to change my plan due problems which could not be solved by BMW in New Zealand. Since I have bought the bike I experience problems with stalling. After many service arrangements in Christchurch, Dunedin, and Queenstown I decided not going on the bike on holiday.
I started make last minute changes and booked a flight from Queenstown to Auckland, and continued with my first booked flight to Kuala Lumpur. As soon I passed the customs I looked for a transport option to Kl, there are 2 Taxi operators one of them is a metered Taxi and charge peer Taxi meter; the other one is a fixed price, I juice fixed price option and paid 71 Ringgit to my accommodation. Be aware if your flight leave early in the morning the Taxi charge a surcharge of 50% of regular price between midnight and 6.00 am, the ride from my Hotel to airport cost me 150 Ringgit at the end.
Check in by Air Asia was easy, my flight to Guilin was on time. Guillin experienced a very heavy rainfall over last 2 days, and the humidity was very high. The immigration officer didn’t ask any question about my visit, checked my visas and return ticket that was everything, entering China was very easy. English is not widely spoken in public places. Before I left Malaysia I took a screen shoot of the Hotel name and saved it on my I-phone. It took some negotiation about the fee from Guilin Airport to Rosewood Hotel in Yangshou, Taxi driver want RMB 500 for the transport, what was to much, at the end I paid RMB 400, which seems still very expensive. We used the highway passed many small villages to the right and to the left, all of them where imbedded in between beautiful mountainous landscapes with rice fields and farmland around. Due the heavy rain the highway was covered in water sometimes it seemed like a river, the car was sometimes unstable on the road. After we used the highway the Taxi driver took a side road, which was not sealed, had many potholes and more water on the surface. At this time I have had no idea what direction the taxi was taking, houses got less and less. After 40 more minutes we reached Yangzhou. The rain was still pouring down and I showed the Taxi driver the Hotels address once more, he stopped beside a Hotel which didn’t look like Rosewood Hotel at all, my driver took a second look and rove down the road to an other Hotel which didn’t look Rosewood again, he “called” the Hotel and reversed the Taxi, than stopped in the same road, hotel here, took my bag out of the boot of the taxi and the taxi dissapierd. I was happy that I reached the hotel. As I checked in, no one spoke English oops I thought something is wrong. However we called the Hotel I have booked, the direction I had to take was very easy go to the petrol station opposite the hotel and turn right go to the next round about and turn left, by the bridge turn right again. I started walking in the warm summer rain up the road, kept walking and walking, endless long roads, in the pouring rain. Last time I have been soaked that much it was in Milford Sound the only difference this time was that I have been asked every few meter if I need an umbrella, if I would have one it wouldn’t make a difference, by now, because I have been drenched already. But I couldn’t find the 2nd bridge, where I have turn right, as wet I was I went into a Hotel I passed and asked the receptionist, usually in every Hotel, Bank or Post office is one person who is speaking English, not to worry if you get lost, we called my Hotel once more, one of the office staff had to walk from Rosewood Hotel to the Hotel I was stranded, to pick me up. I couldn’t believe I have been so close to Rosewood Hotel already; it took us only 3 minutes walking.
I received a very warm welcome in the Hotel, with one glass of warm water and a towel. The Hotel is on the main street, at night time all social live is around, bars restaurant KTV are just beside, West Street is absolute boozing full of party hungry people, party time is until early morning. In many bars is live music, and karaoke. In the early morning hours is not much happen, break fast is taken in one of the restaurants, it doesn’t take long until first Tour Guides get in contact and dry to sell tours on a Tuk Tuk, motorbike, or bicycle. Few of guides where approaching me, at the end I booked a motorbike tour with Peter a local from Yangshuo. Following morning he picked me up in the Hotel, after a short walk we picked up our motorbikes. And left City and went into the country side, we passed many rice fields and went further down to the Li River, stopped by one of the old villages, after a short break we took off, the further we went the better it got, one other highlight was to stop at a melon plantation, one of the farmer came along with fresh harvested melons, without pealing skin off I took a big bite into the melon, the sweetness was awesome, even today I can remember the taste of it. Thanks my guide we took many beaten tracks through the farmland, many rice fields, and more plantations. Out of nowhere came a big black snake moving over the path. Now we where in snake territory!!! We continued out tour and had one more stop by moon rock. The whole tour took us at the end 6h. But 6 hours is not enough time to see all the fascinating country, I found out that would be a nice place to stay for a while, my time was limited this time. After I went back to my accommodation I got changed and get ready for nightlife, nightlife does not disappoint at all in Yangshuo. In general it is not easy to find a chines cooking class Omeida Academy offers different classes in cooking, I booked a 3 day intense cooking class. Classroom where located in an old farm house in the country side around 15 mins drive out of Yangshuo.
This time I took the public bus from Yangshuo to Guilin International Airport, to get my flight to Kunming in Yunnan Province. My taxi was waiting already in Kunming it took me 1.5h to get to my accommodation. I found a very cozy Hostel with very good references on Trip Advisor. It is called Lost Garden Guesthouse all staff is fluent in English and dressed in traditional costumes. The check in, was very relaxed and took its time. The rooms are very comfortable, and very quiet at nighttime. To my surprise the menu is very European, fancy salads, different kind of Pizzas, and pasta was on offer, at first I was suspicious about the food option, but I Joyce to eat in today and ordered a vegetarian pizza, pizza dough was home made a perfect cooked tomato sauce and a topping which best ingredients. There was no difference to an Italian Restaurant in Italy from taste flavor and presentation; the only difference to Europe was that no European chef was in the kitchen. I rate the food the most authentic Italian food outside Italy. Yuantong Temple is a 10 mins walk away from the Guesthouse and dated back more than 1200 years grandest and most important Buddhist Temple in Yunnan province, the temple closes at 5.00 pm. Next street down to the Temple is Kunming Zoo located. Dynamic Yunnan is an international awarded winning musical. Bird and flower market is on old street and is open until late, very good for souvenirs to buy.
Kunming is nearly 2000m above sea level, in summer month temperatures are moderate, not to hot.
After I visited Kunming for a week, there was still a week left before my departure back to Kuala Lumpur. For the whole holiday I have had a gut feeling that I need go back to Haikou for a visit, and to catch up with my friends. Usually air tickets are very expensive from any airport in China to Haikou. The only day I was able to fly to Haikou and back to Kunming was on sale, 70% off the regular price. I finalized my booking. One day before departure I received a message from my friend that Hainan got hit by a typhoon and the airport was closed for the whole day. My thought, went crazy, not again a cancelation of my flight, because I canceled my visit already for 2 times. The day my flight was booked I took a taxi to the Airport, at first there was a delay on the departure board. After some time passed by the delay changed to go to boarding gate.
I booked the same Hotel where I did stay 2 years ago. Nothing has changed, at Sheraton Haikou Resort Check in was fast, my room had sea view this time. A very welcoming place is always the sea breeze bar.
Haikou is one of the most beautiful city’s of china, with a no air pollution; its living cost is even very affordable.