The Guilin Mountains are a natural wonder and one of the most scenic places on the planet, the Chinese are very proud of it. The layers of limestone that emerged from marine sediments rose above sea level about 360 thousand years ago. This initiated erosion in karst areas of the tropics and subtropics, giving birth to the karst forms of towers, cones, sinkholes, and caves we see today.
In Chinese the name of the mountains means “forest of cassia trees” – a very symbolic name, because the limestone pillars in appearance are really very similar to stone trees. The city of the same name is located in these mountains, which is one of the largest airports in the country.
Today, the Guilin Mountains extend from south-central China to northern Vietnam, presenting a stunning picture of sheer cliffs, often a hundred meters high, nearly vertical, clinging to one another.
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Video: Guilin City and Mountains
In addition to Guilin in the region there is another tourist center – Yangsho. Local hotels and guest houses offer bicycle rides, rafting and canoeing, motorcycle tours, Chinese and qigong courses, painting courses, rock climbing trails (in winter only), and much more. In both Guilin and Yangshuo you can also book fascinating evening tours by bus – for example, you can watch cormorants fishing.
Attractions in Guilin
Elephant’s Trunk Mountain (Xiangbishan)
A little south of the old city, on the west bank of the Li River stands an elephant. Although this huge animal has no ears, legs or tail, it looks like an elephant with its trunk in Lijiang. This impression is created by the hole in the mountain – at least when the water level is high enough. This curiosity can be seen from the square on the shore to the north of it.
Shanhu and Ronghu Lakes
The shady promenades of Kuningamii Lake north of Elephant Mountain and Banyan Lake, adjacent to it on the west, are ideal for strolling. One block west of Guilin’s main street Zhongshan Zhonglu, on the north bank, stands the old city wall gate. In the area between the city gate and the main street, students from the nearby foreign language institute often talk to foreigners. The fact is that here is the so-called “English Corner”, providing a good opportunity to ask interested in communication young Chinese about what is not written in books.
If you walk north along the river embankment all the way to the end, you can meet a typical karst cone. It is called: Crushing Waves because it stands directly beside the water and appears to be floating on the river. It can be viewed equally from above and below. From above means to climb the three hundred and twenty-three steps and enjoy the magnificent panorama from a height of 62 meters. From below means that the foot of the cone is hollow and it is possible to descend into the natural catacombs inside the mountain to the hole and rocky terrace right by the river. As early as the Tang dynasty, Buddhist sculptures were carved into the rock here, about two hundred in all. You can also see the stone calligraphy of Mi Fu (1051-1107), one of the most famous calligraphers and painters of the Song dynasty. Working time: Every day. 8.30-16.30.
Seven Stars Park (Qixing Gongyuan)
From downtown Guilin, the Bridge of Liberation (Qixing Gongyuan) leads to the east bank; the continuation of the street takes you to the Seven Stars Park, so named after its seven peaks corresponding to the seven main stars of the Big Dipper. Here you can have a good and fun time. You can also visit the stalactite cave (Qixingyuai) and other walls, one of them (the extreme one on the west) are all covered with ancient inscriptions. You can often trace how stone sculptures arise here; they are sold in a store near the cave.
Further east, the ascent begins; however, it is possible to go around the karst hill on the south side. At the eastern end of the park is a small, very modest zoo where a large panda is sad. You can also see one of Guilin’s most famous karst cones here, on Camelback Mountain, which rightfully bears that name. Opening Hours: Daily. 8.00-17.00.
Reed Flute Cave (Luidian)
Stalactite caves are typical of karst areas and this is just the “model cave” for tourists coming to Guilin: it is quite large and close to the city. Be warned though: there are more beautiful stalactite caves, and full of fancy bright lights do not necessarily enhance the impression of this cave. It is better to take a Chinese guide, for what the eyes of the Chinese can discern in the bizarre stone formations is closely related to local cultural peculiarities. 6 km from the city. Opening hours: every day. 8.00-17.30.
