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Guilin Sightseeings - Yangsuo, Shangri-La, Yulong River, Elephant Trunk Hill .... - Guilin Travel Guide
Update: 6/13/2008 2:10:00 PM Source: guiyang hotels




Guilin's unique natural and man-made landscapes provide an abundance of options for a never-ending and unforgettable lifetime journey. The Two-River and Four-Lake Water System coils the small city which re-creates the flourishing scenery of the Song Dynasty.  The classical attractions include the "Three hills, Two caves and One river" (referring to Diecai Hill, Fubo Hill and Elephant Trunk Hill, Reed Flute Cave and Seven-Star Cave, and the world-renowned Li River), which could be liken to the beautiful flowers giving off their enchanting fragrances. Whether you would like to take a dream vacation or plan to touch nature in person, you will be exceptionally surprised by what Guilin has to offer.
Humanity Attractions
West Street in Yangshuo
Situated in the center of Yangshuo County, West Street is the oldest street in Yangshuo with a history of more than 1,400 years. Over the last 20-some years, West Street has become a meeting place for eastern and western cultures, and the biggest 'foreign language center' in China. West Street is the most prosperous district in Yangshuo, and each year, approximately 100,000 foreigners come here as part of their travels or to attend advanced studies. Visitors are attracted to West Street by its unique mix of cultures.
West Street is 517 meters (1,696 feet) long and 8 meters (26 feet) wide, meandering in an 'S' along its length. Being completely paved with marble it is a typical example of a traditional southern China street. It is greatly admired by foreigners for its simplistic style and courtyard-like atmosphere. There is a saying about West Street that 'half is village while the other half is stores'.
Since being opened up to the outside world in 1978, West Street has received countless international travelers from all around the globe, and it has been reputed as the "Earth Village in China". Today, the 2000-meter long street is filled with stores, bars, cafes and hotels. Nearly all the inhabitants, old and young, in the street can speak simple English, and the street is regarded as the largest foreign language corner in China.
Yuzi Paradise
Founded in 1998, Yuzi Paradise is a 1320 acre art park devoted to contemporary sculpture and art by Internationally recognized artists. Set against the exquisitely beautiful mountains of Guilin Yuzi Paradise is dedicated to the promotion of contemporary art and culture in China. This "Fool's Paradise" is a fantasy world in which any visitor can experience both the power and the excitement of art and sculpture.

The creators of Yuzi Paradise spent almost ten years developing large-scale outdoor art projects prior to opening to the public in 2006. At a cost of millions of dollars, and with the help of curatorial staff and visiting artists from around the world, the park exhibits more than 200 sculptures by 140 artists representing 47 nationalities.Yuzi Paradise is home to a memorial museum and music garden for Theresa Teng, and a playful interactive outdoor sculpture installation called "Jimmy's Cartoon World."
Impression Sanjie Liu
This is a major production with a cast of 500 singers, dancers, bamboo boats and cormorants birds. However, the stand out performer is definitely the background scenery. The lighting of the Karst peaks is truly amazing and was our highlight.

The performance is based on a Chinese musical movie made in 1961. The story is about a lady named Liu Sanjie who lived in the city of Liuzhou where she worked in the tea fields. Liu sanjie was well-known for her great singing voice. Most of her songs were about the repression felt by her and the farmers from the local landlords who over taxed them. Eventually she had to leave Liuzhou for her own safety and came to Yangshuo.

