Stunning Guilin: Legends of the Limestone Peaks and Caves

Beyond Yangtze

Famous for its unique landscape and breath-taking scenery, Guilin sits on the banks of the Li River in north-eastern China.  It is a popular tourist destination for its gorgeous vistas.   From sculpted rice terraces, to flowing rivers and picturesque lakes, this scenic district has much to offer.   Guilin is most famous for its iconic limestone mountains and caves, which are truly unique in the world.  In the Reed Flute Cave, limestone formations are said to resemble animals, and the Elephant Trunk Hill right on the river has become a symbol of the town itself.   Make sure to bring your camera, for the views from the top of Solitary Beauty Peak are unparalleled, and the pretty Moon and Sun Pagodas in the centre of Guilin provide a pretty lakeside landscape.  The best way to experience the beauty of Guilin is by taking a river cruise down the Li, where the limestone mountains and flowering forests surround you on all sides.

Travel Itinerary

Day 1:   When you arrive in Guilin, you will be met by your local guide, and escorted to your hotel.  Spend the rest of the day relaxing before exploring one of the most beautiful landscapes in China.

Day 2:   In the morning, your guide will escort you to the Seven Star Park in Guilin, where seven peaks of two limestone mountains are configured just like the stars in the Big Dipper constellation.  The park is a striking natural preserve, which has been a popular with visitors since the 1st century.  It is a lovely area of forests, gardens and pavilions, and you will visit the Flower Bridge, which was built during the Song dynasty nearly a thousand years ago.  Then, your guide will bring you to Elephant Trunk Hill, which got its name from its resemblance to an elephant taking a drink of water.  In the afternoon, you will visit Reed Flute Cave, and you will be entertained by a stunning light show deep amongst the stalagmites and stalactites.  The cave itself is more than 180 million years old, and it was named for the reeds which grow just outside, once carved into pretty flutes.

Day 3:   Today, you will embark on a picturesque riverboat cruise down the Li River to the village of Yangshuo.  It is the best way to view the misty hills, limestone mountains and bamboo forests that have made Guilin so famous.  You will enjoy a nice lunch on your leisurely cruise, before you disembark in Yangshuo for a free afternoon of shopping.  Make sure to visit West Street, which has been a main trading street here for more than 1,400 years.  After dinner, take part in a performance of the Zhang Yimou folk musical “Impression Liu Sanjie“, where 600 singers and dancers perform outdoors against the stunning backdrop of the river and the mountains.

Day 4:   In the morning, you will drive back to Guilin, where you will catch your flight for Chongqing to start your three-night Yangtze cruise down the historic river.