Back in Sanjiang we arrived at the bus station in late morning. Sanjiang had two bus stations with a river and a bridge in between them. It took us quite a bit of work to realize that the bridge was closed for construction and we had to head down to the banks to take the pedestrian floating bridge across.
We got to the east bus station just as rain started bucketing down and got our tickets for the bus to Guilin departing just under an hour later. Guilin (and nearby Yangshuo) are known for the karst landscapes of towering limestone buttes and spires that rise up out of the plains surrounding them.
Most of China doesn’t have a well established “backpacker trail” the way that mainland southeast Asia and, say Turkey do. There’s usually not a clear route for visitors to follow, and rarely do you have the experience of meeting the same people over and over in backpacker hostels the way you do in some other places. The exception to this is in the country’s southwest, where foreign budget travellers have been visiting many of the same well tested places for two decades or more. And of course an industry has built up to service them. With the rise of domestic tourism in China it’s probably not as pronounced as it once was, but arriving in Guilin we were truly stepping on to the southwest China backpacker trail.
The landscape in the countryside around the town of Yangshuo