Archive for the ‘Guilin Travel’ Category

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.

Stroll around Shan Lake and Rong Lake in Guilin

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
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Key Words: Zhengyang Pedestrian Street, Ronghu Lake ( Banyan Lake ) and Shanhu Lake ( Fir Lake )

Plan your Guilin tour? The bustling city of Guilin is dotted with pinnacled karst peaks and crisscrossed by so-called “Four Lakes and Two Rivers” – Rong Lake (榕湖), Shan Lake (杉湖), Gui Lake ( 桂湖) and Mulong Lake (木龙湖) as well as Li River (漓江)and Taohua River (桃花江).  Some of the sights can be neglected due to the exorbitant entrance tickets or the hordes of domestic tourists.

Walking around Rong Lake (Banyan Lake)  榕湖 and Shan Lake (Chinese Fir Lake)  杉湖 is a smart choice to dive into the natural beauty and mix with the locals. The two lakes are free for people to stroll around their banks. The only remaining old gate ( South Gate ) to the city wall dating back to Song Dynasty ( 960 -1279 ) stands on the northern bank of Rong Lake.

Rong Lake 榕湖 (Banyan Lake)
Rong Lake 榕湖 used to be the moat of the Guilin ancient city in Song Dynasty and later in Ming Dynasty it was expanded into a pretty lake. The west side the lake was named Rong Lake (Banyan Lake) after the old Banyan tree nearby and the east side of the lake was named Shan Lake after the Chinese fir trees around the lake, hence the Rong Lake (Banyan Lake) and Shan Lake (Chinese Fir Lake ).

The ancient South Gate

The ancient South Gate

Rong Lake

Rong Lake

the marble archway bridge Rong Lake

the marble archway bridge Rong Lake

The only remaining old gate ( South Gate ) to the city wall dating back to Song Dynasty ( 960 -1279 ) stands on the northern bank of Rong Lake. Now the area around Rong Lake 榕湖 is a lively place with much activity which allows you to watch locals singing, dancing, practicing Taiji and calligraphy. The marble stone zigzagging bridge connects the lake and the marble archway bridge spans the lake, typical of a classical gardening and a good place to stroll around. The night view of the lake is stunning with lights on.

Shan Lake 杉湖 (Chinese Fir Lake)
Shan Lake 杉湖 is on the east side of Rong Lake and connected with Li River. The Sun Tower and the Moon Tower are the highlight of the lake. Especially, the two towers will be illuminated charmingly at night. The higher Sun Pagoda is connected by an underwater tunnel to the  seven-story octagonal pagoda.

Sun Pagoda and Moon Pagoda at Shan Lake

Sun Pagoda and Moon Pagoda at Shan Lake

Boating on Shan Lake

Boating on Shan Lake

Zhengyang Pedestrian Street正阳步行街
Zhengyang Pedestrian Street is on the northern bank of Shan Lake by the right side of Lijiang Waterfall Hotel. After strolling the two lakes, you may have a leisure walk along the only walking street in Guilin – Zhengyang Pedestrian Street. The over-600 meter street is full of stores, restaurants, bars. You will have the chance to see the local products and souvenirs.

Zhengyang Pedestrian Street

Zhengyang Pedestrian Street

Zhengyang Pedestrian Street

Zhengyang Pedestrian Street

Any questions,  just drop a line.