Thursday, April 15, 2010

Walking Around Guilin

It was another rainy day, but it eased up in the afternoon. I didn't get out of my hostel until it stopped raining. It was absolutely freezing at night and I had a hard time just getting out of bed. I can't believe the difference humidity makes when it comes to cold.

I made an effort to get out and see some of Guilin despite the cold and cloudy weather. The tourist map listed a few nearby attractions; parks with limestone formations. My first stop was Solitary Beauty Peak which is in the Ming Prince mansion. The buildings in the compound didn't interest me much, but I was interested in the views. I thought maybe I could see down the Li River. However, once I got to the top, all I could see was a sprawling Guilin. Buildings in every direction.

A guest at the hostel I'm staying at recommended checking out the Seven Star Park, so I made that my second destination. It's quite a large park, complete with waterways, waterfalls, temples, caves and even a zoo. The guidebook said the zoo is fairly run down, so I avoided it. The attraction here is supposed to be the Seven Star Cave. After checking out a bit of the park, I decided to head into the cave.

What I wasn't prepared for was the cave tour. To see the cave, you must go with a guide as the guide turns the lights on and off. The guide is for domestic tourists and the tour is in Mandarin. Needless to say it was a very long tour and I didn't understand a thing, but the cave was very pretty with the lights.

My final stop of the day was the Elephant Trunk Hill, named so because the limestone peak it surrounds resembles an elephant drinking water. It was a nice way to end the day. It was quiet and provided a nice stroll along the Li River. I even managed to catch see cormorants before heading back to my hotel.

Ming Prince Park and View from Solitary Beauty Peak:

Seven Star Park and Cave:

Elephant Trunk Park: