Archive for the ‘Guangxi Travel’ Category

How to Visit Elephant Trunk Hill

Friday, September 4th, 2015
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Standing at the confluence of Li River and Taohua River, Elephant Trunk Hill (象鼻山)is one of the iconic landmarks of Guilin. But now it seems this site has been oversold and overpriced as it has been expanded into a large namesake park. Many years ago people could come here for a free glimpse of the hill which resembled an elephant drinking water by hist trunk. Now the side where the elephant trunk is visible is blocked by trees and high bushes deliberately planted to hide the rock trunk which people now have to pay 75 yuan for a peep.

So if you are attracted only to have a look at the hole in a stone on a river during your Guilin tour, you are advised to save your money and head for the nearby hotel known as the Golden Oriole Hotel 桂林万鹂金象酒店 and go up to the 7th floor sky garden ( the roof-top) for a glimpse of so-called Elephant Trunk Hill over a drink, more relaxing and comfortable. At night the Elephant Trunk Hill looks gorgeous!

 7th floor sky garden ( the roof-top)

7th floor sky garden ( the roof-top) of Golden Oriole Hotel

Today, the 75 yuan entry ticket doesn’t only allow you to have a glimpse of the moon-like hole in the rock hill, but also to hike the whole Elephant Trunk Hill along the stairs of stone steps to the top of the hill for panoramic views of Guilin city.

Folded Brocade Hill is a much better choice for panoramic view of the city with much cheaper entry fee. But if you still want to invent your time, money and muscle at the Elephant Trunk Hill, well it is not a very bad idea though the entrance ticket is a bit exorbitant and the walk takes much longer time due to the size of the park.

Follow me to walk though Elephant Trunk Hill. There are three entrance gates – No.01, No.02 and No.03. Basically you’d better enter the park through the No.03 Gate which is closer to the hill itself, easier for you to climb up. If you only want to see the hole of the hill, you should go through either the No.01 or No.02 Gate.

The green and lush lawn below the hill.

The green and lush lawn below the hill

The green and lush lawn below the hill

Starting to hike up along the stone stairs of steps.

Starting to hike up along the stone stairs of steps.

Starting to hike up along the stone stairs of steps.

Looking at the west from the hillside, you can see Taohua River.

Taohua River

Taohua River

Looking at the north, you are able to see the confluence of the two rivers – Taohua on the left and Li River on the upper right.

the confluence of the two rivers

the confluence of the two rivers

Snap some pictures on the summit where you can have clear views of the Li River, karst hills and the city.

Snap some pictures on the summit

Snap some pictures on the summit

Li River on the south of Elephant Trunk Hill.

Li River on the south of Elephant Trunk Hill

Li River on the south of Elephant Trunk Hill

The apartment blocks below at a distance seen from the top of the hill.

The apartment blocks below at a distance seen from the top of the hill.

The apartment blocks below at a distance seen from the top of the hill.

You are also able to walk to the north side of the hill on the open top where you have the chance to look at Huo Hill and Folded Brocade Hill on the north of the hill. Backtrack after hiking around the hilltop and walk down. Then cross Taohua River along the stone bridge linking the two banks. Continue to walk for a  good spot where you can clearly see the Elephant Trunk Hill.

You should walk across the stone bridge linking the two banks of Taohua River and move on to the place where you can clearly see the hole in the rock – Elephant Trunk Hill.

You should walk across the stone bridge linking the two banks of Taohua River

You should walk across the stone bridge linking the two banks of Taohua River

Try to locate a good spot for an iconic photo of the hill.

Try to locate a good spot for an iconic photo of the hill.

Try to locate a good spot for an iconic photo of the hill.

A group of foreign tourists come afar for visiting the trunk hill.

A group of foreign tourists

A group of foreign tourists

Posed like a fishing man, grasping a bamboo pole with two cormorants and putting on a straw rain cap.

Posed like a fishing man

Posed like a fishing man

A complete picture of Elephant Trunk Hill.

A complete picture of Elephant Trunk Hill.

A complete picture of Elephant Trunk Hill.

