Top 5 Breathtaking Attractions To Visit When On Your Incredible Private Guilin Tour

World-renowned for the stunning karst landscape that surrounds it, Guilin is considered one of the most picturesque metropolises in China. Located in the northeastern part Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, it was once the capital city of the region and has a rich history spanning over 2,000 years. Guilin translates into “Forest of Sweet Osmanthus”, referencing the large number of fragrant sweet osmanthus trees that dot the region. Here are the top 5 breathtaking attractions to visit while on your incredible private tour of Guilin.

Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces

Located about 100 km from Guilin in Longsheng County, is the sensational Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces. Offering some of the most breathtaking scenery in China, this vast region of rice terraces covers an area of roughly 66 square km. The terraced fields coil along the slopes of the mountainous region, have an altitude between 600 to 800 m (2000 to 2600 ft) above sea level. The name of the attraction stems from the fact that the top of the mountain range in the region resembles the backbone of a dragon.

Many ethnic groups reside within the area of the rice terraces including the Zhuang, the Miao, and the Dong, the Yao people. During the Yuan dynasty (1271 to 1368), the Zhuang people began construction on the Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces. The Yao people also contributed to the construction of the rice terraces over the centuries. They were finally completed during the early Qing dynasty (1644 to 1911), and are still cultivated to this day.

Numerous villages belonging to both the Zhuang and Yao ethnic groups dot the area that comprises Dragon Backbone. The most popular areas are around Ping’an (home to the Zhuang), and the Jinkeng area (home to the Yao). The terraced fields surrounding Ping’an are the oldest and most developed in the entire region. In addition, this section is most popular with tourists.

(Photo: Wikipedia)

Elephant Trunk Hill

Located at the junction of the Li River and Taohua River in the southern portion of Guilin, is the stunning Elephant Trunk Hill. The attraction gets its name because the karst landform resembles a huge elephant stretching its trunk to drink water. In addition to the breathtaking natural scenery of the area, there are also several ancient sites including Yunfeng Temple and Puxian Pagoda, which can be found in the scenic area.

Guilin is world-renowned for the spectacular karst landscapes that surround the city. Elephant Trunk Hill is Guilin’s most famous karst formation and has become its beloved landmark. Karst is formed after the dissolving of soluble rock such as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum. Underground caves and sinkholes often characterize this sort of topography. Geologists believe Elephant Trunk Hill was formed after the dissolution of limestone on an ancient seabed, approximately 360 million years ago.

Elephant Trunk Hill has been a renowned destination since the Tang dynasty (618 to 907 AD) when Guilin became an important cultural and military epicenter. The spectacular landscape of Elephant Trunk Hill quickly became a famous destination for visitors. The best time to visit Elephant Trunk Hill is in the early morning and evening. In the morning, mist rising off the Li River makes for an enchanting sight.

Reed Flute Cave

The fascinating Reed Flute Cave is located just 5 km northwest of Guilin. This breathtaking karst cave is about 787 ft long and was first discovered in the 1940s. Geologists who have studied the cave, believe it was once part of an underground lake. Although brought to the world’s attention in the 20th century, researchers have discovered over 70 inscriptions dating to the Tang dynasty ((618-907 AD).

During the Sino-Japanese War and World War II local inhabitants began taking refuge in Reed Flute Cave. There has been documentation that printing companies, hospitals, and newspapers amongst other organizations used the cave a safe haven during times of war. In 1962, the Reed Flute Cave was officially opened up to the public.

Reed Flute Cave contains innumerable stalagmites and stalactites, which are the main attraction for visitors. Yet another element contributing to its popularity is the thousands of colorful lights that illuminate the natural features of the cave interior.

The Li River

 The Li River meanders 83 km through truly breathtaking natural beauty, from Guilin to Yangshuo. Along its entirety, stunning karst formations jut towards the heavens, making for majestic scenery. The Li River is part of the Guilin Scenic Zone.

The upper section of the river is connected to the Xiang River, which eventually drains into China’s largest river, the Yangtze. In 214 BCE during the Qin dynasty, Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, commissioned the Lingqu Canal to be built. This is the oldest existent canal on Earth. It was constructed to link the Li River to the Xiangjiang River, thus forming the Guilin Prefecture. During the Song Dynasty, the Li River became renowned for its incredible natural beauty, which in turn, contributed to its cultural significance throughout China.

Visitors can experience the phenomenal surrounding beauty of the Li River, by taking a river cruise. The trip lasts approximately 4 to 5 hours and is well worth the excursion.

Seven Star Park

Located 1.5 km from downtown Guilin, is the beautiful Seven Star Park. It gets its name from the seven karst hills found within the grounds, which resemble The Big Dipper constellation. Seven Star Park covers over 120 hectares, making it the largest park in the city. Mountains, lush forests, spectacular karst formations, and an abundance plant and wildlife surround this awe-inspiring attraction.

The origins of Seven Star Park can be traced back to the Sui dynasty (581 to 618 CE). By the Tang dynasty (618 to 907 CE), Guilin was a prosperous city, and the park became renowned for its stunning natural beauty and landscapes.

Because it is the largest park in Guilin, Seven Star Park contains numerous sites, which attract visitors. Amongst them are Camel Hill, Putuo Hill, Guihai Stele Forest, and Seven Star Cave, which itself, was referred to as the “Residence of the Immortals” during ancient times.

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Sarah Bauder

Sarah has been extensive experience as a scribe, from travel writer to screenwriter, to a writer short stories. When she’s not doing one of those three things, she enjoys traveling, cooking, adventuring, reading, and anything involved being in (or under) water.
Sarah Bauder