Tomb of the Princes (Jingyangwanglin)
Six kilometers east of the city in the countryside at the western foot of Yaoshan Mountain lies the partially restored, but mostly still “wild” necropolis of the princes of the Ming dynasty who lived in the palace in Guilin. A total of eleven princes were buried here from 1370 to 1645 years. with their wives – in the imposing tomb complexes, though not imperial, but quite considerable size: the smallest covers an area of 0.5 hectares, the largest – 21 ha. Completely restored and therefore looks like a new tomb of the third prince (with a gate, landscaped with greenery, with a stone guard of honor and a hall for sacrifices) This is how all the tomb temples once looked, but it is the unrestored tombs with their witch-like atmosphere that speak much more to the Western visitor. On the way to the princes’ graves you can, by the way, pass the usual local style cemetery – with small grave mounds and circular fences. Opening hours: daily. 8.30-17.30. Route 24 bus from Jiefangqiao Bridge.
Yaoshan Mountain (909 m above sea level, 760 m above the plain) is the highest peak in the vicinity. A funicular takes visitors from the Tomb of the Princes to the summit in 20 minutes. Those who want a more thrilling experience can take the cable car from the intermediate station down a huge 1 km long chute and land at the Princes’ Graves.
A thing to take note of: Bus No. 58 takes you for free to the most important tourist attractions in Guilin, including the Reed Flute Cave, Fuboshan Hill and the Seven Stars Park.
A trip along the Li River (Lijiang)
Now comes the fun part: the 83 kilometers along the Lijiang River from Guilin to Yangshuo is what draws tourists to Guilin. Moving along the clear river, you will see quaint mountains, villages, colonies of bathers and fishermen with cormorants floating by – if you are lucky with the weather, it will be one of the most amazing trips of your life. On all the riverboats, you can stand on the upper deck and enjoy the panorama. Each boat has a galley that provides travelers with a multi-course hot lunch (included in the price of the trip), and for a fee, you can even sample local delicacies, including shrimp from the Lijiang River, which, despite the cramped conditions, are cooked very decently.
During most of the year you can take a bus 30 km downriver to Zhujiang Wharf, because the water level in Guilin itself is pretty low. From there the boats depart one after the other between 9:00 and 10:00 (which is often hectic, so be careful not to lose sight of your tour group!) and in about four hours you arrive in Yangshuo; from there you can get back by bus (boats return empty only). It’s best to book your hotel immediately; otherwise you’ll have a lot of unnecessary hassle and the trip will cost much more. Sailing on the Li River is not cheap as it is: you should expect at least 350 yuan; without much expense and in the winter season (December to March) 450-500 yuan looks more realistic, with better food and a better boat with fewer passengers. Beware. Cheap options can mean food in cartons, overcrowded decks, and sometimes no return transportation!
Of course, the trip can be spent in silence, immersed in your own thoughts, but it is much more interesting to learn what representations the Chinese associate with the many mountains the ship passes by. Illustrated pamphlets describing the trip along the river can be helpful, but much will escape the eyes of tourists if they do not turn in the right direction at the right moment. Therefore, services of a guide, who knows Russian or English will always be justified. Here are just some of the sights that open to the eye starting from Zhujiang Wharf: Dragons playing with water (right bank) – hanging on a rock wall, overgrown with green moss stalactites, from which water drips. Waiting for her husband (right bank) – the rock looks like a woman standing with a child behind her. Boy honoring Buddha (left bank) – a small rocky peak standing in front of a larger one. Snail Hill (right bank) – with a spirally twisted edge. Brush-holder’s hill (right bank) – a row of closely spaced peaks with rounded indentations between them – Chinese ink-painters and calligraphers put their brushes on a device of this shape when they interrupt their work for a while.
While Chinese tourist groups leave mainly from Guilin to see the scenery and return there after the river journey, foreign tourists and individuals often prefer to stay longer in Yangshuo after the river cruise. This town, once a small insignificant village, now lives mostly on tourism income, which entails a number of unpleasant side effects, especially in the surrounding villages. If you are used to people trying to impose on you things you don’t need, that you almost always have to haggle and constantly watch out not to be stolen, then you will find a lot of positive things in Jansho. First of all, life here is noticeably cheaper than in Guilin. There are plenty of pleasant private camping sites, many cafes and eateries tailored to the tastes of foreigners, and an array of other topical services, such as bike rentals, because Yangsho is the ideal place for large and small independent trips to other places along the Li River, as well as to idyllic countryside, where bazaars, villages, quaint karst peaks, caves, and opportunities for swimming, boating and kayaking abound. This is one of not too many places in China where you can enjoy spending a whole month.
