Guilin is a living canvas of China’s stunning scenery, romantic landscape and is a spiritual land of peace!
When you see Guilin, you will totally understand what has inspired thousands of Chinese artists over the ages to draw such beautiful paintings! “I often sent pictures of the hills of Guilin which I painted to friends back home, but few believed what they saw.” The writer of this was the Song Dynasty (1127-1279) scholar Fan Chengda and his comments show that the scenery of Guilin has been attracting and astonishing visitors for many centuries. Guilin is the very essence of the classical Chinese landscape paintings; fantastically shaped peaks that are studded with pines and delicate pavilions, partly shrouded in the mist.
Guilin is said to have been founded in 214 BC. At that time, one of the earliest ancient projects undertaken in China (along with the Great Wall) was the Ling Canal. It was built under the regency of the first Chinese emperor, Qin Shihuang. It still connects the central Asian plain with southern China and South-East Asia, via the Yangtze, Li and Pearl Rivers. Guilin is located on the “Guixiang Corridor” which was an important passage connecting Central China and Southern China. During the Three-Kingdom period (221-265), the Wu Kingdom built up the area, and from then on Guilin has come to be a political and transition center. Ever since the Tang Dynasty (618-906), Guilin had become a relatively big city and then the capital of Guangnanxilu, which governed Guangxi and Hainan Island. In the last century, Dr. Sun Yat-san had his residence set up here and directed the northward expedition of his revolution.
Since the construction of Ling Canal in the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC), Guilin has developed into an area of cultural exchange between South and North. The legendary scenery has attracted many famous Tang Dynasty poets to Guilin. The poems and essays they wrote added charming brilliance to the timeless mountains and rivers, forming the unique culture of Guilin. In the Song (960 -1279) and Yuan Dynasty (1279 -1368), the culture in Guilin flourished and was listed as the top in the country. In the Ming (1368 -1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644 -1911), Guilin became a key cultural city in southern China. The education system in Guilin is so developed that it is also called the “Zhuangyuan City”, means a city full of intellects!
Seated on the bank of Li River, Guilin was a quiet, sleepy town until the end of the 1970s, when tourism erupted! It was like a Shangri-La being discovered by the outside world! Guilin has the most spectacular Karst region in the world! These magical limestone rock formations, with the lush green surroundings make Guilin a true paradise! The signature landscape in Guilin is water buffalo leisurely working in the terraced rice paddies, with buffalo boys on their back, with misty but graceful lush green mountains as background setting completing the timeless picture of Guilin!
Located in subtropical and monsoon zone with warm and moist surroundings, Guilin has very mild and pleasant weather. Sweet Osmanthus is the city flower of Guilin. Named after the fragrance of the Osmanthus (Cassia), Guilin actually means Forest of Sweet Osmanthus trees. In the fall season, the air is full of the sweet fragrance of Osmanthus, spread over the entire city. The city tree of Guilin is banyan tree, which you will see everywhere in the city like an on-going bonsai show!
Guilin is a very peaceful place and generation after generation, many different minority people have coexisted, thrived and enjoyed this land of natural miracles! The colorful village life of the different minority people only adds more energy and spice to Guilin. They are actually another main reason to visit Guilin! Guilin is inhabited by 12 different minorities with a total population of 1,260,000. Each minority has its own unique customs and festivals; and you can enjoy these pageants at the Li River Folk Customs Center.
A great highlight of your Guilin tour is the cruise down the picturesque Li River. The hills beyond hills with their reflections in the crystal water are like a fairy land. The green bamboo waves at you in the breeze all the way along the river. The water buffaloes contentedly munching the grass; the ducks swimming along the river; the fisherman fishing or catnapping on the bamboo rafts with his cormorants resting peacefully next to him, it is truly a masterpiece of nature…You will be enchanted by those amazingly shaped mountains, whether shrouded in mist or under an azure blue sky, during the early morning or late evening’s sunset. Lost in the quiet voice of the nature, you will always feel like you were reborn into a new world! At the end of the cruise, you will arrive at an energetic, small but quite international town: Yangshuo! Started as a fishing village, Yangshuo has become a very interesting town that thrives in the mixed culture of its international residents!
Guilin – truly a place that you should never miss seeing at least once in your lifetime!