Situated in the
northeast corner of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guilin is
hailed by many as the most beautiful place in China and is one of
the must-see destinations for most foreign tourists. According to a
popular Chinese saying, “Guilin’s scenery bests all others in the
world.” Its shapely-rising limestone towers and crystal-clear waters
are often portrayed in Chinese artworks. Adding to its natural
beauty are many fascinating caves.
The city of Guilin was founded in the Qin Dynasty in 314 BC as a small
settlement on the Lijiang River. It became increasingly important
following the construction of a canal joining the river with another
further north, providing a transport link with the Yangzi. The imperial
court could thus send food and provisions by water from the Yangzi
plains to its armies in the far south. The town becamguiling the
provincial capital in the Ming Dynasty, and remained so until 1914, when
the capital was moved to Nanning.
Since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, Guilin has
developed a fledging industry, producing a variety of products such as
pharmaceutical goods, tires, machinery, fertilizers and silk. From its
noted profusion of flowering cassia trees, which have a strong sweet
scent, it produces a number of specialties including perfume, wine, tea,
cinnamon, and herbal medicine.
There are more than 30 noted scenic spots within the boundaries of
Guilin Peak. Among them are a hill standing in solitary loftiness in the
center of the city; the Elephant Trunk Hill, the city's symbol, so named
because of its resemblance to an elephant’s sipping water from the
Lijiang River with its trunk; the Piled Festoon Hill that is broken here
and there with its rock strata exposed on its sides like piles of fancy
festoons; and the Crescent Hill that is named after its moon-shaped cave
There are two fantastic caves in the area--- the seven-star-rock cave,
which derives its name from the arrangement of surrounding peaks
resembling the pattern of the stars of the Great Bear constellation, and
Reed-Flute Cave, named after the reeds growing around the cave mouth.
They both contain spectacular stalactites and stalagmites.
The city also boasts other beautiful hills, such as the Fubo Hill, which
is supposed to restrain the waters of the Lijing River, and Nanxi Hill
that stands magnificently like a huge screen.
A boat trip from Guilin along the Lijiang River presents one of the
finest excursions on your tour of China. The journey downstream to
Yangshuo offers 30 miles of breathtaking scenery.
One of the first points of interest is the pagoda-capped Elephant Trunk
Hill, or Xiangbishan, long used as the symbol of Guilin. A little
further downstream you will pass, on your left, Baotashan with a Ming
Dynasty pagoda on top. East of it stands Chuanshan, or the Hill with a
Hole. Then begins a series of beautiful scenes that unfold as you glide
away from Guilin on your journey south.
Coming close to the Erlang Gorge, a huge cliff comes into view. This is
the famous "Picture Hill" that resembles horses of different colors in
On the right, after passing Picture Hill, is Huangbu (Yellow Cloth)
Beach. Here the river is wide and flows gently. Seven graceful peaks are
likened to seven quiet young girls standing shoulder to shoulder. The
fabled Xingping Wonderland begins here. Xingping is a famous, ancient
town. Caishi Hill looms high in front of the town, with thick bamboo
groves in the back. The cruise ends at the colorful market town of
Tourist Attractions in and
Elephant Trunk Hill
The hill is at the confluence of the Lijiang River and Yangjiang River
inside the city. This hill is so named because it outlines a vivid image
of an elephant sipping water from the river with its trunk. Between the
body and the trunk there is a round-shaped space, known as "water moon"
arch, which is about 10 metres high and 20 metres deep. The river flows
through the arch resembling a "bright-moon". Sailing through the arch,
one feels like being under a huge arch bridge.
Located to the east of Guilin, the hill gets its name from a new-moon
shaped opening of a cave in the western slope of the hill. The hidden
Dragon Cave at the food of the hill has a stretch of water and a food
path, Yihong Pavilion", "Xiaoguanghan Temple" and other buildings are
located half way up the hill.
