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GUILIN

 

Located in the northeast of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guilin is considered to be the pearl of China’s thriving tourist industry on account of the natural beauty and historic treasures.

 

Covering an area of about 27,800 square kilometres (10,734 square miles), the city is rather compact when compared with other leading cities in the country. However, situated within this area one may find green mountains, crystal clear waters, unique caves and beautiful stones. Major attractions include Elephant Trunk Hill, Li River, Reed Flute Cave and Seven-Star Park that boasts a Stone Museum where amazing geological finds are displayed.

 

Guilin is one of China's best known cities, famed for its beautiful landscape of Limestone Mountains, clear waters, caves and rocks. Standing lofty and firm, the hills in Guilin have risen up from ground, straight and high. It is enchanting to take a boat cruise on the river passing picturesque scenery punctuated with bizarrely - shaped pinnacles, sprays of bamboo lining up the riverbanks, fishers with their cormorants and buffaloes bathing in the sun. At the end of the cruise on Li River, the small city of Yangshuo is bustling of commercial activity, just to fall back to its sleepy pace after the ships have gone. One can then stay behind en appreciates the beauty of the landscape all around. Believe that each of these places and many other attractions will leave you with lasting memories.

 

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GUILIN – ATTRACTIONS

 

Li River 

Li River, one of China's most famous scenic areas, was listed as one of the world’s top ten watery wonders by America National Geographic Magazine. Originating in Moaner Mountain in Xin'an county northeast of Guilin, the Li River winds its way southeast for about 437 km, passing through Guilin, Yangshuo, Pingle, Zhaoping and finally meets Xi River in Wulin. It boasts the largest and most beautiful scenic area in China and attracts thousands of visitors each year.

 

The 83-km-long waterway from Guilin to Yangshuo is like an artists’ masterpiece. The landscape is decorated with rolling hills, steep cliffs, fantastic caves, leisurely boats and is lined with bamboo. A poem says: "The River is a green silk ribbon, and the hills are jade hair-pins". Cruising on Li River is always a pleased thing. You can breathe the fresh air, feel gentle breeze and appreciate the fabulous landscape on both sides of Li River. In spring, tourists may stand on the front of a boat and let the mizzle falls onto their faces. It is really a wonderful experience.

 

"I have visited more than 80 countries and over a hundred cities. I have found that no city can surpass the beauty of Guilin. Guilin is really a bright pearl in China." said the former US president Nixon. Besides, former US president Clinton and George Bush, Comrade Deng Xiaoping and former Chinese president Jiang Zemin ever cruised on Li River.

 

Mostly the cruise starts from Zhujiang Wharf. It is about 40 minutes drive from Guilin city. And then 4 to 5 hours cruise will take you to a beautiful and sedate ancient city - Yangshuo.

 

Reed Flute Cave

Reed Flute Cave known as "the Palace of Natural Arts” is located in the northwest of Guilin City, 5 kilometers away from the center of the city. It is a cave on the southern shoulder of the Guangming Hill (Bright Hill) and is one of the most extraordinary scenic spots in Guilin.

 

According to a legend, Reed Flute Cave got its name because people believed that the reed by the cave's mouth could be made into flutes. The length of the Reed Flute Cave is 240 meters and offers a majestic fairyland of karst caves with landscape and rural scenery. It is a magic fairyland of stalactites, stalagmites, stone pillars, stone curtains, birds, plants and animals in fantastic shapes and colors, all glistening in colorful lights. Some of them were given names such as Pines in the Snow, Mushroom Hill, Dragon Pagoda, Sky-Scraping Twin, Virgin Forests, Red Curtain, etc. These remarkable scenes in the cave can evoke breathless admiration from domestic and foreign visitors. The cave is highly praised as the ' Huge Art Palace of the Nature'. Tourists began to visit here in the Tang Dynasty. There are 77 stone inscriptions covering many years of history. One grotto, which called the Crystal Palace of the Dragon King, can hold about 1000 people. During the war, the grotto served as an air-raid shelter. The highlight in this cave is a great slab of white rock hanging from a ledge like a cataract, with a human-shaped stalactite on the opposite side. It is said that a visiting scholar tried to write a poem depicting the beauty of the cave. It took him so long to find the right words that he finally turned to stone.

 

The cave was opened to public in 1962. Famed as the Palace of Natural Art, the cave is now equipped with artificial lighting system to emphasize visual effect.

 

Seven Star Park 

Seven Star Park (Qi Xing Gongyuan), is located on the eastern side of the Li River, 1 kilometer from the city center. Deriving its name from a cave called Seven-Star Cave. Seven-Star Park covers an area of 40 hectares. Being the largest comprehensive and most beautiful park in Guilin, it features fantastic hills, rivers, caves and rocks. Located in the center, Seven-Star Hill consists of Putuo Hill with four peaks and Crescent Hill with three peaks. The southern entrance straddles the ancient Floral Bridge. Dragon Retreat Cave near the southern gate houses great numbers of stone tablets.

