Guilin China a few hours from Nanning

Guilin ( the forest of sweet Osmanthus) is a rather special place. Its scenery referred to by many Chinese as the "finest under heaven", or directly from Chinese: "the mountains and rivers in Guilin are the number one under the heaven." The spectacular scenery will not disappoint.

I was there in 2006 and overall, I am glad I made the trip from Nanning, although it was a hot day and the train was crowded as usual.

In my opinion the downside of Guilin is the fact that now it is very well known and a magnet for many foreign visitors either for the day or to stay on in some cases for months, mainly students, probably on there gap year from university.

With this influx of potential wealth the local Chinese are quick to seize the various "opportunities".

It is now common for the main street to be full of touts, mainly women, offering everything from Hotel accommodation, restaurants to dodgy DVD's, you know the sort of thing.

I must admit I fell pray to one of these ladies offering us a Hotel room, foolishly I had not researched the likelihood of us not finding one on our own, it was a very busy time and most were full and those that were not knew exactly what a room was worth with so many westerners around. I even got my then Fiancee to do the honours and go in on her own to book to get the "Chinese" price, but that did not work either.
So finally we had to give in and use a "tout".

The room was not particularly bad except for the few small crawling creatures in and on the bed (ants I think) and usual...honestly.
But whenever I find myself in these 'not in my control' situations I always fear the worst, so I spent time looking around for hidden cameras as I did not want us to appear on some dodgy website offering 'Westerners go Bonkers in Guilin'...only joking, I am just a little paranoid.

Tips...I repeat, overall it was all very pleasant but if you plan a trip to Guilin, be prepared for the westerners and do your research.

Pictures below courtesy of Alexander Lee.

China- Guilin -No.1 landscape

Nanning China Visa Information

I thought it was about time I talked about the visa situation if you are wanting to visit Nanning China.

A Brief Introduction to Chinese be continued

The Chinese visa authorities may issue a Diplomatic, Courtesy, Service or Ordinary Visa to a foreigner according to his/her identity, purpose of visit to China and passport type. The Ordinary Visa consists of eight sub-categories, which are respectively marked with Chinese phonetic letters L, F, X, Z, G, C, J, and D.

1. L Visa: Issued to an applicant who comes to China for tourist purposes, family visiting or other personal affairs.

2. F Visa: Issued to an applicant who is invited to China for conference, research, lecture, business, scientific-technological and cultural exchanges or short-term studies or intern practice for a period of no more than six months.

3. X Visa: Issued to an applicant who comes to China for the purpose of studying or intern practice for more than six months. 4. Z Visa: Issued to an applicant who is to take up a post or employment in China, and his/her accompanying family members, and who is to conduct commercial performance in China.

5. G Visa: Issued to those who transit through China.

6. C Visa: Issued to crew members on international aviation, navigation and land transportation missions and family members accompanying them.

7. J Visa: Issued to foreign journalists. J Visa is subdivided into J-1 Visa and J-2 Visa. J-1 Visa is issued to a foreign resident correspondent in China. J-2 Visa is issued to a foreign correspondent on temporary short term news report mission in China.

8. D Visa: Issued to applicant who is to reside permanently in China.

Information on Visa to Hong Kong S.A.R. and Macao S.A.R.:
British citizens may visit Hong Kong for up to180 days without a visa, but visa is required for those to work, study, establish or join in any business or to take up residence. For visa requirements for foreign citizens, please visit the Hong Kong Immigration Department web site: