- We were here: 4 days in the middle of October 2018.
- Number of days required: minimum 3, but perfectly we could spend twice as much time.
- My score: 5/5.
Karst landscape never disappoints in terms of beauty: with impossible peaks, the shape of the mountains in this area is surreal. In Guilin mounts seem innumerable; you never get tired of looking at them because they are all spectacular and different in sizes and shapes, dozens of them, row after row, each one more picturesque. Once I heard that someone defined them as “giant teeth of all kinds of animals”, and I think that description does not go wrong.
We speak of Guilin because it is the city-prefecture that encompasses all the famous points of tourist interest. It is in Guangxi province, south of China, and has hundreds of kilometers in length:
- Guilin City. It is the logical base point to visit the prefecture, since it is the best communicated area both by train and by plane, it is in the center and is the starting point for Li River cruise. Itself it is a proper city and very touristy (it was the first place to be officially promoted for tourism by the government), which makes it lose its charm, but it still has interesting points to occupy at least one full day, although it is true that many are similar to each other.
- The Li River cruise is the star, and not just prefecture’s: leisurely traveling by boat the river marveling us with the vision of the mountains is one of the great attractions in the country, and a mandatory stop on any trip to China.
- Yangshuo. When hordes began to invade Guilin City, backpackers moved to Yangshuo, which was more beautiful as far as landscape is concerned and much less traveled as it is worse communicated. Today it has become what Guilin was 20 years ago; Although smaller, its soul has also been sold to tourism, but what does not change are its surroundings, which were and still are more scenic and recondite than those of Guilin City. That is why dedicating a few days to explore its surroundings by bicycle is one of the main activities to be carried out in the town.
- Traditional villages inhabited by ethnic minorities are very common in northern Guangxi. It is a good place to meet these people and their customs before they are absorbed by progress.
- Lonji rice terraces are the other great attraction in the province. They are considered the best in the country along with those of Yuanyang, and are among the most photographed in the world; It is a spectacular landscape that also has its own beauty according to the time of year. Although not very accessible, tourism is already starting to arrive, so it is better to go before road communications improve.
We visited Guilin almost at the end of our trip, and after having seen much of the country, it was one of the places we liked most. Good examples of mountains of the same type are Halong Bay in Vietnam, Krabi and PhiPhi in Thailand, Palawan in the Philippines, Viñales in Cuba or many others in China itself, such as Hua, Huang, Zhangjiajie or Chongqing’s Wulong Karst mountains, but even if you have seen many, Guilin will surprise you, at least it happened to us. And if you go to the rice paddies, the experience will be magnificent.