From Ping’An, we zipped to Guilin by bus. From there we continued by plane to Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan. Airline tickets bought online are indeed often so discounted that they are cheaper than a soft sleeper on the train!
After several days in rural China, we actually enjoyed the center of Guilin, the pedestrian area with chic shops, great restaurants, a romantic river walk and only a mild version of touting. The Backstreet Youth Hostel turned out to be a fantastic choice, with a perfect location, nice and cheap rooms and a comfy common area with WiFi. It was a lot cheaper than a midrange hotel we checked out, but offered so much more. Rosemary Café around the corner from our hostel offered a very tasty change in our diet: we were just absolutely happy.
The early flight to Chengdu was unspectacular, except that we saw a blue sky for the first time since we left New Zealand. Here in Chengdu, we made Sim’s Cozy Garden Hostel is our new home. It has only moved to this new location a few months ago and could not offer a more comfortable environment and friendlier service.
Two inner courtyards with lots of greenery are an oasis of tranquility in a town of 4 million. The tasty inexpensive food can be enjoyed on a quiet outdoor terrace and the rooms are quiet, super clean and very efficiently organized. Travel desk, WiFi, TV with DVD-player in the room and all other usual amenities complete this traveler’s paradise.