Sun and Moon Pagodas, © Can Stock / Claudine
Visit Guilin – Li River Cruise
The main reason most people come to visit Guilin is for a Li River Cruise. Take a tour boat downstream from Guilin for 50 miles to Yangshuo. The Li River winds its way through unusual limestone karst formations that are the inspiration of many Chinese drawings. The peaks have vertical sides and rounded tops, making for scenery that is unique. Watch for water buffalo, rice paddies and fisherman on bamboo rafts using cormorants to fish for them.
Marble-bridge, © Can Stock / Lee Snider
Li River Cruising is typically done with large barges that have observation decks on the top. A Li River Cruise takes 2 hours downstream to Yangshuo. Tours typically allow some time to visit Yangshuo before returning to Guilin by bus. Floating on bamboo rafts is done starting at Yangshuo, so make sure you allow enough time if you want to do this too.
Li River near Guilin, © Can Stock / dashark
Visit Guilin – Sun & Moon Pagodas
The Moon and Sun Pagodas are on Shan Lake (Shanhu) in Guilin. The Sun Pagoda is 9 stories high and the Moon Pagoda is 7 stories high. The Moon Pagoda is reached by a bridge and the Sun Pagoda can only be accessed by an underwater tunnel from the Moon Pagoda. Walk along the lakefront of Shan Lake in the evening and enjoy the lights at night.
Mulong Lake, © Can Stock / shariffc
Visit Guilin – Elephant Trunk Hill
Elephant Trunk Hill is a popular destination for those who visit Guilin. The rock formation of this hill resembles an elephant dipping its trunk into the waters of the river below. The best way to see Elephant Trunk Hill is on a local Guilin boat tour. The Elephant Trunk is at the junction of the Li and Peach Blossom Rivers. Water Moon Cave is between the trunk and the elephant legs, but it isn’t really a cave. The cave is actually a hole that creates a great effect when the moon shines through it. Down river from Elephant Trunk Hill you will find Pagoda Hill and Tunnel Hill. Tunnel Hill includes a natural tunnel through the hill.
Li River Night Fishing, © Can Stock / QiangBa
Visit Guilin – Cormorant Fishing Tour
Take a Cormorant Fishing Tour on the river in Guilin. Spend nearly an hour on a boat drifting beside cormorant fishermen on their bamboo rafts. Cormorant birds are trained to catch fish. Ropes around their necks prevent the cormorants from swallowing the fish. That way the fisherman can keep the catch instead. The cormorants are rewarded with small fish for catching big ones.
Reed Flute Cave, © Can Stock / gringos
Visit Reed Flute Cave
Reed Flute Cave are a popular destination just outside town at Guangming Hill. These limestone caves have colorful lighting that has been added inside the cavern. The name reed flute refers to vegetation growing outside the cave.
Visit Guilin – City Caves
The city of Guilin has a number of caves that you can visit during your stay:
Folding Brocade Hill is formed from limestone that is folded like a brocade to form this hill. Enjoy views of the city and historical stone carvings. The site includes the Diecai Pavilion, Wind Cave and Cloud-Catching Pavilion.
Wave-Subduing Hill is at Fubo Hill in the city. Visit the Pearl-Returning Cave. See Buddhist sculptures from the Tang Dynasty in the Thousand Buddha Cave. Also see the Sword-Testing Rock. Find the tearoom on the southern slope of Fubo Hill. Stone stairs lead to the top of the hill and excellent views of Guilin. Halfway up is the Tingtao Pavilion (Pavilion of Listen-to-Waves).
Seven Stars Park has seven peaks said to correspond to the Big Dipper constellation. Visit Seven Star Cave here.
Li River Limestone Mountains, thanks Wikimedia
Visit Guilin – Jingjiang Princes’ City
Jingjiang Princes’ City is the remains of a 1300s Ming Dynasty rectangular fortification. The Jingjiang Princes’ City includes the Chengyuan Gate plus several halls and pavilions built around Solitary Beauty Hill. The Princes’ City is in downtown Guilin, while the related Jingjiang King Mausoleum Museum is just outside the city. The Mausoleum has several tombs, one of which is open to the public.
Lijiang Waterfall Hotel, Visit Guilin
Visit Guilin – Hotels
Hotels are very inexpensive in Guilin. Take advantage of the reasonable prices by enjoying top quality accommodation.
The Lijiang Waterfall Hotel sports a giant waterfall cascading from the roof top at set times. The hotel is a on Shan Lake with views of the Sun and Moon Pagodas. Rooms on the top floors have views of the Li River and the limestone karst mountains surrounding the valley.