It is located to the east of the city with half of the hill reaching
into the Lijiang River. The hill stands in solitary loftiness with a
thrusting peak. It seems to restrain the swelling water when the river
is raising with violent torrents and waves, hence the name Fudo
(restraining waves). On the hilltop there is a Fudo Temple and the
Returning Pearl Cave. At the foot of the hill, there are other scenic
Formerly known as "Qixia Cave" and "Bixu Rock", It is on the Seven
star-Rock hill to the east of Guilin. The cave presents a twisted
extension of more than one and a half kilometres. This cave, the biggest
and the most fascinating cave of Guilin, includes "Liudongtian Cave" and
Liangdongfu Cave, offers numerous spectacular views and is big enough to
hold ten thousand visitors at a time; originally, the cave was an
underground channel and became a tourist attraction as early as the Sui
and Tang Dynasties (581 A.D.-907). Inside the cave, well-developed
stalactites and stalagmites form numerous fantastic scenes such as
`Monkey Picking Peaches`, `Two Lion Fighting for a Ball`, or in the
shapes of fruits, forests and gigantic waterfall.
The cave is at the Guangming Hill about six kilometres northwest of
Guilin. This huge cave, eroded out of karst formation and with a maximum
height of 18 metres and width of 93 metres. This ancient scenic spot
dates back to more than 1,000 years ago, It has been widely claimed as
Art Galley of Nature" because of its dazzling beauty of strange karts
formation and marvellous scenery.
A well-known part of the Guilin River, it flows from the Piled Festoon
Hill to "Bilian Peak" in Yangshou, covering a distance of 83 kilometres.
This green ribbon-like river runs zigzag through a multitude of hills
against a backdrop of steep peaks, luxuriant flowers and green hills
along the shores are mirrored in the blue water, giving the visitor a
poetic inspiration. In drizzly days, the peaks embraced by clouds and
mists and river. (Click for more about Li River)
Hot Spots in and around Guilin
Karsts: Scientists have no trouble explaining the origination of these
strange-looking limestone cones and cylinders, or the equally-bizarre
below-ground cave and cavern counterparts. But their beauty is no less
impressive. For centuries Chinese poets and artists have depicted the
sometimes eerie, mist-shrouded karsts.
Li River Cruise: The best way to view the variety of karsts (they come
in all sizes of cones, cylinders, mounds and crags!) is by a cruise
along the Li River. One karst is called "Elephant Trunk Hill,"
resembling a giant elephant whose bent trunk dips into the water for a
drink. Another is called "Dragon Head Hill," and yet another is named
"Five Fingers Hill." A number of karsts soar hundreds of feet - straight
up - from the riverbank. Some tours - including yours - end in Yangshou,
about 50 miles downstream from Guilin. It's quite a journey!
Longji Titian: As noted in our tour description, "The climate here is
perfect for rice-growing; the terrain isn't." That didn't stop the local
farmers; over some 700 years of toil and sweat, they transformed the
hills and mountains into terraced, intensely-cultivated rice fields.
What they created was also breathtaking - a rare meeting of function and
scenic interest. The high hills of Longji Titian ("Dragon Backbone
Terraces") are located about 60 miles northwest from Guilin.
Ping An: Nestled within the heart of the Longi Titian is the ethnic
Zhuang village of Ping An. Charming as it may look with it's somewhat
jumbled, terraced homes (everything is "terraced" in this hilly
region!), Ping An is a hard-working community. For the idle visitor,
however, the photo-ops are not to be missed! (letstravelchina.com)
In addition, you can also visit:
Reed-Flute Rock: a limestone cave with a large number of stalactites,
stalagmites, stalacto-stalagmites, rocky curtains, and cave corals.
Seven-Star Park: the largest park in Guilin.
Mountain of Splendid Hues: a mountain consisting of many layers of
variously colored rocks.
Elephant-Trunk Hill: a hill that looks like a giant elephant drinking
water with its trunk. It is symbol of the city of Guilin.
Lingqu Canal: dug in 214 BC, is one of the three big water conservation
projects of ancient China and the oldest existing canal in the world.
Other attractions: Duxiu Peak, Nanxi Park, the Taohua River, the Giant
Banyan, and the Huashan-Lijiang National Folklore Park.