Guilin Attractions - Top sightseeing and things to see  
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Guilin Attractions - Top sightseeing and things to see

Banyan Lake (Rong Hu) and Fir Lake (Shan Hu)
Banyan Lake (Rong Hu) and Fir Lake (Shan Hu) are two beautiful lake parks conveniently located in the center of Guilin! Banyan Lake is on the west side of Zhongshan Road and is named after the surrounding banyan trees, including an ancient banyan tree (800 years old) on its northern shore. Fir Lake is to the east, south of Shanhu Bei Road.

These two lakes were originally the southern section of the moat that protected the ancient city of Guilin. An ancient south gate to the city is on the northern shore of Banyan Lake.

How to get there: Located on both sides of Zhongshan Bei Road at Ronghu Bei Road and Shanhu Bei Road, the lakes are accessible by taxi or on foot from most points in the city.

Fuli Village
Just across the Li Jiang River from Yangshuo is the town of Fuli, a small, quaint village with stone houses and cobbled streets.

The village is famous for its litchi fruit which is available throughout the year, but most plentiful in early summer around June.

How to get there: River trips can be organized from Yangshuo for around RMB40 (bargain!) or you can rent inner tubes from cafes in town for a few RMB a day. Cyclists can take the bridge south of the Green Lotus Peak across to Fuli.

The Ling Canal (Ling Qu)
The Ling Canal (Ling Qu) in Xing'an County, has an interesting and ancient history. Construction of the canal was begun by the first Emperor of China with the aim of supplying his troops and uniting the empire.

The canal is a masterpiece of China's ancient irrigation methods and is one of the oldest canals in the world. The area makes for a nice day trip if you like hiking or visiting ancient Chinese ruins.

How to get there: The market town of Xing'an, the seat of Xing'an County, is about 70 kilometers north of Guilin and reachable by a two hour bus that departs from the long distance bus station daily at 11:30 am. Xing'an can also be reached by train from Guilin as well as by minibuses that leave from the Guilin Railway Station.

Seven Star Park
Seven Star Park is one of the best urban parks in China and has something for just about everyone.

The park is named after the seven peaks located throughout here that are shaped like the Big Dipper constellation. Amongst the peaks are several explorable caves, including "Seven Star Cave", which are quite famous for having stalagmites, stalactites and other natural formations that resemble animals and landscapes.

The rest of this fantastic park is filled with trees and gardens. With its beautiful peaks, caves and gardens, this park has enough to keep any visitor entertained for hours.

You may wish to avoid the park zoo however, as conditions in Chinese zoos can be upsetting for animal lovers.

How to get there: Take Bus No. 9, 10, or 11 from the railway station.
Open: 7:00am-9:30pm daily.
Admission Tickets: RMB20 for Seven Star Park, RMB25 for Seven Star Cave.

Yangdi Village
The most beautiful and unique peaks are along the Lijiang River between Yangshuo and Yangdi Village, which is about a third of the way to Guilin from Yangshuo. Look for "Crown Rock", "Mandarin Ducks Play in the Water", "Nine Horses Mountain", "Screw Mountain", "Mural Hill" and many other strange and fascinating peaks along the way to Yangdi.

How to get there: This trip can be cut short by taking a boat to Yangdi and then doing part of the return trip by bus, with a total time of around 6 hours. The price of the tour varies by season, at around RMB30 in the Winter and RMB60 or more in the Summer. Be sure to bargain and shop around (as some local travel agencies can charge as much as RMB100 for the trip to Yangdi).

Elephant Trunk Hill
Elephant Trunk Hill (Xiangbishan) is one of the Lijiang River's most famous sights. The hill is situated on the western bank of the Lijiang River, to the southeast of Guilin.

It looks like an elephant, dipping its snout into the Lijiang River, hence the name "Elephant Trunk Hill". This sight is very representative of the landscape around Guilin and is a symbol of Guilin itself. A park and a Ming Dynasty pagoda are found on and around the Elephant Trunk Hill.

How to get there: A boat can be hired to take you to Elephant Trunk Hill for to RMB20-RMB40. This area can also be reached by bike from Guilin.
Admission Tickets: RMB15

Green Lotus Peak (Bilian Feng)
Green Lotus Peak (Bilian Feng) is Yangshuo's most prominent peak and stands near the the Li Jiang River in the southeast area of the town.

The north face of the peak is said to be relatively flat, resembling a Chinese bronze mirror (a geomantic tool for redirecting misfortune and bad feng shui) and therefore the peak is also known as Bronze Mirror Peak (Tongjing Feng).

There is a train leading up the mountain on the northwest side.

How to get there: The peak is reachable by bike or on foot from most areas of the village.

Moon Hill (Yueliang Shan)
About an hour bicycle ride southeast of Yangshuo, is Moon Hill (Yueliang Shan). The fantastic views from the top have made this hill one of Yangshuo's best attractions! Moon Hill has a natural round cave at the peak and from a distance, the cave (a hole in the peak) resembles the moon, hence the name.

Moon Hill Village can also be seen from Moon Hill's peak. Local villagers will offer guided tours of Moon Hill and the surrounding peaks, caves (see below) and villages for relatively reasonable prices (RMB50-100 for one day). They are quite friendly and may even offer you lunch at their home as part of the tour.

