Guilin Travel Guide

Guilin © Jakub Halun

Guilin, a small riverside city in southern China, has been long been one of China's most tranquil and picturesque of destinations. Guilin means 'forest of Sweet Osmanthus', courtesy of the large number of sweet-smelling Osmanthus trees in the area. The distinctive limestone karst hills of the region provide a dramatic backdrop for the city, making it a favourite of poets, artists, photographers for centuries.

The hills are believed to have been formed in tectonic shifts millions of years ago, these 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, where visitors can spend a day exploring the mountainous city.

As Guilin is a tourist-oriented city, all the necessary amenities for travellers are available, 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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