Guilin Travel Guide

Guilin © Jakub Halun

Guilin, in southern China, is a small city when compared to bustling metropolises like Beijing or Shanghai, but it is one of the country's most visited. Guilin means 'forest of Sweet Osmanthus', courtesy of the large number of Osmanthus trees in the area. The distinctive limestone karst hills of the region provide a dramatic backdrop for the city, making it a favourite Chinese destination for avid photographers.

The hills were formed in tectonic shifts about 200 million years ago, and limestone sediments thrust up from the sea to form the unusual hills, caves and stone forests which are so characteristic of Guilin.

Guilin's two major lakes, Banyan Lake (Rong Hu) and Cedar Lake (Shan Hu), offer scenic boat trips to view the hills, along with pagodas, bridges, and centuries-old banyan trees. They are connected via waterways to other lakes in Guilin as well. Another popular boat tour travels along the Li River to the town of Yangshuo.

Guilin is a tourist-oriented city, with all the necessary amenities for travellers, including comprehensive public transport, plenty of restaurants, and lots of souvenir shops. The city is popular with Chinese tourists as well, in part because of the clean air, but also because the scenery is so splendid.

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