Then under the Big Banyan Tree, Liu Sanjie tossed her love ball to her loved one, which he accepted and they lived together happily ever after.
Ling Canal
Located in northeastern Xing'an county, Guilin, the Ling Canal was first excavated during the 33rd year of Qing Shihuang's reign (214 B.C). It has been named Qing Zao Canal, along with Ling Canal and Xing'an Canal. Its history began when Emperor Qing Shihuang was leading his army into the south mountainous areas of China.
Due to inadequate supplies, he ordered that a tunnel be excavated to transport additional foods supplies. This resulted in the Xiang River (which is a branch of the Yangtze River) connecting with the Li River (which is a branch of the Pearl River). Making transportation and irrigation more convenient, the Ling Canal is constituted of two water-dividing dykes (known as ''Tianping'' in Chinese), which are contrasting in size. The larger dyke is 344 meters long, and the smaller is 130 meters long, while both are 2 to 2.4 meters in height, with widths measuring 17 to 23 meters. About seventy percent of the water flows through the north channel into the Xiang River and the other thirty percent flows into the south channel leading to the Li River. The north channel is 3.2 kilometers long and the south channel 33.15 kilometers long, both of which have a width of over 10 meters. To assist in draining away flood waters, spill ways were built along the watercourses in two sections along the south-channel and one along the north-channel. Also built along the watercourses are 36 sluice-gates, which can help control the volume of water and regulate the water level in order to guarantee normal navigation along the rivers. The Ling Canal is set amidst a karst geographical landscape where the rivers zigzag and wind around hairpin bends through gorgeous scenery.
The Ling Canal has an ingenious design, and was built using impressive technology and craft. The Ling Canal, together with Doujing Weir and Zhengguo Canal, is one of the three greatest water conservancies of the Qin Dynasty.
JingJiang Prince City
Located in the center of Guilin city, Jingjiang Prince's Residence (at present also named Guilin Prince City) is guarded by high walls and deep gate, with a solemn atmosphere.
Ancient Town of Daxu
Built in 200 A.D., the Ancient Town in Daxu is one of the ''four large rural market towns'' of ancient Guangxi. Lined neatly on both sides by well-preserved old houses, the ancient Daxu Street runs along the Li River for about 2 kilometers.
Still remaining in the ancient town are many old workshops, including ones for bamboo-weaving, and the production of grass shoes and traditional funeral articles. A Chinese folk medicine consulting office and an old hair dressing shop can also be found here. When they're not out reading books, the idle old people get together to drink tea and play cards, enjoying a quiet life on the street side, while watching and protecting the town's last ancient things remaining. Most of the houses along the stone paved road are two-storey Ming and Qing Dynasty buildings with gray bricks and tiles, as the swift changes of history can be seen everywhere. Equipped with a front door, skylight well, main room, wing-room and backyard, each house has a functional design combining business and living into one unit. If you go to Daxu, you cannot miss Longevity Arch Bridge. The stones on the surface of this Ming Dynasty arch stone bridge have been rubbed down to a very smooth and glossy state. The bridge is the best point to enjoy the scenery of the Snail Hill on the other bank of Li River to the west.
Ping'an Stockaded Village of Zhuang
 Located in Longsheng county 95 kilometers away from Guilin proper, the Longji scenic spot of Ping'an village can be reached by taking national highway 321 going from Guilin to Longsheng. First built during the end of the Ming Dynasty and the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, Ping'an has long been the key stockaded village for sight seeing in the Longji scenic area. This spot has become a highlight among travelers wishing to experience the folk customs of the Zhuang minority
The Mausoleum of Princes Jingjiang
The Jingjiang Mausoleum locates at the foot of Yao Mountain in the eastern suburb of Guilin, which had been passed down by Jingjiang emperor for 13 generations and among them 11 generations was buried on Yao Mountain, so it is the biggest ancient seignior's mausoleum group in China.

