- Paradise on Earth
or Cassia Forest, in Guangxi province, is surrounded by the
best-known scenery China. There is an old saying in China,"Guilin's
scenery dwarfs the rest of the nation". Recently, tourism has
taken a toll on Guilin. However, the narrow limestone mountains
that are likened in a Tang poem to jade hairpins are still as
magnificent as before. The trip along the Li River to Yangshuo
does offer the most wonderful and peaceful views of the river.
The scenery is best seen in the mist, which inspired centuries
of landscape painters, poets and writers.
The weather in Guilin is subtropical. The best time to visit
Guilin is autumn or late spring, when it is warm.
- Guilin City
- ** The
following ratings are based on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the
Days of Stay: 2
- 1.2 million
People - Zhuang, Han
- When to
- Tourist Season
- May through October
Coldest Months - January and February with temperature as low
Hottest Months - August with temperature as high as 36C;
Annual Precipitation - 1,900 millimeters (mainly in May through
In and Out
- By Train -
Guilin is seven hours from Nanning and 14 hours from Guangzhou
By Air - A 55-minute flight from Guangzhou. There are also direct
flights available from HK;
By Car - Guilin is one hour away from Liuzhou by express bus;
Guilin was established as
a commandery under the first emperor of the Qin when he made his
southern expedition to Guangzhou in 214 B.C. At the same time the
Lingqu canal was begun, linking the river networks of the Pearl
and the Yangtse and Guilin's importance as a regional trading center
grew. From the Ming until 1914 Guilin was the capital of Guangxi province.
During the Sino-Japanese war the population of Guilin was drastically
increased by refugees from the north.
After 1949, Guangxi was made an 'autonomous region' rather than
a 'province' because one-third of the 10 million people living in
Guangxi are of the Zhuang nationality, a minority in China.
Ming Tombs * *
- The trip to
Jingjiang Tombs is an experience itself. You pass old villages,
water buffalo herds, mountains and several intriguing Ming cemeteries.
All persons buried here in relatively simple graves are descendants
of the Ming emperor's family. The site and the museum within
it are only worth a trip if you have extra time to kill.
(Ling Canal)* *
- Lingqu was
dug in 214 B.C. to connect the Chang (Yangtze) and the Zhu (Pearl)
rivers. It was an inland route to Guangzhou until the 1930s.
It is still important for irrigation, of great interest to engineers
and history fans. It has 18 locks and sections, and starts about
57 km north of Guilin in Xing'an County. You can ride a small
bamboo raft and enjoy its tranquillity and ancient bridge.
Local Culture/Unique Tour
- Li River
Folk Customs Center
Li River Folk Customs Center (Feng Qing Yuan) has Miao, Dong
and Zhuang buildings, a wind-and-rain bridge and Dong drum tower.
These spots are good for photographs.
- Li Cassia
Li Cassia Festival is held every year in March.
- Li Mountain
& River Festival
- The Li Mountain
& River is held every year in October or November for three
Hill * * * *
- Diecai Hill
has numerous small peaks. All the present pavilions and walkways
are post-1949 constructions, replacing earlier ones, and the
cassia planting is also post-1949. All the peaks have dreamy
names such as Bright Moon, etc. The hills have many stone carvings,
of which the most notable are the Record of the Pleated-Silk
Mountain and Record of the Four-View Mountain by Yuan Hui of
the Tang Dynasty. There are also stone-carved pictures such
as Li Bingshou's orchids and bamboo and Tang and Song Buddhist
figures carved into cliffs.
The Feng Dong (Wind Cave) is open at both ends and cool and
breezy throughout the year. The view from the top, celebrated
since the Five Dynasties (10C AD) is spectacular. It's where
the sky and the water meet.
- Fubo Hill*
- Fubo means
whirlpool. The famous Fubo Hill, named after famous Han Marshall
Ma Fubo, is only a short walk from the Sheraton Hotel. There
is a giant 7.5 ton iron Qing bell belonging to the temple originally
here. To the right of the bell is the Cave of the Returned Pearl.
Legend has it that a dragon left a pearl fas a gift to a poor
family, who returned it later out of honesty. A rock nearby
is called " Sword Testing Stone". It is said to be where the
Han Marshall tested his sword before battles. Another interesting
scene is a cliff with Tang Buddha not far from the Sword Testing
Park* * * * *
- Part of Qixing
(Seven Star) Park is Putuo Shan (named like the Buddhist holy
mountain off the coast south of Shanghai for the abode). Putuo
Shan is one of the holiest mountains for Buddhists (See Mountains
Section for details).
