Gui Lin (Chinese: 桂林; pinyin: Guìlín;) is a prefecture-level city in China, situated in the northeast of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on the west bank of the Li River. Its name means “forest of Sweet Osmanthus”, owing to the large number of fragrant Sweet Osmanthus trees located in the city. The city has long been renowned for its unique scenery.
My father and his girlfriend’s family visited Gui Lin about a month ago.
Although the scenery was exceptional like you’d expect but his experience was far from it. Gui Lin is a cyclone for tourist traps. He shared some of his bad experience and they were so jaw dropping, I have to blog about them.
There is no meter on any of the taxi in that city. You bargain the price prior to your ride with the taxi driver and then s/he takes you to your destination. See a problem with this particular arrangement or lack of governmental enforcement of honesty? Well, he’s experienced it.
On the way back from a previous trip, my father inquired the average cab fare from his hotel to the dock for his next day’s cruise. The driver indicated around 60 rmb. The next morning, a different taxi driver wanted 80 rmb for the ride. My father did not give in since he thought the fare should be 60 rmb. The taxi driver instead of not agreeing to the ride, took the 60 rmb and dropped them off at a different dock than their actual desired destination. It took them a while to figure out they were at the WRONG dock since they were unfamiliar with the area. They were late for their cruise and had to spend additional fare in order to travel to the correct dock.
The Bamboo Raft Ride
A bamboo raft takes you down the stream of the river slowly by its current. My father had arranged a taxi to pick them up at the end of the trip. Although the price of the ride was advertised to include food, they provided inedible dishes on the raft so they could market other dishes for extra cost. There were various vendors who stationed at different locations down the stream. Some claimed the fish dishes were prepared with fish freshly caught in the river earlier in the morning. They charged a lot for them. My father and his girlfriend’s family did not purchase any. They were later dropped off at a dock in which they thought was the end of the trip. However, after a half hour wait for the taxi, my father called the taxi driver he paid for. The taxi driver informed my dad that he was dropped at the wrong location. The raft people dropped them off way prior to the end of the trip. My father was once more duped for exercising his right of not purchasing overpriced marketed tourist goods.
Gui Lin has been on my list of must visit places for a long time. Based on my dad’s accounts, I think I’m going to wait a little longer for that wish.
One thought on “My father’s Gui Lin experience”
Different place in the world, different language, same problem. Knowing what I know now, I think the best thing for any tourist to do is to simply educate themselves. They more you know the less likely you are to get screwed. Good post Ying!