Guilin is delightfully different, as you quickly discover You are well into the Chinese interior here, and beautiful oriental-style parks, water-gardens, and every kind of traditional Chinese attraction – yes, including the famous cormorant-fisherman – is waiting for you. The main attraction is outside the city – a boat trip along the River Li, and missing it ought to be made a criminal offence. The scenery is legendarily spectacular, and a nice lunch is served during the trip. Your trip ends in a small Chinese town that’s outrageously touristy but still succeeds in being extremely pleasant to visit for a short time anyhow.
Guilin is an excellent place to see the traditional life of China which you’ll no longer see in either Beijing or Shanghai. A great place to start your exploration would be Shan Hu – a smallish lake dominated by two extraordinary and stunning pagodas. A connecting water-way will take you on to Rong Hu – a place that’s worth visiting towards evening, when it’s lusciously illuminated. There’s a tiny island to which you can cross – the antique Glass Bridge is out-of-bounds to preserve it (yes, it’s all glass). Stick around for a sound-and-light display after dark at Rong Hu – there are some pretty effects with fountains and lights.
If you’d like to see something more traditional, there is still Cormorant Fishing around Guilin. By day the fishermen go about their fish business, but towards evening down at the river you can find a few of them giving cormorant and lantern fishing displays. How do they stop the cormorant eating the fish it catches? You’ll just have to go to Guilin to find out!
But the most popular and famous sight of Guilin is on an excursion out of town along the River Li, to see the Limestone Cliffs – some of the most spectacularly beautiful scenery in all of China.
Guilin is a place where time seems to stand still; a glimpse of China’s traditional past, yet very much alive and thriving. Travelling through China by train is a wonderful way to see, first-hand, the contrasts of this amazing country. These are holiday memories you will treasure for ever.