Guilin is home to a myriad of incredible sights ranging from elaborate pagodas and intricately crafted statues to gorgeous bridges and century-old pavilions. While those are all worth checking out, sometimes you just need to get away from the hustle and bustle and spend time appreciating nature. Here are six of the most stunning natural landscapes in Guilin that you just can’t miss.
Tucked within the Jingjiang Prince City compound, this mountain is a blissful retreat from the hustle of downtown. Whole poems and songs have been written for this little mountain, known for it’s steep precipice and lush vegetation. One poet once wrote that the beauty of the peak is so unique that other nearby mountains are not on par with it, hence it’s name, “Solitary Beauty.” Scurry up to the summit for unobstructed views of the city and the rivers below.
One of the best places for an unobstructed 360-degree view of town, Old Man Mountain (Laorenshan) is a popular hike, particularly among octogenarians in the wee hours of the morning. It’s a steep, 30-minute ascent to the top, but on a clear day the views are divine.
It’s hard to miss this the Li – it cuts right through downtown. Starting in Cat Mountain in Xinan County, the river winds down to its outlet in the Gonchen River. Hop aboard a boat – tour operators range from bamboo rafts to massive vessels – and take in the gallery of rolling hills, karst peaks, placid blue water, and trickling waterfalls. You may even see cormorant fishermen and swimmers who don’t mind brisk waters.
Stalactites, and stalagmites, and stone pillars, oh my! Reed Flute Cave, just north of town, is a water-eroded cave system known for having rock formations that, depending on the angle, could look like mythological creatures or other images. Sure, the multi-colored neon lights employed by the cave to light up the walls aren’t particularly natural, but they do add to the wonder of the cave system.
On the confluence of the Li River and Peach Blossom River, this rock formation has long been a tourist hotspot because it looks like an elephant stretching its trunk out to drink from the waters below.
Spanning 134 hectares, Seven Star Park is the biggest park in Guilin and it packs oodles of natural features within its walls. It gets its name from the seven peaks residing in the park (the four peaks on Putuo Mountain and three on Crescent Mountain) that together resemble the Big Dipper constellation.
It’s also home to Camel Hill (which in the spring is covered in plum blossoms), the Seven Star Cave system, and tons of mischievous monkeys.