There are fourteen seigniors lived in Jingjiang Prince's Residence, the first one is Zhu Shouqian, because he was peremptory and arbitrary, implemented tyranny to the people, he was dispatched to the capital and dismissed, he died in Nanjing, and was buried in west part of Zhong Mountain in Nanjing; the thirteenth prince-Zhu Hengjia was captured in the lost battle and was house arrested until he's death in Fuzhou. The fourteenth prince Zhu Heng, abandoned Guilin city when it was invaded by Kong Youde, there is not any information about his later life. Others Zhu Zanyi, Zhu Zuojin, Zhu Xiangcheng, Zhu Guiyu, Zhu Yueqi, Zhu Jingfu, Zhu Bang , Zhu Renlv, Zhu Lutao, Zhu Rensheng, they all had built mausoleums on Yao Mountain, so it is called '' Jingjiang Eleven Mausoleums''. The layout of the mausoleums is of the same rectangle with different size, and guarded by two walls inside and outside. On the middle-axes there are the tomb gate, mid -gate, Sacrifice Hall and Underground Palace standing in order. The Spirit Way is opposite to the eleven pairs of memorial column, stone persons, stone animals, or with a spirit way stele.
The mausoleum in large size has about 210000 square kilometers, while small ones cover an area of 4600 square kilometers. Except the tomb of Diaoxi Seignior sits in the east and faces the west, others all sits along the mountain and faces all directions. Among them, the third Jingjiang Seignior Zhu Zuojin and his imperial concubine were buried together in 1984, and their mausoleum was rebuilt and added Tomb Gate, Mid-Gate, Jade-Sash Bridge, Sacrifice Palace and Wing-room on both side. On the tomb-buildings for the Seignior Zhuangjian there are green glazed tiles and red walls, looks solemn and quiet, displaying the style and features of the prince mausoleum in the former days, it has been opened up as the Jingjiang Prince Museum, and exhibits the historical objects unearthed from the tomb group.
The Forest of Steles in Guilin
These multitudinous stone inscriptions, found in the grottoes, have been widely acclaimed for their rich history, and cultural and artistic value. There goes the saying, "the most famous Forest of Steles in the north is The Forest of Steles in Xi'an, while in the south it is The Forest of Steles in Guilin''.
Jianshan Temple
Situated at the foot of Cloud-gathering Hill in the Moon Scenic Area of Yangshuo County, Jianshan Temple was first built in AC 713, and is Guilin's oldest temple. For over 1200 years, people have been coming here and burning incense sticks for Buddha and the other dieties.
Baimian Village of Yao
Baimian (White face) Yao Village is located in eastern Longsheng County, 96km from Guilin City and 200m from the "Red Army Cave". It can also be accessed by the National Highway 321 going from Guilin to Longsheng.
 A stele with rules inscribed on it dating back to the Qing Dynsty can be seen at the gateway of this maple tree-surrounded village. Also you can see the "Red Yao Pole"  erected in the front, which is one of the Yao's worshipping totem poles. Being one of earliest minority tourist scenic spots in Guilin, Baimian Village has been home to many Yao minority families for several generations.
The Li River is the highlight and climax of any journey to Guilin. The 54 km waterway of the twisty Li River between Zhujiang Pier and Yangshuo cuts between thousands of picturesque peaks.  Created by a stirring ''Movement of Mother Nature'', the most famous attractions along the Li River Cruise are the Waterfall near Yang Causeway, Misty scene of Langshi, Nine-Horse Fresco, Charming Reflection at Yellow-cloth Shoal and Xingping Wonderland. All of these make the Li River Cruise a perfect everlasting memory.
Two Rivers and Four Lakes
The Li River, Taohua River, Shahu Lake, Ronghu Lake, Guihu Lake and the newly dug Mulong Lake are all connected and linked together.  With waterway transportation, this comprises Guilin's central round-the-city water system, known as "Two Rivers and Four Lakes".  More than 1,000 years ago, a complete moat river system was formed in Guilin.  Water recreation and tourism had been highly fashionable during the Tang and Song dynasties.
However, as history took its course, the waterways were silted up, rivers and lakes were separated and hindered, water quality became bad and cultural relics were buried.  The great concept of Guilin on the water didn't exist any more.
At the turn of this century, the Two Rivers and Four Lakes made a come-back.   The recreated thousand-year old Waterway and its combination of historic and modern culture, Guilins galaxy of natural attractions and an ecological harmony between man and nature now all coexist. The wonderful scenery of the water city as described in a poem, "A thousand hills stand around the city, a river flows through it" has now reappeared.
Elephant Trunk Hill
As the emblem of Guilin City, it lies at the meeting point of the Peach Blossom and Li Rivers, with Zi Sandbank to the east across the Li.  Elephant Trunk Hill (Xiangshan) is the badge of Guilin City, and was given its name because the hill looks exactly like an elephant drinking from the river with its trunk. It is a masterpiece of karst landscape, composed of pure limestone deposited on the sea floor 360 million years ago.
Reed Flute Cave
Situated at the foot of Guangming Hill in northeastern Guiln, Reed Flute Cave got its name from the kind of reed growing immediately outside the cave entrance, which is used to make fine flutes.  It has been a tourist attraction for more than 1,000 years. Inside the cave, there are various stalagmites, stone curtains, stone flowers and stone pillars, which constitute a unique charm, making it known as a palace of natural art.
Fubo Hill
Fubo Hill stands solitarily by the Li River in downtown Guilin. A climb to the top of the hill offers visitors an extensive view of some charming scenery, including the sunrise over Yao Hill with Zizhou Islet enshrouded in the mist and Old Man Hill in the distance.
Seven-Star Park
It is one in the first batch of the highest level of National Tour Attractions which officially recognized by China National Tourism Administration. Also, it is the biggest and most comprehensive parks in Guilin with an area of 134.7 hectares. With its long history and lots of attractions, such as Camel Hill, Natural Stone Hall, Seven-Star Cave and Crescent Pavilion and so on, it had been a seeing highlight since Sui and Tang Dynasties.
Silver Cave
Located in the Maling Town, Lipu county, 85km from Guilin, 20km from Yangshuo county.
The Silver Cave tourist resort is a collection of natural and cultural scenery with vast fieldsin the front. The graceful Little Green Hill and the Zhaozhai Hill are lifting on the land, which make you forget to return. The Silver Cave is a stories Karst cave. At present, about 2km of cave is opened to tourists, including lower cave, grand hall and upper cave. It collects all kinds of stalactites formed in different geologic times. There are tens of fantastic spots in Cave, in which the representative ones are ''Music Screen'', ''Deep Moon Palace'', ''Flying Waterfall from Snow Hill''--calling ''Three Tiptops''; as well as ''Buddha Discussing'', ''Solitary Pillar'' and ''Pearl-decorated Umbrella''--alling ''Three Treasures''. The scenery of Silver Cave is well-known as grand, marvelous, mysterious and beautiful.
In the orient, the term Shangri-La refers to the ideal living place, the equivalent to heaven or Elysium in west countries. Throughout time, several completists have been bitterly seeking out their own Shangri-La. A beautiful landscape kingdom of Guilin, Shangri-La is located not far from Yangshuo (ten minutes by bus) along Guiyang Road. The place has a very natural feeling with an unsurpassable freshness. These following areas are available for your sightseeing:

Natural landscapes (silent waterways, natural caves, old trees and colorful peach trees etc.)

