Travel through China was a fascinating experience. Each day brought something new and eye-opening. I had visited Japan before coming to China, although an Asian country, it in no way prepared me for the sights of China. Ancient China is a vastly different country with so much diversity.
Guilin I’m sure, has been recently modernized to make it a very appealing center for tourists, who come this way to visit all the remarkable sights and scenery along the Li River. The Li River, Karst mountains and terraced rice fields are all in the region and are important destinations for tourism. Guilin is more of a rural area and provides different scenery as opposed to what we had seen in cities of Beijing and Xian.
Guilin named after the Sweet Osmanthus trees that grow in the region, lies on the western bank of the Li River. Guilin has long been renowned for its unique Karst scenery featured in so many ancient Chinese paintings and poetry.
Ling Canal of ancient China
Guilin is also famous for the Ling Canal built-in the year 214Bc by the first Emperor of the Qin Dynasty. The canal considered one of the three greatest water conservation schemes of ancient China is still fully functional today. The Ling Canal lies 70klms north of Guilin City.
Dinner at a Chinese Restaurant
Returning to our hotel after visiting the Reed flute Cave, we freshened up for dinner, enjoyed a complimentary drink in the bar before we left the hotel. Tonight dinner was at the Zhenyang Sourer Chinese restaurant; a welcome by two pretty waitress in traditional dress. One is always offered green tea before the start of a meal at a Chinese restaurant. The Chinese restaurant provided a delicious meal with a variety of dishes to suit everyone’s taste. On the menu, spicy tofu, spicy pork, chicken and sprouts, beef and veggies, mushroom and bok choy, all served freshly cooked and served with steamed rice.
Waterfall and colored fountains
Our guide had a surprise in store for us after dinner and we walked to the town square. It had started to rain lightly, so the umbrella’s went up as we stood in front of a high blank wall. Suddenly water began to cascade down the face of the building like a huge waterfall. Colored lights played on the wall and fountains sprung up under the waterfall, all to the sound of soft classical music. A very pretty sight, certainly enhancing the blank wall. This wall is the Lijiang Water Fall hotel. We were suitably impressed, but there was more…
Firstly there was a market nearby. This was interesting and would have liked a little more time. It was a good place to buy some calligraphy brushes and ink, good quality brushes, reasonable priced, and many other items beside.
Golden Sun Pagoda and Silver Moon Pagoda
We moved on following a pretty paved walkway along Shan Lake until a beautiful pagoda, the ‘Golden Sun Pagoda’ came into view, then almost simultaneously the ‘Silver Moon Pagoda‘.
The Golden Sun Pagoda has nine stories, it is 41 meters high and made of solid bronze (impressive). The Silver Moon Pagoda has seven stories and is 35 meters high; this pagoda made of wood and glazed tiles. Each pagoda looked stunning in the night-light. Linking both the Golden Sun Pagoda and the Silver Moon Pagoda under the waters of Shan Lake is a 10 meter clear-glass tunnel. Has anyone been through the tunnel? I was unaware of its existence at the time of our visit.
Each Fountain changing color and shape to classical music
There is a huge decorative archway leading across the bridge to the other side. Once on the other side we stared into the blackness of the lake. Suddenly out of the darkness the lake came to life with dozens of colored fountains, each fountain changing color and shape, and swaying to classical music. It was a wonderful sight and a great finish to our first day in Guilin.
Tired but happy after another full day of sight-seeing, we returned to our hotel glad of the hot shower and comfortable beds that awaited us. Life is so good.
Sunrise in Guilin
We awoke early and watched the sunrise over the bridge and Karst mountains.There were people on the other side of the river, morning ablutions I think. One fellow swam all the way across the river to the walkway at the bridge on this side, which is quite a swim.
There are small tributaries off the river, and in contrast to the modern hotels and shops in the center of town, from our window we could see many sampan’s moored along the banks. There were early morning fishermen standing on long slim bamboo rafts, probably catching breakfast for their families. Moored down the front was a light bamboo raft with a cover and chairs, perhaps a water taxi to ferry one across the river or a trip down the Li River.
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