Guilin is a city in China, situated in the northeast of the Guangxi Zhuang...
Guilin is a city in China, situated in the northeast of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on the west bank of the Li River. Its name means "forest of Sweet Osmanthus", owing to the large number of fragrant sweet osmanthus trees located in the city. The city has long been renowned for its unique scenery.
Guilin is one of China’s most attractive urban areas. Situated in the heart of Guangxi Zhuang Autonymous region, this pleasant city is a perfect base from which to enjoy south China’s stunning natural scenery. This region’s characteristic limestone karst landscape draws visitors from all over the world. They are easily accessible by bike or river boat cruise from the urban centre of Guilin.
Guilin’s unique peaks were formed between 180 and 200 million years ago, when the shifting crust of the earth thrust limestone sediment from the sea bottom to the surface. The remaining hills have been eroded over the millennia, and now provide footing for the lush forests so common in the region. In fact, the name ‘Guilin’ refers to this deep, green vegetation. The name means ‘Forest of Sweet Osmanthus.’
Alongside Kunming, Guilin is the most popular location for back-packers in China. Visitors come to explore the hills and caves that can be found between Guilin and the famous village of Yangshuo.
Yangshuo has steadily developed as an attraction for foreign tourists since the 1980’s because of its wonderful natural setting. Visitors can spend their days in parks and restaurants by the riverside. Within the town, the laid-back atmosphere recalls resorts of south-east Asia, though with a character that is unmistakably that of the local Zhuang Chinese.
Just as Xian is a must when you travel to China, so is Guilin. The stunning landscape in which the city is situated has a kind of magic that is all its own. The strangely shaped hills, or karsts, with the verdant vegetation ranging from bamboo to conifers together with wonderful caves make Guilin such an attraction for tourists.
Located in the northeast of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guilin is considered to be the pearl of China's thriving tourist industry on account of the natural beauty and historic treasures. Covering an area of about 27,800 square kilometers (10,734 square miles), the city is rather compact when compared with other leading cities in the country. However, situated within this area one may find green mountains, crystal clear waters, unique caves and beautiful stones. Major attractions include Elephant Trunk Hill, Li River, Reed Flute Cave and Seven-Star Park that boasts a stone museum where amazing geological finds are displayed. Believe that each of these places and many other attractions will leave you the lasting memories.
The many ethnic minorities represented here that include the Zhuang, Yao, Hui, Miao, Mulao, Maonan and Dong enrich the cultural life of the city. Each minority has its own unique customs and festivals and this means that they are much more abundant here than in many other places elsewhere in China. Travelers can enjoy these pageants at the Li River Folk Customs Center.
Guilin is a well-developed tourist center with convenient transportation, communication and accommodation facilities. You can enter Guilin by air, by train or by bus and get around on free buses. From luxury hotels to hostels, from splendid restaurants to local snacks, you are sure to find that your needs will be met beyond your expectations
In 314 BC, a small settlement was established along the banks of the Li River. In 111 BC, during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, Shi An County was established, which could be regarded as the beginning of the city. In 507 AD, the town was renamed Guizhou.
Guilin prospered in the Tang and Song dynasties but remained a county. The city was also a nexus between the central government and the southwest border, and it was where regular armies were placed to guard that border. Canals were built through the city so that food supplies could be directly transported from the food-productive Yangtze plain to the farthest southwestern point of the empire.
In 1921, Guilin became one of the headquarters of the Northern Expeditionary Army led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. In 1940, the city acquired its present name.
In 1981, this ancient city was listed by the State Council as one of the four cities (the other three being Beijing, Hangzhou and Suzhou) where the protection of historical and cultural heritage, as well as natural scenery, should be treated as a priority project.
The history of Guilin dates back to over 2,000 years ago. It became a town of strategic importance in south China when the first Emperor of the Qin Dynasty ordered digging a canal to link the Xiang River (which flows into the Yangtze River) and the Tan River (which flows into the Pearl River), thus connecting two of China's major waterways. Over the last few thousand years, generations of literary writers and poets have chanted out numerous pieces of verse and prose in its praise, many of which have been passed down to the present day thanks to various carvings and inscriptions on precipices.
Guilin cuisine is known for its snacks and the use of spices, especially chili. The famous Guilin chili sauce, Guilin lajiaojiang, used widely in cooking by locals, is made of fresh chili, garlic, and fermented soybeans, and is considered one of the city's three treasures . The other two of the three treasures are Guilin Sanhua Jiu, a variety of rice baijiu, or liquor distilled from rice; and Guilin pickled tofu.
