Guilin is not only known for their beautiful landscapes; it has also a rich ethnic cultures with 28 ethnic groups such as Zhuang, Dong, Miao, and Yao People. You’ll get to experience how to sing their folk songs, throwing of embroidered ball, and for some-even getting married.

Folk songs 山歌are simple and plain in rhythm, particularly popular in countryside where female and male sings to express their interest for each other. These are instant creation, and singing could be anywhere anytime i.e. gathering firewood, working in the field etc. The rhythm can get pretty repetitive and it does stick in my head for the rest of the day.

We went to one Yao Village 3 hours of drive away from the city centre for some cultural experiences.

Time to warm ourselves on such chilly day

We were served some oil tea that symbolize "friendship", chopsticks are passed around and if you take a pair of chopsticks instead of single stick, it means that you wish to stay with the yao family.

Yao people are distinctive by their colourful national dresses and often the women have extremely long hair coiled up on top of their head. The way they tied their hair also signifies their status, if they have a bun sticking out of their headpiece, it means that the women are married. Non-married women hide their buns inside the cloth. We were told that women uses rice stock ash and fermented washing rice water as their “special shampoo” to keep their hair smooth and black.

Yao Woman showing off her long hair. You many attempt to try their "special" shampoo at home but bewarn of the smell =P

We just married off two of our handsome men to the yao women =) Them performing the marriage ritual.

In our Malaysia culture often woman is to be married into the men’s family, however in the case of YAO’s Culture, it is the other way around. Men will be brought into the village upon marriage.

Arent those babies adorable? Aww.. :)

For lunch we went to experience the long feast table, and possibly one of the best meals we’ve had on the trip, not because it was anything special, but hotpot in this weather is the best, especially when the vegetables were so fresh and sweet. If there's anything you should eat in Guilin, it's their fruits and veges. It's absolutely delicious

River Fish, nicely deepfried and addictive

Ahhh! the lovely pot of Belly pork braised with potatoes, simple pleasures but so delicious we've order 2 extra portions.

Fighting cock was hilarious. Traditionally they will have a blade tied to their leg as opponent tries to slash each other.

nice picture captured of my sis catching the embroidered balls
Yulong River is a beautiful river by the countryside of Yang Shuo. “It winds its way in a picturesque valley sided by stunning limestone hills” If you love photography, this is another to-go spot. Bamboo Rafting is the excellent way to relax as you take in the amazing view of the Yu Long River. The drift is very slow as you follow gently down the course of river while sipping some warm tea, and intake fresh fragrance of the paddy field.

Dad Tried to maneuver the bamboo raft, it takes extreme effort, not as easy as it seems especially during the low tide season.

You will get to witness the Traditional Cormorant Fishing, which was purposely set up to “show” us tourist. However, traditional practices still remain for some fishermen more for leisure, although less common since fishing was replaced with modern methods,. After given signal by the fishermen, the well train cormorants will dive into the water to search for fish. Once they caught the fish, they will submerge and show it to the fishermen. A band is fastened around the bird’s neck so that the fish cannot be swallowed. A well trained Cormorant can worth thousands.

Women washing her clothes by the riverside

Off off , here we go!

Lastly, me and my water chestnut. *teehee*

Part 3(final): Food + Shopping in Guilin

In Guilin China, there is a popular saying “Guilin Shan Shui Jia Tian Xia” 桂林山水假天下 which means that Guilin’s mountain and water scenery is the best under heaven. That is indeed true, the air is fresh and earthy, and water clear and beautiful. It was good to get away from work, stress, pollution over the holidays to enjoy this picturesque scenery that money cannot buy.  We were told that residents of Guilin generally live a longer life in the world.
This is one of those holidays which involve plenty of sightseeing, and walking. It may once be boring to me with thoughts of lack of food travels and shopping, however at a point of my life, I came to enjoy and appreciate these nature wonders. (am i getting old, am i am i?) We were there for 6 days touring around Gui Lin and another popular tourist spot call “Yang Shuo” In my opinion, 6 days is a way too long to explore these areas, ended up our travel schedule was a very relaxing one with plenty of free and easy time to ourselves. My say is 4-5 days is more than enough otherwise it’ll get draggy with them bringing you to unnecessary places.
Most popular tourist destination of Guilin includes the tranquil Li River, for it was listed as one of the World’s top ten Watery wonders by National Geographic Magazine. With landscape decorated with caves, hills, farming villages and water so serene that it creates a perfect reflection much like an artist masterpiece. Enough said, pictures should tell a thousand words
"take a deep breath, you'll feel your worries of life lessen by the dozen" =)

The weather was perfect, starting of winter season varies from 5-10 degrees Celsius on average. It was a low tide season, so you’ll see many rivers being unable to access due to lack of water, as a result our river cruise were cut short. God must have been with us during the trip as there were no rains until the day we left Guilin.

My little devils, too cute!!

Just look at those reflections, picture of wonders, no?

