Zhengyang Pedestrian Mall -- Shopping
Guilin, Guangxi China
According to the locally produced brochure, the Zhengyang Pedestrian Mall is "666 meters long...surrounded by restaurants, hotels, theaters, commercial facilities and scenic spots which make it incomparable in positional superiority."
I didn't bring a tape measure, so I'll take their word on the strange choice of length. All the promised diversions were present, including several restaurants serving a variety of local dishes (horse meat seems to be popular, if the number of restaurants serving it in the area is anything to go by). Except for a few hole in the wall places on the street (one which serves stinky tofu, which anyone who's spent any time in Taiwan will appreciate), Most of the restaurants on the strip seemed overpriced. The best bet for eats on Zhengyang Street seems to be stick food - chicken on a stick for your main course, and some excellent candied fruit-k-bobs for desert. Pay no more than 2-3 RMB for the latter - one of the fruit stick guys tried to stick me for twice that, and began shuffling nervously when he discovered I spoke Chinese.
The south end of the street seems to contain more high-brow cultural diversions, such as "The Gallery of Guilin Chinese Painting Academy," an artist-run cooperative, and various stalls and stores specializing in minority crafts.
On the north end of the street sits a small stall that sells excellent local bee-pollen and honey. Also of note to adventure travelers is the red plastic mechanical bull South of the plaza clock, across from the Ming Cheng Hotel. Rides on this contraption cost 10 RMB, last as long as you can stand it, and the operator will let you wear one of several complimentary hats for the duration.
To get to Zhengyang Pedestrian Mall, head north from the train station up Zhongshan road about 2 KM and head east across Center Square.
Published on 1/11/03