Guilin is in Guangxi province in the south west of China.The city became famous for its sweet smelling trees but mostly for its iconic scenery. It’s set between enormous odd shaped mountains, resembling a child’s drawing. They are narrow and tall, located along the Li River.
I spent just under 48 hours in Guilin, which is a major tourist location so there was lots to do, most famously the Elephant Trunk hill. You can take photos from one side of the lake or cross over the bridge and go up into the mountain. It is all set up with paths and steps, though that doesn’t make it an easy climb it is mostly accessible to vulnerable groups. It costs 70¥ to enter into the site, which was one of the cheaper tourist destinations in Guilin.
Another beautiful site I would recommend is the Solitary Beauty Peak, which sits right in the centre of town. Though this mountain was a little more expensive, it was worth it as there was more to see and do. It cost 120¥. It’s probably called solitary as its the only mountain for a few miles. The mountain sits within a walled area, which was formally the residence of great nephew of the first emperor of the Ming dynasty. During this dynasty 14 kings lived here over 12 generations. These days its owned by Guilin Normal University, which still allows visitors. One of the most interesting buildings within the park was the examination house, which originally scholars would come from all across the province to sit an exam to try and move up ranks within the local powers, with the aspiration to one day join the emperor’s court as an advisor. Also worth visiting is the cave within the mountain, to see the wall carvings of 60 God Jiazhi. All the information was in Chinese but what I assumed thanks to the years below the carvings was that the gods corresponded to the year you were born, they act as your guardian.
I spent a little more than 24 hours in Guilin before taking a boat trip down the Li River to Yangshuo, a small town set between the mountains. The day I left was cloudy so the photos didn’t turn out very well, but luckily it didn’t rain.
Yangshuo is much smaller and more local, however over the last couple of years it’s become famous among tourists. I was shocked how many foreigners I met here. I saw more foreigners than an average day in Beijing, which for the size was shocking.
Due to the size of the town it’s really easy to get around and even escape into the mountains for a few hours. Along the main high street there are countless bike and scooter rentals, where a bike is 10¥ and a scooter is 50¥ for the day.
I took a few hours and rode along the Li River, which was quite close to where I stayed. However, I later found out the Dragon River (or Long River) is considered the most beautiful. Once I found this out I had run out of time is Yangshuo, though for anyone visiting I would recommend heading along the Long River instead, as I googled it when I got back to Beijing and it looks beautiful.
To get back to Guilin International Airport from Yangshuo there is a very easy bus to catch from the centre, which leaves every 2 hours. I paid ¥50 for the ticket from my hostel reception to get picked up there and taken to the bus terminal.
Have you been anywhere recently? What did you think of Guilin or Yangshuo? Leave a comment ♥