Wang Zhenggong, a court officer of the Southern Song Dynasty, helped put Guilin on the world map when he wrote a poem to encourage local young people to study hard so as to be able to serve the court. His poem’s popular catchphrase, “the scenery of Guilin tops the world,” has helped publicize the region’s natural beauty to the world. So today, Guilin has become one of the top 10 travel destinations in China, second only to the Great Wall.
A city with history
Guilin is located in northern Guangxi Province. The Li and Xiang rivers run through it, and the man-made Linqu Canal connects them.
Settlement in the Guilin area dates back to more than 10,000 years ago. Qin Shi Huang’s unification of China in 221 B.C. brought great changes to the new nation. His order to construct a canal to connect the Li River and Xiang River led to the construction of the Lingqu Canal, which opened up the region’s heavenly landscape to the world. At that moment, history was made: Guilin was born, and the Lingqu Canal was the first canal ever to connect two river valleys.
Like all historic sites, Guilin has her fair share of great stories and legends.
Guilin’s beauty is mythical and mystical. Nearly all of her scenic locations have stories to tell. These legendary tales are passed on from generation to generation and are an inseparable part of the Guilin culture. Among them, the Moon Goddess, Chang’e, is the most popular and recounted tale.
The idyllic landscape, folk legends, and myths make Guilin a very special, incomparable place found nowhere else in China or the world.
The painting is alive, life is within the painting
Guilin is famous for its green mountains, clear waters, unusual caves and unique rock formations. The 426 kilometer long Li River, especially the 83 kilometer stretch running between Guilin and Yang Shuo, is a place of unsurpassed natural beauty. The river is a jade belt meandering through the mountains on the two sides. The sky, the mountains, the trees, the banks, and the waters make it a live painting, and observers can feel a strong spiritual connection with such a mesmerizing landscape!
Being the largest and most acclaimed karst resort region, Guilin has attracted and inspired innumerable scholars and poets, from the past to the present. They paid tribute to Guilin’s natural beauty by engraving their poems on rocky limestone caves. Their verses have immortalized the natural splendor and culture of Guilin.
Taking a cruise on the Li River is a must for tourists. No matter the weather conditions, the panorama will work its magic on you. On a clear day, the sharp silhouette of the mountain that flanks the river is visible. On a cloudy day, one can see cloud and mist wrap around the mountains. On a rainy day, dreamy misty drizzle falls. The scene’s captivating power is even more intense when the sky turns gloomy and rain falls. You will see a vast expanse of mist-covered waters, mountains appearing indistinctly in a distance, clouds floating atop them, and a rain blanket covering everything up lightly just like a veil. Doesn’t this magic conjure up a magnificent watercolor painting? And you are a part of that painting as your boat cruises on!
Written by Cicilai Kwan