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GaoliGongshan Travel Tips

1. Bring a copy MacKinnons Birds of China - in Chinese ! If you don't live in China then get someone to buy a copy for you because your local Bird Guides won't speak English and the book is worth it's weight in gold. Robson's is also indispensible for this area (but without range maps it is very tiresome to go through each species and guess from the explanations if this area is covered) however I found species missing from, or at least discrepancies in, both books and if you can manage the weight (and cost) or get pdf versions then both used in conjunction is best. If you have to buy only one then let it be Robson's.

2. Pretty much any beer in China is good (so says someone who is as far from a beer connoisseur as you can get) ! Beer at Mr. Hou's is 3rmb per 610ml bottle of Dali Beer. 

3. Please note that 'Hide Etiquette' is somewhat different than some people may be used to in those in more 'Bird & Birding Aware' countries. Mobile phones ringing, loud conversations on said phones, smoking, loud conversation in general, rubbish discarded on the floor, and my favourite, listening to music on their mobile phones whilst waiting ! That said the birds seen from the hides are still generally excellent to amazing. 

4. I found the guides to be excellent but please don't expect them to know every call and even every bird. They are self-educated via experience and inter-action with guests. 

5. Don't expect everything to be perfect or run as professionally as you may want or as you may be used to, go with the flow and don't stress it. However please do note that this business is very important to the village and may prevent more dubious practices leading to damage to both the mountain and the bird population. My guide has 2 brothers and 3 sisters and all are involved in the business in one way or another (e.g. working in the kitchen at the inn, the brothers all run Hides etc.) ! 

6. Leave at least 2 hours between connecting flights !

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