Visiting Guilin is a dream destination even for those who live in China. The location of the city set against karst topography in the background and the peaceful Li River in the foreground makes this one of the most scenic destinations in the country. The river is also dotted with scenic lakes and the streets of the city are lined with the fragrant osmanthus trees that perfume the air. Most of the best sites to see in the city are within easy cycling distance of the major hotels, which means you won’t have to wait for buses or call a taxi to take you to the various venues.
The steep climb to the peak of the Solitary Beauty Park is well worth it in the panoramic view of the city that results. Some of the other hills from which you also have a breathtaking view include the Wave-Subduing Hill where you will be able to see the Buddhist carvings in the walls of the Returned Pearl Cave. From the top of the Folded Brocade you have a view of some of the restored pavilions that date back to the Ming Dynasty.
Guilin is home to one of the original tourist attractions in China – the Seven Stars Park. As a venue for sightseers it dates back to the time of the Sui Dynasty and has been amazing tourists ever since. The park spans 137 hectares and offers paths where you can take a leisurely stroll and caves just waiting to be explored.
The East Gate of the city is part of the city wall that was constructed during the Song Dynasty. This is one of the sites for which you will need to take a bus. The gate is located on the Northeastern edge of Mulong Lake Park where you will also see the reconstruction of a pagoda as it would have existed at the time of this dynasty.
You just have to make time to visit the Reed Flute Cave with its spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. The name of the cave comes from the clumps of reeds that grew at the entrance and were used for making musical instruments.
The scenery of Shan Lake and the Sun and Moon Pagodas will remain in your memory long after you return home from your visit to Guilin. Take a stroll around the lakes that are connected by means of an underwater tunnel. The Sun Pagoda is the highest copper pagoda in the world and only one of a few where you can take an elevator to the top.
You can take a tour of the Tow Rivers and Four Lakes that will take you along the Li River and back to the center of the city in about one and a half hours. Or if you want to take longer to enjoy the sights there is a four hour tour of the river that includes a lunch and a bus ride. You can also take a ride on a bamboo raft on this river from which you will have a close up view of the hill named the Elephant Trunk.
There is no doubt that your visit to Guilin will be the one you will talk about for years.