Every day in Yangshuo is divided into two unequal parts: about two hours between the arrival of the ships and the departure of the last buses taking tourists back to Guilin, when thousands of visitors fill the streets, and the remaining twenty-two hours when the city is cozy and quiet. In the markets, which stretch from the pier to the bus stops and from the river along the main street (Xi Jie, West Street), of course, deals are struck during those two hours. The assortment offered there makes Yangshuo just a paradise for souvenir hunters. In addition to all kinds of textiles (including cheap silk), there is an abundance of porcelain trinkets and jade and other stone carvings, fake antiques, children’s toys and sometimes very complex puzzles for adults, and of course also fruit, drinks, etc.
Another is the central market for locals (on Diecui Lu Street north of Xi Jie), which sells mostly agricultural products and offers a rich assortment of fruits, mushrooms, vegetables, etc.
There are many small, curious biking and hiking targets in and around the city at any distance. In the city itself, you will enjoy Yangsho Park and Mt. Bilian with a park with lots of water – to the east, just above the river. Interesting places lie 7-8 km south of the city, on the other side of the Yulunhe River: here grows a banyan tree, the antiquity of which cannot but inspire reverence. Its huge crown casts shade on as much as half a hectare, and its age, according to rough estimates, is between 1400 and 1500 years. Just behind the banyan there is a wonderful-looking Moon Mountain: it has an opening, round on top and resembling a crescent. It is worth climbing up and, if you are brave enough, walk further to the top of the natural bridge. You will be rewarded with a magnificent panorama. But for safety reasons, you should not walk this route alone.
Guilin is famous for exotic foods such as raccoons, snakes, lizards and freshwater snails, as well as an abundance of fruits and vegetables, including water chestnuts, lotus root, taro, carambola, kumkat (dwarf oranges) and lychee. So you can quench your passion for exploring and even if you don’t order special delicacies, you can still enjoy your meal for a modest fee. The pedestrian zone of Zhengyang Lu Street is full of cafes, mostly inexpensive. The more modest eateries are clustered to the north, near the teacher training institute. Among other things, they serve horse meat.
The many foreign tourists in Guilin generally dine at hotels, so the few independent cafes and restaurants cater to the tastes of foreigners. In Yangshuo, 90 km south of Guilin, the opposite is true: on Xicheng Lu there are especially many nice little cafes serving food from all over the world and even have menus in English. Prices are low to mid-range.
Attractions in Guilin
West Street Bamboo Flute Cave Laoshan Mountain Guilin Mountain Moon Hill Village Lunji Park Big Bear Park (Seven Star Park) Cane Flute Cave
This site compiles Guilin attractions – photos, descriptions, and travel tips. The list is based on popular guidebooks and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you can find answers to questions: what to see in Guilin, where to go and where are the popular and interesting places in Guilin.
In the heart of Yangsho Village is the pedestrianized West Street. It stretches from the bus station to the very bank of the Lijiang River. Most of the houses on the street are built in a southern Chinese style. Their snow-white walls are decorated with carved roofs.
It takes 15 minutes to walk along the entire street, but the multitude of souvenir shops, which attract you like a magnet, is sure to drag your hike for a couple of hours. And no wonder, because the local souvenir shops can boast the most interesting handmade items such as Tibetan silver, felted toys, baize tablecloths, embroidered pillowcases, designer bags, national minority clothing, beautiful porcelain dolls and much more.
If you don’t see a sign that says “no bargain,” you can safely haggle with the seller, because the price is sure to be inflated 5 to 10 times.
There are also several clubs, restaurants and bars on West Street.
Coordinates : 24.77452400,110.49456800
Bamboo Flute Cave
Not far from Guilin, there is the Bamboo Flute Cave. It gets its unusual name from the fact that it is surrounded by bamboo that makes the best flutes in China. The cave itself is not very big – its total length hardly exceeds 500 meters. The cave is struck by the abundance of colorful stalactites and stalagmites, creating absolutely amazing pictures.
There is a beautiful legend that a poet once came to the Bamboo Flute Cave, wishing to write poems about the greatness of the place. He wandered the halls of the cave for a long time, but managed to write only 2 lines: “The Bamboo Flute Cave is a true masterpiece of nature. I want to describe its beauty, but I can’t find the words.” The poet never managed to finish the poem – he turned to stone.
