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Guilin Never Ceases to Amaze

Posted on March 9, 2011 2:00pm

Guilin Tour

The most enchanting sights in China are said to be Shanghai at night, Beijing in autumn, Chongqing in fog and Guilin in the rain. I headed to Guilin, which means forest of sweet osmanthus, two weeks ago and was awed by the rain and mist-shrouded peaks in this world-famous site in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The flight from Shanghai takes around two and a half hours and when arriving I immediately smelled the sweet osmanthus trees that grow everywhere in the city. The red lanterns from the Chinese Lunar New Year are still hanging in the trees.
The famous boat cruise on the winding Lijiang River passes the many karst mountains and peaks, some with bizarre shapes that resemble an elephant sipping water, a walking camel and an old man lost in thought.

The rain and fog above the river lend an air of mystery. When the river takes a big turn at Xingping Old Town, I saw the familiar and heart-stopping beauty that is engraved on the 20-yuan Chinese bank notes. Fishermen float by on bamboo rafts with their "leashed" cormorants that dive for fish. Every morning they sell fish, shrimp and crabs to cruise boats.

In addition to natural scenery, the slow-paced city is rich in history and culture. The Sun and Moon pagodas on Banyan Lake reflect a balance of yin and yang, two fundamentals of Chinese philosophy.

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