what to see in GUILIN & YANGSHOU
Guilin & Yangshuo
Guilin is regarded as the country's most picturesque city and ranks second on the top ten Chinese tourist destinations. Two crystal-clear rivers meander through the city, which is encircled by mountains with unusual and bizarre rock formations and caves. Movements of the earth took place about 200 and 180 million years ago thrusting the limestone sediments out of the sea bottom. They were forced upwards more than 200 meters to the surface. This karst formation was moulded through many years of erosion by the wind and rain to become the hills and rocks with unusual shapes. Guilin saw its first inhabitants in Qin Dynasty over 2,000 years ago and is currently home to 12 ethnic nationalities. Don't make Guilin your first stop in China, save it for the third or fourth leg of your journey. Guilin is so relaxed, with natural scenery to touch the soul. On arrival, take an evening stroll along the riverfront to enjoy the night view of Guilin.
ELEPHANT TRUNK HILL
Not far from Guilin's city center, Elephant Trunk Hill looks like a huge elephant stretching its trunk and drinking water, hence the name. Elephant Trunk Hill is the symbol of Guilin. If time permits, you can also visit Fubo Shan and Seven Star Park which is close by with its magnificant twin Pagodas. Take a night-time boat trip to see the city lights at their best, then wander around the night market to enjoy the delights of street food, or eat in one of Guilin's many restaurants.
LI RIVER CRUISE
The Li River boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in China and attracts thousands of visitors each year. The river cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo takes about 5 hrs. Cruising down the crystal clear river, you will see some extraordinary karst mountain peaks, bamboo forests lining the riverbanks, picturesque villages and fishermen in small boats. On our tours a delicious buffet lunch will be served on board the cruise boat.
The Li River cruise ends at Yangshuo and this is how most people come - by boat, although there is a regular bus service too. It's a great laid-back town set amid gorgeous limestone pinnacles. Yangshuo is perfect for exploring the sheer scenic beauty of the countryside and surrounding villages on a leisurely bike ride or electric scooter. Take a ride down the river on a bamboo raft or catch a local bus to explore ancient villages in the surrounding area.The famous West street in Yangshuo is lined with market stalls, cafes, bars and restaurants offering interesting Chinese/Western crossovers as well as western favorites such as pizzas, steaks or banana pancakes. At night, West Street is transformed. Grab an outdoor seat and watch the world go by whilst sipping cappuccino and listening to your favourite Blues or Jazz or even Bob Marley tune. If you fancy getting up early don't miss a visit to the colourful fresh market and join the locals for a noodle breakfast, or baozi steamed bun with a cup of warm soya milk.
THE REED FLUTE CAVE
Some of the most extraordinary scenery Guilin has to offer is underground. The Reed Flute Cave got its name from a kind of bamboo growing outside which can be made into melodious flutes. The cave is filled with a large number of fantastic stalactites, stalagmites, rocks in strange shapes all lit up in multi-coloured lighting also known as the "Art Palace of the Nature". Inside the cave there are more than 70 inscriptions written in ink, dating back to 792 AD during the Tang Dynasty.
EAT AND DRINK
Guilin's Three Treasures
Guilin cuisine is known for its snacks and the use of spices, especially chili. The famous Guilin chili sauce 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 liquor distilled from rice; and Guilin pickled tofu made from soya beans.
Guilin Mi Fen
Noodles made from rice. Traditionally the noodle and the topping is first eaten without soup, and once the topping has run out there is usually a pot of soup to add flavour to the rest of your noodles. There are also various pickles and condiments that you can add to your noodles. Guilin Mi Fen is also available in stir-fried form. Both are available everywhere in the region.
Ma Ti Gao
The literal translation is "Horse Hoof Cake". Rest assured that no part of this delicacy is made from any part of the horse. It is a crumbly cake stuffed with red beans filling.
A dumpling made from glutinous rice and bean paste wrapped in a bamboo or banana leaf. (picture on left)
IF YOU HAVE MORE TIME...
Bike riding around Yangshuo
Wandering through the countryside on a bike or electric scooter is one of the best things about Yangshuo. We offer many routes with or without a guide, depending on your choice. Whichever route chosen, one enjoys the breathtaking scenery and taste of life far removed from the concrete metropolis.The villages often have dramatic mountain backdrops, and the people are very friendly and keen to practice their English on you. Watch the cormorant fisherman and if time permits, ask our English speaking guide to take you further up-river and float down stream on the Yulong River on a bamboo raft.
Impressions of Liusanjie
An outdoor music and light performance of Chinese minorities directed by the internationally acclaimed Zhang Yimou featuring a cast of 500 wearing traditional Zhuang, Miao and Yao dress, and a highly impressive light show. The natural setting with the illuminated mountains is breathtaking and the experience a memorable one.
Longsheng Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces
Not to be missed, these ancient rice terraces are about 100km north of Guilin. The 60 sq km of terraced rice fields were first built in the Yuan dynasty (AD 1206 - 1368) and completed during the Qing dynasty (AD 1644 - 1911) by the Zhuang minority. The terraced fields are built along the slopes winding from the riverside up to the mountain top, irrigated from mountain top springs. The villages are built in wood and you can wander through the narrow streets and stop to eat in a local restaurant or ask your guide to arrange a home meal visit. Home to the Zhuang and Yao people, you can also experience their unique culture with singing and dancing. Women dress in colourful costumes and grow their hair from birth without ever cutting it