The park is more attractive to the domestic tourists due to the added entertainment in the park.

The park is more attractive to the domestic tourists

The park is more attractive to the domestic tourists

Any questions,  just drop a line.

Folded Brocade Hill (Diecai Hill) Not to Be Missed

Friday, September 4th, 2015
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There are four prominent karst hills projecting from Guilin city proper including Folded Brocade Hill, Solitary Beauty Hill, Hubo Hill and Elephant Trunk Hill. Of all the four karst hills,  I favor Folded Brocade (Diecai Hill) 叠彩山, also known as Piled Silk Hill, named after the payers upon layers of its rock formations which resemble folded brocade or silk. This is the best place to have a panoramic view in Guilin with spectacular views of Li River, Mulong River, Hubo Hill and Solitary Hill with pocket-friendly entrance fee.

Folded Brocade Hill 叠彩山)  is located about 2.5 km north of Rong Lake or Zhengyang Pedestrian Street, a half hour walk along Zhongshan Road 中山路 or Binjiang Road 滨江路. By the entrance gate you will see the ticketing office – 35 yuan per ticket. Walking from the entrance, you pass through Chicken Blood Jade Museum ( a bit commercial ), then continue to walk past some shops selling little knick knacks and souvenirs at the base of the hill.

Very soon you will see a wooden signpost introducing the different trails you will follow. There are four peaks on the hill including Yuyue Peak于越山, All-Direction-Looking Peak (Siwang Hill) 四望山, Crane Peak 仙鹤山 and Bright Moon Peak 明月山. You are recommended to hike the Bright Moon Peak, the highest with a spectacular view at the sea level of 223 m and 73 m at the relative height from the base, a 20-minute walk to the hilltop. It is not a workout to reach the top, but you till need to have strong legs to walk up to the top. If you feel tired, you may take a break along the stair-steps spiraling up to the summit.

Folded Brocade Hill is not be missed on your Guilin tour. Now follow me to have a glimpse of Folded Brocade Hill.

The wooden signpost introducing the different trails both in Chinese and English. You are recommended to hike the Bright Moon Peak for the best bird-eye’s View of the city.

The wooden signpost introducing the different trails

The wooden signpost introducing the different trails

To hike up the hill,  you will first have to go  through a cave known as Wind Cave at the base of Folded Brocade Hill.

you will first have to go through a cave known as Wind Cave

you will first have to go through a cave known as Wind Cave

The Wind Cave is worth a close look and there are quite a few Buddhist stone carvings inside the cave. There are about 100 Buddha statues of the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties.

The Wind Cave is worth a close look

The Wind Cave is worth a close look

There are about 100 Buddha statues and 200 stone carvings of the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties.

100 Buddha statues and 200 stone carvings

100 Buddha statues and 200 stone carvings

Walk through the Wind Cave, turn right and hike up the stairs of the stone steps leading to the top.

 turn right and hike up the stairs of the stone steps

turn right and hike up the stairs of the stone steps

On the hiking route, the zigzag stone stairs allow you to look down or at a distance for diverse views at different heights.  On the top of the Bright Moon Peak, there is a stone tablet inscribed with the words “Reach the top of Folded Brocade Hill, you will live up to 103 years old”.

Reach the top of Folded Brocade Hill, you will live up to 103 years old

Reach the top of Folded Brocade Hill, you will live up to 103 years old

The hilltop is relatively open and spacious. There is a pavilion standing on the summit known as  “the Cloud-Catching Pavilion” 拿云亭 built in a round shape, single eave and a pinnacle. The Cloud-Catching Pavilion is the best place to have a panoramic view of Guilin.

The Cloud-Catching Pavilion is the best place to have a panoramic view of Guilin

The Cloud-Catching Pavilion is the best place to have a panoramic view of Guilin

Looking in the north, you will see Li River on the right side and Mulong Lake on the left side.

Looking at the north

Looking at the north

Looking in the south to have a panoramic view of Guilin city, Hubo Hill (by the Li River) on the left and Solitary Beauty Hill on the right.

Looking in the south

Looking in the south

A close-up view of Mulong Lake.

