Undeniably stunning scenery is what lures most travelers to lush, green, subtropical Guangxi, but this beautiful province is more than merely a photographer's dream. True, the landscape will leave you astounded, but it's the opportunities on offer to get out there and enjoy it that make Guangxi so unique. The famous limestone peaks of Guilin and Yangshuo are best explored by bicycle, offering a unique perspective, and the mountains in Yangshuo, in particular, give rise to some of the best climbing in all of Asia.
Guangxi is a melting pot of minority groups, and hiking from village to village around the Zhuang, Dong, and Yao areas of the northeast makes trips to the Soaring Dragon's Backbone Rice Terrace and the sublime Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge even more rewarding. It also opens up the possibility of staying with locals in traditional wooden houses.
If all that sounds too energetic, it's easy to slow things down with a simple stroll around an ancient village, while an aimless wander along the 19th-century streets of Beihai's old town is a highlight of a trip to the far south.
Longsheng Rice Terrace
The Longji Terraced Rice Fields are located 23 kilometers (14 miles) from Longsheng city. They are the most famous rice terraces in China. People started working on this particular terrain from the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). Today, the fields cover an area of over 66 square kilometers (16,300 acres) and at its highest point is 1100 meters high (3600 feet).
Longji (Dragon's Backbone) Terraced Rice Fields received their name because the rice terraces resemble a dragon's scales, while the summit of the mountain range looks like the backbone of the dragon. Visitors standing on the top of the mountain can see the dragon's spine twisting off into the distance. In the early morning, when the weather is good, the sunrise on the summit of Longji Rice Terraces is magnificent.
The terraced rice fields make Longji a paradise for photographers and people interested in China's minority cultures. In the morning, many visitors like to get up early to watch the sunrise above the terraced peaks. During the day time, it is lovely to see minority women working in the fields in all of their colorful costumes.
Li River is the soul of Guilin, where nature shows its creativity, giving the area the fame of "the finest scenery under heaven". There are many ways to travel the Li River. The glamour the Li River comes from not only the crystal clear water but more from the uniquely shaped karst hills, rice paddies, and bamboo groves lining the rive. Once you are there, you will be overwhelmed and forget time.
Famed as "Guilin scenery is the best under heaven", people are stunned by its unsurpassed beauty. Li River is the soul of Guilin. Cruise on the two rivers and four lakes in Guilin, or boat on a bamboo raft in Yangshuo, and you may experience the lifestyle of a fairy. Cruising on the Li River has four different waterways.
Yangshuo, located near Guilin city is a major tourist destination. The area has some of the most beautiful karst mountain landscapes in the world. Yangshuo is reached by most visitors by taking a cruise down the picturesque Li River. The area is filled with karst mountains. The views are nothing short of breathtaking. The atmosphere in Yangshuo is a unique one. The streets are usually filled with Westerners and most of the shops, restaurants, hotels, and bars are designed to cater to them. Each year approximately 100,000 westerners come to Yangshuo, making it a unique blend of cultures.
A visit to Yangshuo is not complete without a bike ride through the local countryside. Bicycles can be rented from almost every hotel in Yangshuo. The countryside around Yangshuo is exceptionally beautiful. The landscape is dotted with mountains, and the rice fields reflected in the water are particularly lovely. Farmers living in the countryside work the fields as they always have with muscle, sweat, and the occasional water buffalo. Visitors never know what they will discover around the next bend in the road.
Guilin city is more than just a gateway to the surrounding scenic areas. With countless limestone peaks and the Li River running across the downtown, Guilin city is like a natural wonderland of karst topography. Its natural skyline is rarely to be seen in other cities in the world. Elephant Trunk Hill and Camel Hill shape vividly like real animals as they are named. Solitary Beauty Peak, Fubo Hill, and Reed flute Cave are also famed for their unique beauty. When night falls, it is the time to relax in the bars on the Pedestrian Street. Guilin is where you would always wish to come back.