Guilin was the third stop, by far the most rural and exotic of the trek.
Without a doubt, this was the most memorable leg of our trek through China. After meeting our feisty tour guide, Ling, at the airport, we prepared for the intense journey ahead by celebrating capitalism at its best: dinner at a Pizza Hut in rural China.
We started our tour of Guilin with a booze cruise down the Li River. The sights were spectacular. As we lazily made our way through fog-laden hills of lush greenery, we decided to try the local brew: snake wine. That’s right: a bottle, full of dead snakes and some unknown fermented libation simply known as snake wine. We bought several rounds from the bar and then got our very own bottle. It wasn’t exactly the tastiest drink I have ever had, but with the help of some French tourists, we managed to finish it off.
After the cruise and a few hours spelunking through watery caves, we made our way to the hot springs of Longsheng. That bus ride almost made history: 20 minutes from our destination, our bus slid off the muddy mountain road. Luckily, we didn’t tumble down the ravine and got the bus back on the road. To overcome the trauma, we feasted at Longsheng and partied at the hot springs, HBS-style.
After our near death experience (and a brief run-in with some rowdy Chinese businessmen), we saw some beautiful rice paddy terraces in the mountains surrounding Guilin and made our way back to the airport. Our time in Guilin ended as quickly as it began, but was chock-full of beauty, peril, and plenty of fun.
Patrick Wetherille was born in Minnesota but has lived in Philadelphia, London, and Washington, DC. He is interested in international entrepreneurship and finance. This was his first trip to China, but certainly won’t be his last.