'East or west, Guilin landscape is best!' Located in the northeast of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south China, Guilin is considered to be the pearl of China's thriving tourist industry on account of the natural beauty and historic treasures. Covering an area of about 27,800 square kilometers (10,734 square miles), the city is rather compact when compared with other major tourist cities in the country. The stunning landscape in which the city is situated has a kind of magic that is all its own. The strangely shaped hills or karsts, with the verdant vegetation ranging from bamboos to conifers together with crystal clear waters and wonderful caves make Guilin such an appealing destination. Guilin is also an important cultural city with a history of more than 2,000 years. The city has been the political, economic and cultural center of Guangxi since the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). You can refer to Guilin History to know more about the vicissitudes of the city.
1. Li River
The Li River cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo is the centerpiece of any trip to northeastern Guangxi Province. Gorgeous Karst peaks give you surprises at each bend of the limpid river under the blue sky. Water buffalo patrol the fields, peasants reap rice paddies, school kids and fisherman float by on bamboo rafts. With its breathtaking scenery and taste of a life far removed from the concrete metropolis, the scenery along the Li River become one of China's top tourist destinations.
2. Reed Flute Cave
With its location five kilometers northwest of the downtown of Guilin, the Reed Flute Cave is a brilliant cave marked on almost all travel itineraries. The cave got its name from the verdant reeds growing outside it, with which people make flutes. Inside this water-eroded cave is a spectacular world of various stalactites, stone pillars and rock formations created by carbonate deposition. Illuminated by colored lighting, the fantastic spectacle is found in many variations along this 240-meter-long cave. Walking through the serried stone pillars, tourists feast their eyes on changing spots, feeling they are in a paradise where the Gods live.
3. Elephant Trunk Hill
Elephant Trunk Hill is located on the western bank of Li River. The shape of the hill is just like a huge elephant drinking water from the river with its trunk, so it is called Elephant Trunk Hill. Shui Yue Cave (Water Moon Cave) is between the trunk and the legs, which is a semi-round cave penetrated by water. The inverted reflection of the cave in water plus the part above forms a full moon. This phenomenon is unique and many laudatory inscriptions were found on the wall inside the cave. Visitors can boat through the cave to the river.
4. Seven Stars Park
Seven Stars Park, covering an area of more than 120 hectares (297 acres), is the largest comprehensive park with mass scenery in Guilin City. Located at the east bank of Li River, the park is 1.5 kilometers (0.9 mile) from the downtown area of Guilin. The park was so named because of the seven peaks (the four peaks of Putuo Mountain and three of Crescent Mountain) inside resemble the form of the Big Dipper constellation.