 

This delightful park that has been landscaped to encompass hills and natural waterways is a great favorite with the local people and tourists alike. At the end of Jiefang Donglu (Jiefang Road, East) and approximately one kilometer from the downtown. Seven Star Park got its name from the seven peaks that are supposed to resemble the star pattern of the Big Dipper constellation nearby - four peaks in the north are called Putuo Hill, three in the south are called Lunar Hill. The famous Seven Star cave is located at the Putuo Hill.

 

Die Cai Hill

Located north of Guilin by the Li River, Diecai Hill rises abruptly with an elevation of 73 meters. The grotesque-looking rocks, with patterns suggesting a great pile of folded brocade, gave the hill its present name Folded Brocade Hill. Covering an area of 2 square kilometers, the hill consists of Yuyue Hill, Siwang Hill (Look-on-All-Direction Hill), Crane Peak and Bright Moon Peak. Many charming scenes such as Diecai Pavilion, Diecai Archway, Windy Cave and Cloud-catching Pavilion scatter on the hill.

 

Elephant Trunk

The elephant hill, also called the elephant trunk hill, lies on the conjunction of the li river and the peach blossom river. It is the badge of Guilin city. The whole hill looks exactly like an elephant drinking water by the li river. It is the masterpiece of karst landscape, composed of pure limestone deposited on seabed 360million years ago. Li River Scenery is the highlight of your Guilin tour, as is one of the highlight in China. The 54-kilometer Waterway on the twisty Li River from Zhujiang to Yangshuo covers hundreds and thousands of grotesque peaks.

 

Fubo Hill

Fubo Hill stands on the west bank of the li river in downtown Guilin. The east part of the hill strecth into the river, seems to hold back the turbulent waves, thus it was named Fubo Hill. There are return pearl cave, sword testing rock, big iron bell and huge cooking pot in Fubo Park.

 

Solitary Beauty Peak

It rises sheer from the ground inside the palace in the center of the city. It has acquired a fame of "the Pillar Holding up the Southern Sky" because of its majesty. The climb to the top is steep but there are good views of the town, the Li River and the surrounding hills. On the eastern cliff there remain giant engraved characters by the Qing dynasty calligraphers.

 

Yangshuo

Located in the middle of the most amazing scenery and over the last few years, Yangshuo has also developed into a town catering for visitors from all over the world with Guilin now just becoming a transport hub for people going to or leaving Yangshuo.

 

Yangshuo now has a great range of hotels from the affordable to the luxurious and there are many restaurants catering to everyone's needs. You could try one of the many special local dishes or feast yourself on international cuisine at any of the many restaurants here. However, the main reason for coming is the sights. The Karst peaks and the rural setting make Yangshuo very special. Some of the highlights are taking a cruise on the Li River, biking around the villages or cruising down the Li River on a Bamboo Raft.

 

West Street

Yangshuo, with a history of 1400 year, is 65 Kms southeast of Guilin city. West Street (Xi Jie) is situated in Yangshuo, the most beautiful town along Li River. Since opened up to outside in 1978, the unique "Foreigners Street" - West Street has received countless foreigners from all over the worked and it was reputed as "Earth Village in China". Today, the 2000-m-long street is over 300 cafes, restaurants, hotels art crafts and tourist stores, foreign language clubs, internet centers and Kufu schools. It's an ideal place to eat, live travel, do shopping entertain and study. Also it has a good environment for communication and is regarded as a paradise for tourists.

 

Moon Hill 

About an hour bicycle ride southeast of Yangshuo is Moon Hill. The fantastic views from the top have made this hill one of Yangshuo's best attractions! Moon Hill has a natural round cave at the peak and from a distance, the cave resembles the moon, hence the name. Moon Hill Village can also be seen from Moon Hill's peak. Local villagers will offer guided tours of Moon Hill and the surrounding peaks, caves and villages for relatively reasonable prices (RMB50-100 for one day). They are quite friendly and may even offer you lunch at their home as part of the tour.

 

Banyan Lake 

Banyan Lake is located on the west side of Zhongshan Road, Guilin, and is named after the surrounding banyan trees, including an ancient banyan tree (800 years old) on its northern shore. The lake was originally the southern section of the moat that protected the ancient city of Guilin. An ancient south gate to the city is on the northern shore of Banyan Lake.

 

Green Lotus Peak 

Green Lotus Peak is Yangshuo's most prominent peak and stands near the Li Jiang River in the southeast area of the town. The north face of the peak is said to be relatively flat, resembling a Chinese bronze mirror and therefore the peak is also known as Bronze Mirror Peak.