Qixing Park contains a zoo, Camel Hill with a miniature garden,
and Seven Star Hill whose Seven peaks are positioned like the
stars in the Big Dipper. If you are not tired of the Seven Star
yet, there is a cave nearby called Seven Star Cave on the west
side of Potaraka Hill. The cave has three levels. Visitors usually
visit the middle one. The cave contains dripping stalagmites
and stalactite pinnacles, all illuminated with colored lights.
It is said that tourists as early as Sui (581-618) dynasty have
been frequenting this cave.
Another famous spot in Qixing Park is Flower Bridge. It is 700-year
old and made from stone. The original bridge of Song dynasty
was made from wood. The current stone one was a replica after
the wood bridge was destroyed in a flood. The design of the
bridge was to take advantage of the bridge's reflection in the
water so that the reflection and the bridge itself would form
a complete circle.
During spring, a forest of cassia trees in Qixing Park blossom
into a wonder of nature.
Other spots worth stopping by in Qixing Park include Hidden
Dragon Cave, Putuo Temple and Guanyin (Goddess of Mercy) Cave
on Putuo Shan (Mountain). During Song dynasty, Emperors sent
stone steles with names of people who were sentenced to be executed.
Guilin's Hidden Dragon Cave has the only ones left in China.
- Ludi (Red
Flute) Cave* * * *
- Ludi (Red
Flute) Cave's name came from the reeds that grow at the entrance.
You will probably need almost an hour to fully explore and appreciate
the beauty of the cave. It's a great place to visit during summer
as the temperature inside is consistently around 20 degrees
Celsius. You need to let your imagination go in order to follow
the guides' description of the limestone. It is supposed to
resemble a giant goldfish, a Buddha, and assorted vegetables.
(Elephant Trunk) Hill* * * *
- Xiangbi Hill
juts out into the Li River at its junction with Peach Blossom
River, and at dusk looks extraordinary, resembling a larger-than-life
elephant drinking from the river.
- Li River
Trips* * * * *
- Most tourists
come to Guilin for the Li River boat trip. The quiet, pastoral
landscapes along the river are quite a departure from Beijing's
gray sky, Shanghai's crowded markets, and Guangzhou's dirty
streets. It's definitely an enchanting experience. Setting out
downstream, the boat passes a landscape of manicured fields
shaded by leafy bamboo groves and punctuated with steep, oddly-shaped
hills. The hills are named Crown Rock, Conch Hill, Hade Lotus
Peak and Snow Lion Peak. These karst limestone formations evolved
200 million years ago, when the area was under the sea.
On the way, you will see large cormorants sitting on fishing
boats. If you are lucky you might even watch them at work, fishing
for their owners. These birds' necks were tightened up by strings
so that they will not swallow the fish they catch.
The boast ride downstream usually stops at the village of Yangdi,
but the karst scenery can be seen all the way to Yangshuo. The
way back to Guilin is by bus. Try to stop by the Thousand Year
Banyan Tree village. The tree is amazing with its massive spread
of branches and house-like trunk.
- Guilin is
famous for is artistic pottery, bamboo, new and old-style wood
carvings, etc. The main shopping area is along Zhongshan Zhong
Road where you can find the best department store.
Myer Guilin Jewelry Manufacturing Company exports mainly to
US and Europe.
Both the Tourist Night Market and the Yangshuo Riverside Market
are good places to browse through carefully. Once seeing an
item you like, definitely use what you learned from negotiation
classes and start haggling. The markups can be as high as 300-400%.
Guilin's food is mainly Cantonese style with chili sauce. Seafood
here is fresh and delicious.
Like any other places in China, one will need to go to local
food night markets to taste what the locals are eating. You
can find all kinds of strange stuff Chinese people eat in Guilin's
night food market.
Men Bin - One Chinese national pass time is Karaoke. When in
Rome, do as the Romans do. Go to Men Bin and enjoy Karaoke with
- Night Boats
to Watch Cormorants
- The picture
coming to people's mind when they first think about Guilin is
the night boats with cormorants sitting on them at sunset in
the background of the steep hills. A trip to Guilin will not
be complete until you've observed this process. The fisherman
take their cormorants out on bamboo rafts. Once in the river,
they light up the lights to attract fish. Spotting the fish,
cormorants will jump into water and catch them. Because their
necks are tied by strings, they can't swallow them. When they
come back on the rafts, the cormorants give up their catch to
- Night Spring
- The Acrobatic
and Minority Show at the Spring Theater is definitely worth
- Night Go
- Go Go is the
best disco in town if you are into that sort of night life.
It is right behind Sheraton.
- Relic Pagoda
- Sheli Ta was
located in the south of the town. The 'relic' was a stone box,
encased in the brick pagoda which is part of the Wanshou si
( Ten-thousand-year Temple), the earliest Buddhist foundation
in Guilin though the present temple buildings are Ming, Qing