Generally, people are Guilin lives a very simple life. They depend greatly on Tourists, and in fact there are so many tour guide that a stone throw on the street, very possibly you might just hit one. They work very relaxing hours with travel agencies opens at 11pm and end work at 4-5pm. That being said, it was mentioned that these tour guides are very professional and well-trained and we were very happy with ours. P/s they practically earn peanuts, i.e. only commissions and no basic! L That's why you'll find tours bringing you to many "tourist" shopping spots- the boys got a bit annoyed but maybe it's the mentally of "must shopping and spend foreign money" because at the end of day, the women still came back with full loads of unnecessary things. *hehe*
Shopping places in the city closes pretty late, very similar to our Malaysia stores on average 11pm. So plenty of times to shop around though you might not want to since there are not many brands in sight, however their winter jackets are definitely worth a buy.
The duration of our trip, we've only shifted to two hotels (thank goodness), In Guilin we stayed in one of the best hotels in the area called the Lijiang Waterfall Hotel, strategically located and very closeby to major local attractions, behind the hotel is a pedestrian walk which includes some bars and restaurants, and shops. It is also where we spent out x'mas eve "countdown" (more about this later). The hotel shows an impressive artificial waterfall everyday at 8pm which was listed in the Guiness Book record for being one of the biggest of 45M heights.
At night, we headed to watch Impression Sanjie Liu, which is the most famous outdoor night show in YangShuo. Directed by Yimou Zhuong which was the one whom directed the 2008 Olympic opening ceremony. We were lucky to catch the last show of the winter season, as the actors are required to rest as the weather get too unbearably cold. 600 over actors are involved in creating this successful show on a natural stage formed by the Li River and mountain backdrops. (Including real fishermen part-timers) Everything was done on the Li River waters, I was very impress on the creativity and the explosive effect created by so many people.
Everything from lighting and sounds effect were amazing. And to reflect on those natural hills were a magnificient scene. I can sit here for hours just watching nature beauty.
Actual Minority Ethnic group which was recruited from their village came to perform

real fishermen by day and part-time fishermen performer by night. They earn about 20 yuan per show.

It was lucky we've got a pretty good seating right in the middle and not far from the front, =)

And the number just gets bigger

Finally here comes Liu San Jie and her Lover

Part 2: Our adventure with Bamboo Rafting, Culture experiences such as learning Folk Songs, keep tuned

Hello hello!! I know we're a little fashionably late, but Augustdiners wishes our readers the best of YEAR 2012! May you be blessed with great success, happiness, and good health!
Thank you for your support for the past years, although we haven't exactly been too active in food blogging of late. However, nothing too late for a new year resolution right? That is.. we vow to blog more often this year *fingers crossed*

Whilst i dont entirely call Augustdiners a very good food blogger (there i admit it!), in fact we admire those passionate bloggers whom writes marvelously, frequently and take such beautiful pictures, and often we hope to do the same, somehow, but we never quite meet the mark, our writing is very elaborated, long-essay writings that people tend to scroll for only the pictures (admit it readers!), our pictures is never the most appealing, thanks to my non-reliable old lumix camera (yes... always blame the camera and not the skills) =P
But given all those flaws in us, we are very happy to receive the tiniest comments, encouragements, and feedbacks... once in a bluer moon, i get people who tells me they read my blog, or their friends of friends of friends read our blog, we felt the tiny bit of satisfaction, so i could only imagine how those famous food bloggers out there must have felt with all those recognition.

And it's not always all good. We are known to give the downright honest feedback on places, if the place sucks, i waste no hesitation to said otherwise. Sometimes, we did get negative feedbacks from readers (thank god not often) whom always seem to have a common name call "Anonymous", we embrace all comments with an open heart. We have big heart like that. hehe!..

OK i lied. I didnt exactly have an open heart, more like staring at the comments on screen for a good seconds and thinking all sorts of good comeback that i could have written to rebut them.
But at the end, i always relent and ignore them. Because i figure silence is the best medicine and females are really good that doing that. =)

So, year 2011 we've only manage to achieve 50 over posts, some i'm even shy to call it a post hehe! It just wasnt as exciting adventure as the previous year, and we've encounter many restaurants which we did not end up writing because it wasnt remotely good.

What's in store for Augustdiners in 2012? Crazieapple has just started working and is back in Malaysia for good, she did explore many restaurant frequently due to her change of "status" however she is uberly lazy to write about it at most times, so lets see whether i can change her mind on that.
As for myself, i'm looking forward to a brand new year of writing and exploring. I hope to expand my knowledge on all food types, i hope to probably change a new blog layout (r u sick of ours already?), and we really need to expand our photo storage, currently we've already burst it!
I also wish to travel more this year to explore food-of-the-world, lastly also to improve my culinary skills (or the lackof it) =P We'll definitely be doing more Augustdiners Breakfast Club because if there's anything im excessively passionate about, its breakfast, eggs, and coffee- so keep tuned.

Once again, thank you for reading our blog!!! We love y'all to bits!


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