- We were in Guilin for 2 days in the middle of October 2018.
- Recommended number of days: 1 or 2.
- My score: 3/5.
The first destination advertised for tourist by the government itself back in 1949 is, as the name suggests, a city in its entirety, with more than one million inhabitants. So much that most of the time we can not see the famous peaks that we have heard so much about, but they do are in the city itself, which has grown up around them. It is not until we approach Li River, or until we climb one of the peaks that we will get to the idea of where we really are, a large city built on a vast plain, dotted with some of these karst mountains, but with hundreds of them in their limits:
- These nearby peaks have been properly fenced so that, like almost everything in China, we can not visit them without paying. Someone will say “I will see them from the outside”; indeed, that can be done, but each of them has been conditioned with stairs to climb to the top and have panoramic views, caves with statues and more or less ancient Buddhist engravings, gardens and some even have small zoos, so that if you do not enter, you have the feeling that you are missing out on the best. In our opinion it is not absolutely necessary to see them all because 1, they are very expensive and 2, they are all more or less the same. The deal is to look for photos and opinions and choose the one or the ones that most interests us. Some of the best rated are Lijiang Folk Customs Garden, Fubo Hill, Folded Brocade Hill (Diecai), Elephant Trunk Hill or Seven Stars Park, but there are several more. A good way to see many of them from the outside is to take a cruise around the city.
- Apart from seeing the peaks from the outside, is also free the park of Sun and Moon Twin Pagodas, which are truly beautiful at night, and some old towers.
- There is a famous cave, the Reed Flute, which, apart from its size and formations, is known for its artificial lighting, which some people consider wonderful, and others that look like a disco.
- Zhengyang is the main pedestrian street. Full of shops and restaurants, with stalls in its final stretch, is totally focused on tourism. It does not matter where you come from, as you get to this street you will hear people speaking your language. Immediately to the north there is a curious new shopping zone that have been built in the old style.
Although many prefer to stay in the quieter and more scenic Yangshuo, Guilin City is the place where 99% of tourists usually come willing to see the impressive karst mountains of this region of China. It is the starting point and the logical base to explore the prefecture, since not only is the better communicated city by plane, train and bus, it is also in the middle of the other points of interest: to the north are Longji rice fields and the southeast is Yangshuo. It is very unlikely that you do not spend a few hours or days here, so take advantage and enjoy it.
WHAT TO SEE
- ONE DAY ITINERARY: ELEPHANT TRUNK HILL, SUN AND MOON TWIN PAGODAS, ZHENGYANG STREET AND FOLDED BROCADE HILL (DIECAI)
- LI RIVER CRUISE TO YANGSHUO
- ONE DAY EXCURSION: LONGJI RICE TERRACES
- WHEN TO GO
- WHERE TO EAT, SLEEP AND GO SHOPPING
- DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES