Guilin

City Overview

Guilin is a city in southern China known for its dramatic landscape of limestone karst. At its centre are 2 lakes, Cedar and Banyan, remaining from a Tang Dynasty moat that once surrounded the city. Boat tours travel through these and other lakes via connected rivers. On Cedar Lake's shore, twin pagodas, the Sun and Moon, light up the sky at night. Its name means, "Forest of Sweet Osmanthus", owing to the large number of fragrant Sweet Osmanthus trees located in the city. The city has long been renowned for its scenery of karst topography and is one of China's most popular tourist destinations.

Weather

Guilin has a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate with short, mild winters, and long, hot, humid summers. Winter begins dry but becomes progressively wetter and cloudier. Spring is generally overcast and often rainy, while summer continues to be rainy though is the sunniest time of year. Autumn is sunny and dry. The monthly 24-hour average temperature ranges from 7.9 °C (46.2 °F) in January to 28.0 °C (82.4 °F) in July, and the annual mean is 18.84 °C (65.9 °F). The annual rainfall is just above 1,900 mm (75 in), and is delivered in bulk (~50%) from April to June, when the plum rains occur and often create the risk of flooding. With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 14% in March to 53% in September, the city receives 1,487 hours of bright sunshine annually.

Transportation

Public buses serves Train Station, Long Distance Bus Station and central city downtown. The ticket fare is 1RMB/ride for normal bus, 2RMB/ride for air-conditioning bus and all the bus starts with "5"(for example "58") are free.

The tourist bus (AC-double deck bus) is an opened tourist line which serves the some of the city's main tourist attractions including the Elephant Trunk Hill, Binjiang Road, Fubo Hill, and Folded Brocade Hill. Each bus has a guide on board.

Dining

Guilin cuisine is known for its snacks and the use of spices, especially chili. Guilin chili sauce is used widely in cooking by locals, is made of fresh chili, garlic, and fermented soybeans, and is considered one of the city's Three Treasures. The other two of the Three Treasures are Guilin Sanhua Jiu, a variety of rice baijiu, or liquor distilled from rice; and Guilin pickled tofu.

Guilin rice noodles
Guilin rice noodles have been the local breakfast staple since the Qin dynasty and are renowned for their delicate taste. Legend has it that when Qin troops suffering from diarrhea entered this region, a cook created the Guilin rice noodles for the army because they had trouble eating the local food. Specifically, the local specialty is noodles with horse meat, but this dish can also be ordered without the horse meat. Zongzi, a dumpling made from glutinous rice and mung bean paste wrapped in a bamboo or banana leaf is another popular delicacy in Guilin.

Shopping

The lovely tourist city Guilin is able to offer you an unique and interesting shopping experience with its numerous small streets and flea markets. Shoppers in Guilin can purchase anything from tea and clothing. There three major shopping districts in Guilin City: Zhong Shan Road and Zheng Yang Pedestrian Street (Walking Street) located in the city's centre, and Wa Yao Wholesale Shopping District in southern Guilin. West Street in Yangshuo County offers some unique items that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Nightlife

Nightlife in Guilin is as attractive as its natural beauty. From modern nightclubs, romantic night cruise to folk customs centre on the Li River, travellers can enjoy or relax themselves thoroughly.

Highlight Attractions

Reed Flute Cave

With its location five kilometres 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 coloured 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.

Li River

Originating from Mao'er Shan (Mountain Cat) in Xing'an county, north of Guilin, the Li River winds its way south for about 437 km, passing through Guilin City, Yangshuo County, Pingle County and Zhaoping County, and finally meets the Xi (West) River at Wuzhou. It boasts the largest and most beautiful scenic area in China and attracts thousands of visitors each year.

The 83-kilometer-long waterway from Guilin City to Yangshuo County is like an artist's masterpiece. The landscape is decorated with startling hills, steep cliffs, fantastic caves and farming villages, and is lined with bamboo. In a Chinese poem it is written: "The River is a green silk ribbon, and the hills are jade hairpins". Most cruises starts from Zhujiang Wharf. It is about 40 minutes' drive from Guilin city. Then a 4 hour cruise will take you to the beautiful and fascinating county town of Yangshuo.

Longsheng Rice Terrace

The Longji or call Longsheng Rice Terraces are located in Longsheng County, about 100 km (2 hours' drive) from Guilin city. The most popular are Ping An Rice Terrace and Jinkeng Rice Terrace. The terraced fields are built along the slope winding from the riverside up to the mountain top, the highest part being 880 m in elevation while the lowest part is 380 m. The coiling line that starts from the mountain foot up to the mountain top divides the mountain into layers of water glittering in the sun in spring, layers of green rice shoots in summer, layers of golden rice in fall, and layers of silvery frost in winter. At its beginning of Yuan Dynasty, the terraced fields were mostly built during the Ming Dynasty, about 500 years ago.