Famous for its wonderful scenery, rivers and +arst peaks covered in lush greenery, Guilin has a long history as the most beautiful place in China. In recent decades, although development and exploding tourism are changing the face of this beautiful city, Guilin has remained one of China's greenest and scenic cities. Guilin is situated along the Lijiang River, which is a favorite travel attraction in itself. The beauty of the water and the Karst peaks towering into the sky have attracted travelers to this area for centuries.
Main attractions in Guilin
Elephant Trunk Hill
Elephant Trunk Hill (Xiangbishan) is one of the Lijiang River's most famous sights. The hill is situated on the western bank of the Li River, to the southeast of Guilin. It looks like an elephant, dipping its snout into the Lijiang River, hence the name "Elephant Trunk Hill". This sight is very representative of the landscape around Guilin and is a symbol of Guilin itself. A park and a Ming Dynasty pagoda are found on and around the Elephant Trunk Hill.
Seven Star Park
Seven Star Park is one of the best urban parks in China and has something for just about everyone. The park is named after the seven peaks located throughout here that are shaped like the Big Dipper constellation. Amongst the peaks are several deplorable caves, including "Seven Star Cave", which are quite famous for having stalagmites, stalactites and other natural formations that resemble animals and landscapes. The rest of this fantastic park is filled with trees and gardens. With its beautiful peaks, caves and gardens, this park has enough to keep any visitor entertained for hours.
Wave Subduing Hill
Wave Subduing Hill (Fuboshan), yet another of Guilin's Karst mountains, has one of the most unique and interesting shapes of all the hills around here and contains many interesting sights. The mountain itself resembles a wave reaching up to the sky and descending down into the river.The sights on the hill include a temple to the Wave Subduing General (Fubo Jiangjun), after whom the hill is named. Elsewhere on the hill, Returned Pearl Cave and Thousand Buddhas Cave are also great places to see some Tang and Song Buddhist statues. Lastly, the Wave Listening Pavilion, on the southeast cliff of Fuboshan, is a great place to view the surrounding area. Built in 1964, while not ancient, the Pavilion is a great place to relax and take in the natural beauty of the Guilin area.
Reed Flute Cave:
Reed Flute Cave (Ludi Yan) contains some of the most extraordinary underground scenery in all of China. The natural rock formations in the cave make up several scenes including "Primitive Forest", "Crystal Palace", and "Flower and Fruit Mountain". While the multi-colored lighting may be annoying, the caves are really quite impressive. You can either follow one of the tours that go through the cave every 20 minutes, or take your time rejoining a tour later on.Reed Flute Cave is located on the northwest outskirts of Guilin, 5 kilometers away from the downtown area.
About an hour bicycle ride southeast of Yangshuo, is Moon Hill (Yueliang Shan). 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 (a hole in the peak) resembles the moon, hence the name. Between the village and Moon Hill, stands a Banyan tree that according to legend was planted in the Jin Dynasty, about 1,500 years ago.
Lijiang River Tours
River tours between Guilin and Yangshuo are an extremely popular way to see the natural scenery along the river, which is some of the best in China. As the best sections of natural scenery are near Yangshuo, if you plan to spend a lot of time in Yangshuo, then you may wish to skip the Guilin Lijiang River tour and take one of the minibuses that leave Guilin South Railway station, where trains from Beijing and Shanghai (and all destinations north) arrive.
The most beautiful and unique peaks are along the Lijiang River between Yangshuo and Yangdi Village, which is about a third of the way to Guilin from Yangshuo. Look for "Crown Rock", "Mandarin Ducks Play in the Water", "Nine Horses Mountain", "Screw Mountain", "Mural Hill" and many other strange and fascinating peaks along the way to Yangdi.
Green Lotus Peak
Green Lotus Peak (Bilian Feng) is Yangshuo's most prominent peak and stands near the 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 (a geomantic tool for redirecting misfortune and bad feng shui) and therefore the peak is also known as Bronze Mirror Peak (Tongjing Feng).