‘East or west, Guilin landscape is the best!’ Located in the northeast of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in South China, this city is considered to be the pearl of China’s thriving tourist industry on account of the natural beauty and historic treasures. The strangely shaped hills or karsts, with the verdant vegetation ranging from bamboos to conifers together with crystal clear waters and wonderful caves make this such an appealing destination……….tempting and inciting enough for a bewildering vacation…….as you read on about it’s attractions!!!!!
The Reed Flute Cave is a landmark and tourist attraction with a natural limestone cave and multicolored lighting. It is over a hundred and eighty million years old. The cave got its name from the type of reed growing outside, which can be made into melodious flutes. The Reed Flute Cave is filled with a large number of stalactites, stalagmites and rock formations in weird and wonderful shapes.
When you visit the Seven-Star Cave……. an extensive limestone cave complex in the Seven-Star Park…….you would find it hard to believe your eye! The park and cave’s name derive from the fact that the main karst limestone peaks roughly resemble the stars of the Big Dipper constellation. Artificial lighting for walkways and displays is staged throughout, including colored accents, and various formations have names such as “A Natural Fresco” and “The Chessboard”. The cave has scheduled tours about once an hour, conducted in Mandarin Chinese, usually with a megaphone, irrespective of group size, explaining in detail the origins of various formation names, such as a dragon eating a bear, or a bear catching a tiger.
The Elephant Trunk Hill is the proud symbol of the city of Guilin. It got its name because it looks like an elephant drinking water. The round opening that would be under the elephant’s trunk is known as Water-Moon Cave because at night the reflection of the moon can be seen through the arch and it looks like as if it is under the water and floating on the surface of the water at the same time. A few minutes down from the Elephant Hill on the west bank is a small hill topped with a pagoda. The hexagonal pagoda is called Longevity Buddha Pagoda or Shoufo Ta dating from the Ming Dynasty. It is said that the second floor has stone Buddha figurines on display and the hill is compassed in Chuanshan Park. In autumn, illuminated with red maples, the site is very charming.
The Moon Hill has a natural arch through it and is located a few kilometers outside Yangshuo. It is so named for a wide, semicircular hole through the hill……all that remains of what was once a limestone cave formed in the phreatic zone. Like most formations in the region, it is a karst and also a popular tourist attraction. Souvenirs and refreshment vendors often follow climbers up and down the path and this Hill has several rock climbing routes but is also used for abseils in several adventure races. It offers some broad, panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, which is characterized by the knobby karst hills found throughout the region.
Do not miss the Longji or Dragon’s Backbone Terraced Rice Fields…… which received their name because the rice terraces resemble a dragon’s scales, while the summit of the mountain range looks like the backbone of the dragon. Visitors standing on the top of the mountain can see the dragon’s backbone twisting off into the distance. In the early morning, when the weather is fine, the sunrise on the summit of Longji Rice Terraces is magnificent. They are often considered most beautiful in early June. At this time, water is pumped over the rice paddies and young plants are transferred to the main terraces.
Another fantastic destination is the Crown Cave or Guanyan…. a crown-like crag that earns the hill it’s name. What makes the hill a worthy stop for both river cruise tourists and those arriving by bus tour is it’s twelve kilometer long water-eroded cave. It is a wonderland of various stalactite, stone pillars and rock formations in the cave. Illuminating lights, sound control tour guide system and escalators are equipped in the scenic area and sightseeing cars and boats enable visitors to tour inside the cave. It is estimated to become an important excursion site along the Li River including cave visiting, country sightseeing and ethnic minority exploration. You can stay in the hotels and villas in the scenic area.
Not very far from the Crown Cave on the western bank, a huge rock descends into the river and cuts off a footpath by the water edge. The villagers have to take a ferry to reach the other side and continue the way. So, this spot gets its name Half-Side Ferry or Ban Bian Du……worth a visit!!!!
Downstream from Yangdi to Xingping, take a cruise and discover that the river passes an endless procession of distinct peaks and bamboo groves and the stunning landscape. This part is the highlight of the ride. Pinnacled peaks pop up and surprise you at each bend of the river. Water buffalos patrol on the fields…. ducks paddle in the waters… peasants reap paddies in front of village houses….. fishermen use the cormorants to catch the fish and return them to the boat and kids go home singing songs. All these create an idyllic and beautiful scene of the life removed far away from concrete cities……..inviting isn’t it??
A reputed attraction is Mural Hill, a hundred-meter-high cliff face, which has been weathered and has stratified rock surface in various shades of colours. It is rumoured that the colours present nine horses and a person who can identify them out is considered smart. Legendary stories are given to hill rocks and peaks and it is a delightful experience to appreciate the stunning landscape while listening to your tour guide’s interpretation of the stories behind it.
As a centre for tourism, Guilin boasts of magnificent natural beauty and many precious cultural relics. The colorful ethnic background lends a touch of mystery that enhances it’s fame. Why delay …..come and enjoy this huge natural theme park.