Even more beautiful than paintings, Guilin’s beauty precedes its reputation. From breathtaking karst mountains to picturesque lakes, Guilin’s scenery is ‘picture perfect’. It’s no wonder that Guilin’s beauty has, in the past, been a muse for numerous Chinese artists in their poetry and songs. Its name means ‘forest of Sweet Osmanthus’ due to the sweet-smelling trees in the city.
Best of Guilin
1. Li River Cruise
So memorable that it’s stamped at the back of the Twenty Yuan bill of China, is the beautiful Li River. Take a cruise on the boats or bamboo rafts and see with your very own eyes the world’s largest karst landforms with amazing mountains and tranquil waters.
2. Seven Star Park (Qīxīng Gōng Yuán)
Named after its seven peaks that resemble the Big Dipper constellation, the large park is a great place to get in touch with nature. The small zoo area on the east side has two main attractions – the giant pandas and the red pandas, as well as small animal shows.
3. Liu Sanjie Landscape Park
Also known as Third Sister Liu, the park is named after the famous Chinese folk singer who was forced to jump into the river with her lover. Come and be entertained by ethnic musical performances involving dances and performances to reflect the diverse ethnic groups.
4. Elephant Trunk Hill (Xiàngbí Shān)
The symbol of Guilin, the hill got its name due to its uncanny resemblance to an elephant drinking water. The cave underneath the trunk is known as Water Moon Cave as the moon’s reflection can be seen through the arch at night.
5. Guangxi Guilin National Forest Park
Remember all those classical Chinese paintings of ethereal forests and mist-enshrouded mountains? See them with your very own eyes as you navigate along the river on a boat to admire the lofty pinnacles.
6. Reed Flute Cave (Lúdí Yán)
The already impressive stalactites, stalagmites and centuries-old inscriptions inside the cave are illuminated with colourful lights to create an magical fairyland.
7. Lijiang Folk Custom Park
The park has a nice combination of both natural and manmade landscapes which make for a good introduction to the beauties of Guilin’s spectacular landscapes. There’s also a folk village with various attractions within that are well-worth checking out.
8. Guilin Yaoshan Scenic Attraction
Take the cable car up the mountain to enjoy amazing views of surrounding hills and towns. Have your camera ready because the view of the sunrise is amazing from way up here!
9. Two Rivers Four Lakes Cruise
A spectacular night cruise that literally takes you through Li River and Taohua River (Peach Blossom), as well as four beautiful lakes, where you’ll see the beautiful night scenery that includes a pagoda, marble bridges and buildings decorated with Chinese carvings.
10. Guilin Rice Noodle
The local breakfast staple since the Qin dynasty, Guilin’s noodles are served everywhere. The noodles and topping are first eaten without the soup and then soup is poured into the rest of the noodles once the topping has run out.
Take a cruise boat on Li River and you may just end up in Yangshuo. The neighbouring small town is located 1.5 hours away by bus, and is a popular backpacker’s town, home to many ethnicities and people from all over the world. Many flock to Yangshuo for its picturesque karst landscape and friendly hospitality. Rent a bike to traverse the little villages and roads, or even go bamboo rafting on the serene Yulong River.
Longsheng Rice Terraces
Longsheng is home to the most stunning rice terraces in the world, built on mountainous terrains that truly defy gravity. Longji is the most magnificent one of all, resembling the backbone of a dragon and can be seen twisting off into the distance from the top of the mountain.