Between the village and Moon Hill, stands a Banyan tree that according to legend, was planted in the Jin Dynasty, about 1,500 years ago. While impressive and very old, up close you will find it is just an old tree and not particularly inspiring!

On the way to or back from Moon Hill, it is great fun to explore the nearby caves. The Black Buddha New Water Caves and the Black Dragon Caves are lots of fun for those who love a little adventure. The Black Dragon Caves tour is partly by boat and requires some wading. This expedition takes you through some great underground swimming holes so go prepared to get wet and dirty! The caves are only open in the summer and tours cost as much as RMB100, but you can bargain (especially when part of a larger group) and it is very much worth it.

How to get there: By bicycle, take the main road leaving Yangshuo and take a right heading south. Travel for less than an hour (10 kilometers one way) and you'll see Moon Hill on your right. Moon Hill is also reachable by car or mini-bus from Yangshuo via the highway.

Solitary Beauty Peak (Duxiu Feng)
Solitary Beauty Peak (Duxiu Feng) is one of Guilin's most prominent karst peaks and is located in the city center.

If you are willing to make the 306 step trek to the peak, you will be rewarded with fantastic views of Guilin, the Lijiang River, and the surrounding peaks. However, the stairs are very steep and reaching the top can be dangerous. Depending on the weather and your experience level, it may be best to explore only part of the way.

The stairs to the peak start from a Ming dynasty palace on the eastern side of the peak, where a RMB4 entrance fee is charged.

Open: 8:00am-5:00pm daily.
How to get there: From the Guilin Railway Station, Bus No.1 reaches the west side entrance and Bus No. 2 goes along the eastern side of the peak.

Folded Brocade Hill (Diecai Shan)
Folded Brocade Hill (Diecai Shan) is one of Guilin's most climbable peaks situated very close to the city center in the northeast of Guilin, near the Lijiang River. The thin shape of the hill and lush greenery around make it resemble brocaded fabric.

Countless Chinese character inscriptions decorate the stone sides of the hill and the area around the path leading to the top. Some other sights here include Wind Cave, with its Buddhist carvings and inscriptions, and "Cloud-catching Pavilion" on Moon Peak, where you can get a clear view of the city.

Solitary Beauty Peak and Wave-subduing Hill can be seen from Folded Brocade Hill.

The Hill is not very high and can be climbed in a half an hour to an hour.

Open: 8:00am-6:00pm daily.
How to get there: Bus No. 1 to Folded Brocade Hill.
Admission Tickets: RMB13

Lijiang River Tours
River tours between Guilin and Yangshuo are an extremely popular way to see the natural scenery along the river, which is some of the best in China. However, the tours can be on the expensive side with a one way ride to Yangshuo costing about RMB360 and some trips costing as much as RMB500 (but including a bus ride back to Guilin). These prices also include lunch on the boat.

Tickets can be booked through many hotels or bought at the ticket office on Binjiang Road near the Lijiang River and south of Fir Lake. The boats leave in the early morning at about 8 or 8:30 am and hotel shuttles to the dock typically leave at 7:30am.

As the best sections of natural scenery are near Yangshuo, if you plan to spend a lot of time in Yangshuo, then you may wish to skip the Guilin Lijiang River tour and take one of the minibuses that leave Guilin South Railway station, where trains from Beijing and Shanghai (and all destinations north) arrive. The bus should cost you RMB5 and this is the most convenient way to reach Yangshuo.

River Tour : RMB300

Reed Flute Cave (Ludi Yan)
Reed Flute Cave (Ludi Yan) contains some of the most extraordinary underground scenery in all of China.

The natural rock formations in the cave make up several scenes including "Primitive Forest", "Crystal Palace", and "Flower and Fruit Mountain". While the multi-colored lighting may be annoying, the caves are really quite impressive.

You can either follow one of the tours that go through the cave every 20 minutes, or take your time rejoining a tour later on.

Reed Flute Cave is located on the northwest outskirts of Guilin, 5 kilometers away from the downtown area. Tickets into the cave cost RMB45 and it is well worth it.

How to get there: Take Bus No. 3 from the Railway Station to the cave.
Open: 8:30am to 11am and 12:30 to 3:30pm daily.
Admission Tickets: RMB45

Wave Subduing Hill (Fuboshan)
Wave Subduing Hill (Fuboshan), yet another of Guilin's karst mountains, has one of the most unique and interesting shapes of all the hills around here and contains many interesting sights. The mountain itself resembles a wave reaching up to the sky and descending down into the river.

The sights on the hill include a temple to the Wave Subduing General (Fubo Jiangjun), after whom the hill is named. Elsewhere on the hill, Returned Pearl Cave and Thousand Buddhas Cave are also great places to see some Tang and Song Buddhist statues. Lastly, the Wave Listening Pavilion, on the southeast cliff of Fuboshan, is a great place to view the surrounding area. Built in 1964, while not ancient, the Pavilion is a great place to relax and take in the natural beauty of the Guilin area.

How to get there: Bus No. 2 takes you near to the hill or you can reach it by bicycle.
Admission Tickets: RMB10

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