Guilin

桂林



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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.


Elephant Nose Hill

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.

Reed Flute Cave


Reed Flute Cave

This shot I was very pleased with, the pristine water reflecting the colourful lighting of the cave.



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.

Rock meat


Sun-dried rat and pterodactyl

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.

Longsheng rice terraces


Ping An morning

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.

Ploughing


Rice terraces

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, Yunnan, which although much more impressive, are mostly just for the tourists these days.

Rice terrace farms


Long haired tribeswomen

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.

New road


Tomb sweeping day

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.

Hell Bank Corporation


Straw bale carrying

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.

Mountain village


Longsheng stream

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.

Modern tribeswoman


Village view

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.



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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2010