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The highest mountain on the coast of the country. Its highest peak, Giant Peak, is 1,133 meters high. There are many legends associated with Laoshan Mountain. According to one of them, “supernatural spirits” live on the mountain. The first emperor of the Qing dynasty, Qin Shi Huang, climbed the mountain in search of these very beings. Li Lunji, the Tang emperor, also climbed the mountain. He was looking there for the source of eternal life.
Laoshan is one of China’s sacred mountains. During the heyday of Taoism there were about 72 monasteries, 8 temples and 9 palaces. However, many temples and monasteries were later destroyed. Only the Taqing Taoist monastery survives to this day.
Another attraction of the mountain – the mineral springs, which are considered the purest in all of China. They are often endowed with healing and even magical properties.
At the top of the mountain is an observation deck, which offers a magnificent view of the surrounding scenery. The funicular railway takes you to the top.
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Not far from the city of Guilin is a picturesque place created by nature itself – the amazing Guilin Mountains. Over the centuries, the wind and water have been washing particles out of the limestone rock that was once the bottom of the sea – and the result is cliffs that look like towers and pillars. Nature has given them the most bizarre shapes. In the height of the rocks reaches an average of 100 meters, some are covered with small trees, vines and orchids. In the mountains you can find caves, also created over the centuries by rainwater. One of the most famous is the Cave of the Reed Puffer, in which fragile stalactites and really resemble puffins. Opened to foreign tourists mountains were only in 1973.
Mun Hill Mountain
In the southeastern part of China, on the outskirts of the city of Guilin you can find an amazing sight: a triangular-shaped mountain with an almost round hole on top, which reminds you of the moon – it is not by chance that its name literally translates as “Moon Hill”.
You can admire this natural wonder from afar, or you can make a half-hour ascent to the mountain and look at the surrounding plain through a natural arch.
Lunji Village is one of the most picturesque places in China. The local hills are occupied by terraced rice paddies, with the highest plantations located 880 meters above sea level. The sight of sunset and sunrise in this place is absolutely fantastic – the sky and sunlight are reflected in the water of the rice fields, creating a truly fantastic picture.
The method used by Chinese peasants in the construction of terraces allows the most advantageous adaptation of natural space for the cultivation of land to grow rice. The water supply in these places is extremely scarce, so this system has become very popular. Since the Middle Ages, it has spread over 66 square kilometers of hilly terrain.
Coordinates : 25.72587700,110.10894700
Great Bear Park (Seven Stars Park)
The Seven Stars Park is the largest park in Guilin. On its 137 hectares of land rise seven peaks, the arrangement of which is intricately reminiscent of the constellation of the Big Dipper.
The park is located on the bank of the Li River. Since ancient times, it was popular with the dignitaries of China, who liked to rest here. During the Song Dynasty, a covered bridge was built in the park, which survives to this day.
One of the main attractions of the park is the Seven Stars Cave. Consisting of three levels, the cave invariably attracts many tourists who want to see the local beauty – stalactites and stalagmites, which are illuminated by the bright beams of spotlights.
Reed Flute Cave
Guilin is a picturesque ancient city located in southern China. For its beautiful scenery and nature, the Chinese very often call Guilin “the most beautiful city in the Middle Kingdom. The main attraction of the city is the Cane Flute Cave, the largest karst cave with magnificent stalactites. It is impossible to remain indifferent after seeing the beauty of these underground halls. The cave goes 240 meters deep, and the first foot of man set foot here 1300 years ago!
The cave was discovered during the Tang Dynasty, when the power of the Great Chinese Empire was at its height. Legend has it that the cave was discovered by a simple peasant who was wandering around and suddenly fell through the ground. This crevice turned out to be the entrance to the cave.
The famous karst cave was formed over 180 million years ago. Many thousands of years ago there was an ocean in this place. Then, as a result of natural disasters, the water was gone, and fantastic mountains with amazing gorges, strange crevices, deep grottos and caves rose to the surface. And the name “Cave of Reed Flute” appeared due to the fact that the local people made flutes from the nearby reeds.
The most popular attractions in Guilin with descriptions and photos for all tastes. Choose the best places to visit famous places in Guilin on our website.
More attractions in Guilin
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