A close-up view of Mulong Lake.

A close-up view of Mulong Lake.

The Li River northeast of Folded Brocade Hill.

The Li River northeast of Folded Brocade Hill.

The Li River northeast of Folded Brocade Hill.

The Li River souteast of Folded Brocade Hill.

The Li River souteast of Folded Brocade Hill.

The Li River souteast of Folded Brocade Hill.

Any questions,  just drop a line.

Jingjiang Princes’s City to be Skipped

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
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Jingjiang Princes’s City (靖江王城),  also known as Jingjiang Princes’s Palace ( (靖江王府), is a historical site in the center of Guilin. The prince residence was originally built in 1372 – 1392 by the first Jingjiang Prince – Zhu Shouqian, the great-nephew of Zhu Yuanzhang, the first Ming dynasty emperor. For the 257 years from the construction of the Jingjiang palace to the end of Ming dynasty, 14 Jingjiang princes from 12 generations lived here.

Today part of the former Jingjiang Palace and the Solitary Beauty Peak are incorporated into a large sight known as “Solitary Beauty Peak -Princes’ Palace Scenic Area”(独秀峰-靖江王府景区) with a combo ticket 130 yuan. It seems the administration of the sight is more interested in taking tourist groups ( domestic ) instead of individual tourists. If you buy an individual entrance ticket, very often you are forced to join in a group, a bit frustrating. The entrance fee is exorbitant given the restored buildings in the walled city though you have the added value to hike the Solitary Beauty Peak.

Personally I feel this sight is underwhelmed with exorbitant entrance fee, to be skipped on your Guilin tour!

The outside walls are free and you have to pay 130 yuan to enter the inner walled city which also shares part of Guangxi Normal University’s main campus.  For the over 600 years the city was burned down several times. Today, it remains one of the restored Princes’ City in China.

In addition to the palace city, you will have the chance to climb up the Solitary Beauty Peak to have a panoramic view of Guilin city. Jingjiang Princes’ City was originally built by the Solitary Beauty Peak.  Inside the Peace Cave at the foot of the Peak, there are 60 Chinese zodiacal signs carved on the wall.

On the summit of the Solitary Beauty Peak, I feel a bit frustrated that the best viewing platform is rent out to a private owner and you have to pay to have the perfect place to snap pictures of the city below. Alternatively, the Folded Brocade Hill (Diecai Hill) surpasses the Solitary Beauty Hill in having a panorama of Guilin city.  Better to skip the Solitary Beauty Peak – Princes’ Palace Scenic Area.

This sight can be reached by walking straight north from Zhengyang Pedestrian Street. You will see the southern outside gate ( free of charge ). Walking for about 200 meters, you will come across the main entrance to Jingjiang Princes’s City ( entrance fee: 130 yuan ).

The outside south gate north of Zhengyang Pedestrian Street.

The outside south gate north of Zhengyang Pedestrian Street.

The outside south gate north of Zhengyang Pedestrian Street.

The paid south entrance (Chengyun gate ) to the Solitary Beauty Peak -Princes’ Palace Scenic Area.

The south entrance to Jingjiang Palace

The south entrance to Jingjiang Palace

Chengyun Palace was originally built in 1372 as the administration of the office in the city. It was burned down twice during the Qing Dynasty and Japanese Invasion. It was entirely rebuilt in 1947.

Chengyun Palace

Chengyun Palace

The Examination Hall built during Qing Dynasty in the compound.

The Examination Hall

The Examination Hall

Inside the Peace Cave at the foot of the Solitary Peak, there are 60 Chinese zodiacal signs carved on the wall.

 the Peace Cave

the Peace Cave

Hike up the Solitary Peak.

Hike up the Solitary Peak.

Hike up the Solitary Beauty Peak.

The Solitary Beauty Peak seen from below.

The Solitary Beauty Peak seen from below.

The Solitary Beauty Peak seen from below.

Have a panoramic view of Guilin city in the south from the top of the Solitary Beauty Peak.

Have a panoramic view of Guilin city in the south

Have a panoramic view of Guilin city in the south

Any questions, just drop a line.