They say that the mountains and waters of Guilin are the best in the world and the landscape is the most beautiful under the heavens.
Some people may think its an exaggeration, yet a lot of visitors seem to agree as tourists continue to flock to beautiful city to take in the sights and atmosphere of this gorgeously picturesque place.
Located southwest of China in the province of Guangxi, Guilin literally means “cassia tree forest,” probably named as such for the abundance of cassia trees in the region that fill the city with its wondrous scent during autumn.
Tourists who have gone on the river cruise from the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo are lulled into that enveloping sense of serenity surrounded by a landscape of green mountains, limpid waters, caves, and beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations.
Being in the subtropical zone, Guilin boasts a pleasant climate for sightseeing throughout the four seasons. Good climate, perfect scenery, and a calming atmosphere… What more could any tourist ask for?
The Li-River Cruise
With a magnificent scenery that has been acclaimed as the “best under heaven,” visitors taking the cruise can expect to see hills beyond hills with their images reflected in the crystal waters.
Green bamboo swaying gently in the breeze, water buffaloes grazing near the riverbanks, ducks swimming along the river and people spending a lazy day fishing or catnapping on bamboo rafts are just a few sights that could be seen on the cruise. Artists from different periods have long tried to depict the serenity of the area on canvass. However the natural beauty of the Li River remain beyond description.
Elephant Trunk Hill
So named for its resemblance to an elephant drinking from the river at the confluence of the Taohua River and the Lijiang River. A round open space between the elephant trunk and its body is called Water-Moon Cave. At a clear night the moon seems to fall on the bottom of the water and at the same time float on the water surface.
Reed Flute Cave
Found in the middle of Guangming Mountain in the northwestern suburbs of Guilin, it is said that the reeds growing by the cave’s mouth could be made into flutes. There are more than 70 inscriptions written in ink on the wall inside the cave dating back to A.D.792 during the Tang Dynasty. The horse hoof-shaped cave has many stalactites, stalagmites, stone pillars, stone curtains and stone flowers in numerous forms. The cave is known to be an “Art Palace of Great Nature.”
Fubo Hill (Park)
Half of the graceful lone peak of the hill is in the river and the other half is on land. During flood season turbulent currents explode against the hill rocks into a dazzling spray of white mist. The top of the hill affords tourists a spectacular view of scenery that is the favorite of Chinese artists in creating their paintings.
Inside the “Return the Pearl” Cave, also known as Fubo Cave found on one side of the mountain, there are the “Try the Sword” Rock, the 1,000-Buddha Crag (Buddha images carved on stone), and many carvings on the cave walls. Among the best carvings is a self-portrait of Mi Fu, a famous painter, and a poem by Fan Dacheng, a famous poet, both from the Song Dynasty (960-1279).
Seven Star Park
Situated on the eastern side of the Li River in Guilin City, the park was named after the seven peaks that resemble the Big Dipper constellation from an aerial view. One of the park’s most beautiful caves, the Seven-Star Cave is located deep in Putuo Hill, one of the park’s seven peaks.
Originally a part of an underground river, the one-million year old cave has the words “Xi Xia Cave” carved on stone at the cave’s mouth.
For hundreds of years local people believed the cave was the residence of immortals.
Folded Brocade Hill
So-called for the layers of multiple colored rocks, one on top of the other, resembling bolts of folded brocade cloth.
Folded Brocade consists of Yueshan Hill , Look-on-All-Direction Hill , Crane Peak and Bright Moon Peak. The Wind Cave runs from north to south halfway up the hill , with a cool breeze blows inside it in all seasons . It features 90 Buddha images of the Tang and Song dynasties , as well as dozens of ancient stone carvings.
Xingping Li River in Xingping
An ancient town with a history of more than 1300 years, Xingping town offers some of the most scenic sights along the Li River. It is also an area where the best scenic sights along the Li River are to be found. There are such enchanting scenes as “Pretty Woman Looking in the Mirror”, “General Drawing His Sword” and “Carp Drinking from the River”.
The Big Banyan Tree
At the village of Gaotian to the south of the town of Yangshuo, where the most typical pastoral scenery is to be found, there is a big banyan tree over 1000 years old. One scene of the film “Ms. Liu San Jie” was photographed here.
Mochuan Village is remote lying far away from highroads. There inhabits Han and Yao people for centuries. A camphor tree stands in the village whose trunk is difficult to circle unless ten people open their arms and stretch around the tree.
How old it is? Even the old villagers can not even tell. By the village in the open field there is a mausoleum of an officer in the Qing dynasty whose stone animal and human statues were carved exquisitely, vividly and are still kept so well until now. The mausoleum was built in 1889 for the officer, together with his wife, who was born here but served as an officer in another province.
Stone Forest in Wenshi Town
Occupying about 5 square kilometers in Wenshi Town 130 km away from Guilin city. The Stone Forest was formed through weathering by wind and rainwater, lime stones on the ground were “engraved” into various grotesque shapes and stand together like a forest of stones. Unlike the stone forest in Kunming, the one in Wenshi is more typical of gladiate-shaped karst landscape and while less visited, is still worth a visit.