Down in south central China, in the province of Guangxi, one may find the city of Guilin, which
is fast becoming a prime tourist hot-spot of China. The major draws are the karst scenery in the area,
the traditional peoples who still inhabit the hills, and the rice terraces through which they wander.
I first heard of Guilin whilst watching Paul Merton's travels in China, and a short visit down there
was agreed to with a work colleague when he showed me the back of a Chinese 20RMB note, which shows a
scene on the famous Li river. This page however deals with Guilin city itself and the area north to
Longsheng and Ping An village, in rice terrace country. For the Li river, check out my page on Yangshuo.
In the middle of Guilin city is the famous "Elephant Nose Hill". Can you guess why?
It's possible to walk right into the hole, although you might get your feet wet.
Near Guilin is the Reef Flute Cave, so called after the reeds originally found by its entrance
which can be made into said musical instruments. It was very well lit inside.
This shot I was very pleased with, the pristine water reflecting the colourful lighting of the
Outside the cave if you fancied a fresh steak, you could fill your boots. Or so I thought,
but these steaks were cruelly facsimilies made of stone.
So much for the steak, but later we chanced upon this friendly local selling sun dried rat
and what I could only surmise was pterodactyl. We bought a rat each, and had the café in the village
cook them up for us that evening. I think I managed about half a rat, as it wasn't the best meal I'd
had, but it made us very popular with the other villagers.
At the top of the rice terraces near Ping An village, where we stayed for the night.
View from the door of our hotel across Ping An village in the morning. No ill effects
from the rat.
We took a walk through the terraces of Ping An to Longsheng, the "Dragon's Back" trail.
Passing by scenes like this which haven't changed much for centuries.
The terraces were very impressive, you can see the small people walking along a path
near the top.
Terraces and farm houses view. These terraces are working and so were mostly dry at this time of
year (April) unlike those of Yuanyang,
which although much more impressive, are mostly just for the tourists these days.
We met some of the local tribeswomen, who proceeded to take their hair off and demonstrate how
long it was. Traditionally girls only cut their hair once, when they get married, so they keep what
they chop off.
Part of our walk was along a very new vehicle track, so new in fact that we eventually
caught up with the digger cutting it. It was a young guy and his girlfriend in the cab, and
they kindly stopped to let us past and continue on the old path. After time to settle, the new
road will be paved.
It was Tomb Sweeping Day holiday in China (hence the time off work), and many families were
going about sprucing up the family graves.
This is some sacrificial money placed on tombs or burned for the dead. Appropriately, it comes
from the "Hell Bank" corporation. The Chinese don't believe in heaven, per se.
We met a chap carting hay along the track. It's a lot heavier than it looks, I know because
I had a shot myself.
One of the villages we meandered through on our march. They felt quite alpine to me.
Stream running through the village in the previous photo, it was a beautiful day.
A modern tribeswomen demonstrates communication amongst the locals. China Mobile are
expanding their markets.
The final village of our trek, this one may have been Longsheng itself...? We ordered a
chicken hotpot, so the waiter put down his notepad, marched into a field, grabbed a chicken
*squawrk* took it through the back, and ten minutes later we had hot pot.