Oct 21, 2016
By Dia Bianca Lao
Anyone who’s ever read a Chinese textbook can attest that these textbooks glorify Guilin. Not only that, politicians also sing praises to this city’s natural endowments and often entertain visiting dignitaries in this resort town. During my last visit to Guilin, I was adamant to find out in less than a week if Guilin and its surrounding areas do indeed live up to its reputation. Here are the top five sights I saw and love to reminisce about.
I spent a good hour here oohing and ahhing at the sight of the abundant stalactites and rock formations, which were illuminated by multi-colored lighting. This lighting enhanced the otherworldly atmosphere contained therein. It was like stumbling into a fairy’s den, another world you’ll normally associate with a fictional novel. The highlight was the laser light musical show at the end of the cave, which gave me chills. With the help of the guide, I could easily visualize animals, cities, and plants among the rock formations.
2. Fubo hill
This attraction made me withstand an intense cardio exercise as I climbed the steps leading up to the lookout point on top that showed a bird’s eye view of the city. You could see panoramic views of the Li River and the developing city’s natural beauty from high above.
Hours away from Guilin, I found myself gaping at the brilliant spectacle of the verdant green man-made terraces carved as far as the eye could see. I could tell from the wide expanse of the terraces that this is the culmination of the Zhuang people’s strenuous efforts and ingeniousness. I rode a cable car to get to the top where I could see just how high and extensive the work done must have been to transform the vast region into layer upon layer of rice terraces. It was a picturesque sight to behold and I could imagine how its beauty changes into golden hues for autumn, crisp white in winter and bright green for summer to keep onlookers wanting to come back again.
The moment I stumbled upon the Long Hair Village, the Guinness world book record holder for the “world’s longest hair village”, I was intrigued. I was bewildered that such a place even exists! I discovered with my own eyes that the village is beautiful with its rustic charm and truly, its residents does indeed live up to their village name. The Yao ethnic women who reside there were the embodiment of brunette Rapunzels. They dress in unique and colorful traditional clothing and performed by singing and dancing. It was amusing to watch as they invited male guests to participate in a mock wedding ceremony as done in their village. You may ask: how do they keep their hair jet-black even when they’re old and wrinkled? They do so by washing their hair with fermented rice water! Nature truly works wonders.
As featured on the 20 yuan note, you can see the lush landscape looking reminiscent of Ha Long Bay at every twist and turn on this relaxing cruise. I saw fishermen, some with tourists, on their bamboo rafts sailing through the calm water. After a few hours, the cruise stops at Yangshuo, a small town where you can easily find food or bargain with small shops selling pearl, jade, Chinese paintings and more.
After being left breathless by these five stand-out sights, I was rest assured that Guilin and its surrounding areas are indeed worth a visit and are definitely worthy of its accolades.
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About the Author
Dia Bianca Lao
Dia may look like your average Asian bookworm but she is always up for an adventure! Having skydived twice in Australia and New Zealand, she has lived in 3 countries and visited 16 others. Armed with her selfie stick, big tote and even bigger dreams, she embarks for new and faraway places for her next dose of adrenaline rush. She shares her travel tips and experiences on her blog: Wewillgoplaces, where she confesses experiences from bathing nude in a Japanese onsen to munching on HelloKitty food