Guilin rice noodles have been the local breakfast staple since the Qin dynasty and are renowned for their delicate taste. Legend has it that when Qin troops suffering from diarrhea entered this region, a cook created the Guilin rice noodles for the army because they had trouble eating the local food. Specifically, the local specialty is noodles with horse meat, but this dish can also be ordered without the horse meat. Zongzi, a dumpling made from glutinous rice and mung bean paste wrapped in a bamboo or banana leaf) is another popular delicacy in Guilin.
April to October
Seven Star Park, Seven Star Cave, Elephant Trunk Hill, Piled Festoon Hill, Reed Flute Cave, Longsheng Rice Terrace, Bear and Tiger Park, Solitary Beauty Peak, Yu Hill Park
Seven Star Park: Seven Stars Park, covering an area of more than 120 hectares (297 acres), is the largest comprehensive park with mass scenery in Guilin City. Located at the east bank of Li River, the park is 1.5 kilometers (0.9 mile) from the downtown area of Guilin. The park was so named because of the seven peaks (the four peaks of Putuo Mountain and three of Crescent Mountain) inside resemble the form of the Big Dipper constellation.
The park is endowed with elegant mountains, clear water, miraculous stone forest, deep and serene valleys, plentiful animals and plants and valued cultural relics. It has been popular since the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) Dynasties. The main sights contain Flower Bridge, Putuo Mountain, Seven Stars Cave, Camel Hill, Crescent Mountain, Guihai Stele Forest and Light of China Square. Flower Bridge, built in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), is the oldest bridge in Guilin.
Seven Star Cave: The Seven Stars Cave, also known as Qi Xia Cave and Bi Xu Cave, is located in the Seven Stars Park of Guilin in Guangxi Province. About 1,000,000 years ago, the area was an ocean. As time went by, the changing crust lift the channel up, so today, we can see the beautiful cave which was once under the ocean.
The cave is a special scenic spot, which has three floors. Each floor has pillars, stalagmites, stone flowers, and stalactites. In Sui and Tang Dynasty (581-907A.D.), this cave was a tourist destination; it also attracted great many literature giants. During the Sui Dynasty (581-618A.D.), people called it Qi Xia Cave, and its famous for its beauty.
Elephant Trunk Hill: Elephant Trunk Hill is located on the western bank of Li River. The shape of the hill is just like a huge elephant drinking water from the river with its trunk, so it is called Elephant Trunk Hill.
Shui Yue Cave (Water Moon Cave) is between the trunk and the legs, which is a semi-round cave penetrated by water. The inverted reflection of the cave in water plus the part above forms a full moon. This phenomenon is unique and many laudatory inscriptions were found on the wall inside the cave. Visitors can boat through the cave to the river. Another cave regarded as the eyes of the elephant lies in the hillside. It provides tourists an ideal position to enjoy the panoramic view of Guilin.
Piled Festoon Hill: Located by the Li River north of Guilin, Piled Festoon Hill is so named because it has eroded on all sides exposing the strata and creating the impression of piles of silk. The hill consists of Yuyue Hill, Siwang Hill, Crane Peak and at 223 meters, the tallest Bright Moon Peak. The site has been a tourist attraction for over a 1,000 years and tourists come to enjoy the many inscriptions and Buddhist sculptures mostly dating from the Sui and Tang dynasties (518-907AD). Some of the damage to these historical relics is a legacy of more recent Chinese history, the Cultural Revolution.
Reed Flute Cave: With its location five kilometers northwest of the downtown of Guilin, the Reed Flute Cave is a brilliant cave marked on almost all travel itineraries. The cave got its name from the verdant reeds growing outside it, with which people make flutes. Inside this water-eroded cave is a spectacular world of various stalactites, stone pillars and rock formations created by carbonate deposition. Illuminated by colored lighting, the fantastic spectacle is found in many variations along this 240-meter-long cave. Walking through the serried stone pillars, tourists feast their eyes on changing spots, feeling they are in a paradise where the Gods live. It is a chinese habit to give each formation a legendary or poetic name such as Crystal Palace, Dragon Pagoda, Virgin Forest, Flower and Fruit Mountain and other interesting names.
