Of the four cities listed in my China itinerary, I looked forward to visiting Guilin the most. Viewing photos on the internet was enough to fuel my excitement.
Located in the southern part of the country, Guilin is a favorite nature escape among locals for its abundant river water and lush greenery. It is best known for the lime stone hills that visibly surround the city and majestically accentuate the Lijiang riverbanks. This agricultural backdrop is the cradle of folklore that became the premise of the world’s biggest show staged outdoors, i.e. the ‘Impressions Sanjie Liu’. A visit to Guilin wouldn’t be complete without traversing the rivers and hills of Yangshuo and booking a seat at the largest outdoor nature theater. A trip to the northern mountains is likewise a worthy undertaking, if only for the sole purpose of standing up close between mountains and having an unobstructed view of the terraced rice fields. But more than that is the irresistible invitation to experience unspoilt country life and the chance to mingle with some of China’s ethnic minorities.
Like most of the burgeoning cities in China, Guilin is developing fast. Business establishments and sky-high structures are sprouting everywhere whilst keeping the charm of its natural beauty preserved. It offers tourists a variety of diversions for entertainment, cultural and historical attractions, as well as shopping and dining. But that is but icing on a cake. Guilin’s real gem lies deeper – in the harmonious union of cultural diversity and its seemingly limitless earthen bounty. The scenery in the outskirts of the city is nothing short of breathtaking. There is plenty opportunity to explore, discover and experience its natural wonders. I can almost guarantee you will not be disappointed.
What impresses me most, however, is the collective effort that the Chinese are putting in together. They seem hell-bent in rebuilding their land and restoring by-gone glories. It may not be as classy as the Europeans do it, but they certainly have picked up from the broken pieces of history, their own and the world’s. I imagine myself in the middle of a crossroad and everything around unfolds right before my eyes, evolving and transforming in steady speed as in an animation film. Yup! The Red Dragon rises from the ashes and it cannot be stopped.
China is ready and willing to take measures that are sure to boost its economy and give them further advantage in the international frontier. It recently opened Guilin’s gates to foreign tourists with a three day visa-free visit. And with the popularity of low-cost flights, I am sure Guilin’s borders will soon be thronged with eager travelers from across the globe.
Don’t want to be left out? Then be sure to put Guilin right on top of your Asian destination list. Go and you will know why it’s my favorite place in China! And it might just be yours as well.