Primitive tribes (greeting guests, sacrifices, hunting, dancing and singing)

Folks customs (folks performances of Miao, Yao, Dong and Zhuang minorities)

Building show (miniaturized Guangxi-minority buildings and totems)
Longsheng Hot Springs
Longsheng Hot Springs, reputed as "a heaven of peace and happiness" and a "paradise on earth," is the centerpiece of the national park. Welling out from cracks in the rocks halfway up the mountain, the hot spring water is colorless, tasteless, pure and clear.
Dragon's Backbone Rice Terrace
In land of Pingxiang, located in the southeast of Longsheng County, Guangxi, there is a group of large-scaled rice terraces built into the hillside. Some of the terraces look like great chains, while others look like ribbons. They wind from the feet to the tops of the hills. The smaller ones are like snails and the bigger ones like towers. There are layers upon layers of terraces, high and low. The outline is very smooth, its scale enormous. Also known as "The champion of the terrace world", these are the Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces. By the way, Longsheng is also the gathering land for minorities like the Yao, Dong, Zhuang and Miao. The stockaded villages' backs face the hills and their fronts face the river. The Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces are 27 kilometers from Longsheng town, and 80 kilometers from Guilin city. The total area of this scenic spot is 66 square kilometers. The altitudes of the terraces vary between 300 and 1100 meters with sloping grades between 26 and 35 degrees. The steepest slope is 50 degrees. Although there are terraces everywhere in the mountainous areas of southern China, it is extremely rare to see a terrace as big as the dragon ridge terrace. Long Ji Mountain (the Dragon's Backbone Mountain) is a high mountain and its peak, Mao Er peak, is the highest in southeastern China.
The total area of the Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces is 1014 hectares, and the whole terrace is built on the hillside with its attitude ranging from 300 to 1100 meters. Layers of terraces swirl and climb up from the river valley to the tops of the cloud-shrouded hills. Everywhere there is mud, there are cultivated terraces. 
The core of the terraces is a vast land with area of two or three square kilometers. The Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces were built from the Yuan Dynasty to the beginning of the Qing Dynasty. They have already seen more than 650 years of history. The four seasons in the terraces have different features. Each season presents us with a different a miracle. It is funny that in this huge terraced world, the biggest block is not more than one Mu (Chinese acre. One Mu equals to 670 square meters.).
Zhuang and Yao people live in the Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces scenic spot, although mainly the Zhuang. Their clothing is unique. Here you can get the genuine feeling of Zhuang life. You can enjoy some dancing arts including pole dancing and lion dancing from the Zhuang, and reed pipe dancing from the Yao. Also, you may come across the local women combing their long hair in their traditional style. Aside from all of this, you can also enjoy the simple living rooms in the zhuang villages, pure Longji (dragon's backbone) tea and Longji wine.
Yulong River
Originating in Lingui County, 42.5km-long Yulong River, has attractions on both banks. The landscapes in the section from Yulong Bridge to Qing'e Ferry are the best.
Big Banyan Park
Situated near Gaotian Town along the Jinbao River, 7.5km south of Yangshuo, it is no exaggeration to say that the whole area, with its beautiful natural scenery, looks like a Chinese painting. In the center of the park, standing 17m high and taking up an area of 100sq m, is a big banyan tree with a history of 1400 years. It is said to be a meeting place for Sister Liu, a famous Zhuang-minority singing fairy, and Brother A'niu. Also, it was used as a background for the movie musical ??Third Sister of Liu??. Anyone who has seen the movie Sister Liu can??t forget the melodic songs and red embroidered balls. Looking like a mirror, the crystal clear Jinabao River flows through Big Banyan Park. The Orangutan Hill, Otter Cave, Camel Peak, and the villages with their crisscrossing fields, together comprise one of the best rural landscapes in the world. It is a natural phenomenon that the moon occasionally changes appearances from shady to bright, and from full to empty. But here, within just 15 minutes time, you can appreciate the shady, bright, full and empty states of the moon. Do you believe it? 1000m from Big Banyan Park is the famous Moon Hill. Here, the moon shape changes according to the different viewing angles, which emulate for you the phases of the moon.

Editor: canton fair

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