Guilin Travel Guide
Guilin © Jakub Halun
Guilin is a small riverside city in southern China, and has long been one of the county's most tranquil and picturesque places. Its name means 'Sweet Osmanthus', courtesy of the area's many sweet-smelling Osmanthus trees. The region's distinctive limestone karst hills provide a dramatic backdrop for the city, making it a favourite destination of poets, artists and photographers throughout the centuries.
The hills are believed to have been formed in tectonic shifts millions of years ago. Limestone sediments thrust up from the sea to form the unusual hills, caves and stone forests that characterise the city.
Guilin's two major lakes, Banyan Lake (Rong Hu) and Cedar Lake (Shan Hu), offer scenic boat trips to view the hills, along with bridges, pagodas, 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.