To get a feel for local life, check out the South Gate on the northern shore of Rong Lake. It's the only remaining section of the Song Dynasty city wall. During the night it's lit up by floodlights and the whole area is a buzzing hub of activity, with restaurants and market stalls giving it a festive vibe. See the locals practising Tai Chi, traditional calligraphy and dancing. The Central Square is another great hub of activity, where you can people-watch, explore the giant atlas carved in the stone, or watch an artificial waterfall every evening. Take a trip out to Elephant Trunk Hill, which is a large natural arch cut into the side of the mountain. It resembles the trunk of an elephant dipping into a river, and the scene is a symbol of the city.
You can visit a small version of the Forbidden City just outside of town and see what life was once like for the princes in the area. It's been converted into a great museum, and houses some interesting relics of the previous dynasties. If you're an art lover, the Guilin Art Museum is a must-see, where you can check out the work from some of China's best artists - as well as ancient items, revolutionary artefacts and pieces of cultural significance. The museum sits in West Hill Park, which is beautiful to visit on its own. Wander around the massive lake and see the little temples while you check out hundreds of Buddhist statues. You can learn all about the local culture at the Li River Folk Custom Centre, where they offer unique handicrafts, traditional food and time-honoured dance shows from the ethnic groups in the area.
Nature lovers definitely need to check out Pagoda and Tunnel Hill. Together they form a single mountain range, where you can climb to a multi-level Longevity Buddha Pagoda. If you follow the track higher up Penetrated Hill you will be rewarded with a splendid view across the southern part of the city. If you prefer animals, the Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village is fantastic. See their breeding programs, research facilities and some great entertainment, while getting much closer to the animals than you can in a traditional zoo.
Surrounded by clean and clear rivers, massive lakes and sheer-sided mountains is what makes Guilin a beautiful city. Come enjoy it all for yourself - all you need to do is check out our great offers on a flight to China and grab a great deal on Guilin accommodation. Book it in and start planning your next great vacation!
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