Longsheng Rice Terrace: The Longsheng Rice Terraces are located in Longsheng County about 100km (2 hours drive) from Guilin. The most popular rice terraces are: PingAn Rice Terrace and Jinkeng Rice Terrace.
Panorama of the Longji terrace, one of the Longsheng Rice Terraces.The terraced fields are built along the slope winding from the riverside up to the mountain top, the highest part being 880 m in elevation while the lowest part 380 m in elevation. The coiling line that starts from the mountain foot to up to the mountain top divides the mountain into layers of water glittering in the sun in spring, layers of green rice shoots in summer, layers of golden rice in fall, and layers of silvery frost in winter. The terraced fields were mostly built during the Ming Dynasty about 500 years ago.
Bear and Tiger Park: Bear and Tiger Park is the largest wild animal centre. Four breeds of tigers facing extinction can be seen there. Over three hundred tigers, four hundred bears and a hundred lions will give you a fresh idea of the survival needs of such wild animals. Also there are animal performances, which will surely excite kids and adults alike.
Solitary Beauty Peak: Solitary Beauty Peak is located in the ancient Mansion of Prince Jingjiang, in the center of Guilin City, Guangxi Province, with an area of 6,100 square meters (about 1.5 acres). Towering 216 meters (about 709 feet) above the sea level and 66 meters (about 217 feet) above the ground, this peak has been a major scenic site in Guilin since ancient times and is renowned as the 'Sky-Supporting Pillar in the South'. Composed of limestone from the shallow sea sediment biochemistry about 0.35 billion years ago, the peak got its name from the famous line in Southern Dynasty (420-589) literature, 'none can surpass this solitary peak in beauty'. When bathed in the dawn sunshine or afterglow, the peak seems to be wearing a purple gown and a golden belt, which is the origin of its other name 'Purple Golden Hill'.
Yu Hill Park: Boasting a large number of marvelous scenic spots, Yu Hill Park is one of the cradles of Guilin’s history and culture as well as the 8 popular sightseeing destinations in Guilin City.The Yu Hill Park is blessed with marvelous hills, mysterious carvings, holy temples as well as picturesque gardens.
In Yu Hill, there’re totally 65 ancient carvings, among which, a caving of Goddess of mercy with a history of 1,400 years is the most famous one. The construction of the park is really novel. It blends both traditional and modern construction features and represents eastern and western styles. The north of the park stands springs, waterfalls, flowers abounding with modern flavor. However, the restored Emperor Yu Temple, the Five Blessings Tower, the Safety Bell and Nine spheroids Heaven radiate ancient luster.
Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (KWL) is about 28 kilometers (about 17.4 miles) from the city center. About 50 airlines connect Guilin with domestic cities as well as foreign countries such as Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, etc. In particular, airlines schedule several flights daily to and from major cities in China like Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Guiyang, Haikou, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Kunming, Macau, Nanjing, Nanning, Qingdao, Sanya, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Taiyuan, Wuhan, Xian, Zhengzhou, Dalian, Shantou, Chengdu, Lanzhou, Tianjin, Jinan, Wenzhou, Changsha, Fuzhou, and Zhuhai.
The two stations--Guilin Railway Station (South Station) and Guilin North Railway Station (North Station)--are the two main railroad passenger transport stations in Guilin. Every day many trains arrive and depart, as Guilin City is the railroad hub of Central China and is in the central part of the Hunan-Guangxi Railway Line.
The Guilin Railway Station (South Station) is located at Zhongshan Road (South) to the south of the city center but is more conveniently situated than the North Station. City bus No.3, 4, 16 can take you there. The Guilin North Railway Station (North Station) is situated in the northern suburbs of the city and has less convenient links with the city center. If the train you take can stop at both railway stations in Guilin, it's better to get off at South Station where handy transportation to the surrounding places is available as well as trains connecting to China's major cities.
By Long-distance Bus
There are three bus stations: the Chief Bus Station, the Chengnan Bus Station and the Beimen Bus Station. The Chief Bus Station is at No.427 Zhongshan Road (South), just a 10 minutes' walk from the Guilin Railway Station (South Station). You can take city bus No.1, 3, 11, 22 or 51 to reach the Chief Bus Station. Most buses set off from this station for surrounding cities in Guangxi, Guangdong and Hunan provinces. The Chengnan Bus Station is located at Cuizhu Road and can be reached by city bus No.26 and 27. The Beimen Bus Station is at Zhongshan Road (North) and can be reached by city bus No.18.
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