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Yangshuo, Guangxi

 

Guangxi

To the East of Yunnan is Guangxi province.  Guangxi is home to Guilin, one of China’s most famous and heavily touristed destinations.  Guilin's fame and popularity are well deserved.  Guilin’s scenery with the Li river snaking between Karst Mountains is the kind of unique beauty that ought to not be missed.  It is no wonder that the area was chosen as the backdrop of the novel The Painted Veil which was made into a movie starring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts in 2006.  But Guilin is far from Guangxi’s only attraction. The provinces tropical coastline in the South and lush border with Vietnam in the Southeast are two more excellent destinations for a trip through Guangxi.   

Guilin

Guilin is easily one of the most famous and easily recognizable sites in all of China.  The fact is that it would be very difficult to find a city in a more beautiful setting than Guilin.  While there are many ways to see the area, the best way is undoubtedly to take a boat on the Li river that runs through the city.  The cruise from nearby Yangshuo to Guilin takes around 8 hours and passes through some of the most fantastic scenery in the country.  While a trip down the Yangtze has been the premier river cruise in China for many years, the journey down the Li river is quickly becoming its rival.  It is easy to see why

Another fantastic way to see Guilin is to rent a bike or, if you are even more adventurous, to take a rock climbing trip.  Renting bikes is an easy and popular activity in both Guilin and in nearby Yangshuo and taking a relaxing ride next to the riverbank and through jagged rock formations is an unforgettable way to experience the area’s beauty.  In recent years some people have decided that they would rather be ON the rock formations than pedaling or cruising past them.  Guilin has become the premier rock climbing center in all of China and there are many outfitters that guide trips and rent equipment to people who are looking for a more extreme way to see Guilin.

You can take low cost flights or trains to Guilin. The fastest trains from Kunming are those which go via Nanning and the scenic Nankun railway, taking around 20 hours. Those going via Guiyang take at least 28 hours. From Chengdu one train plies each day to Guilin.

Detian Falls

On the border of Guangxi and Vietnam is Detian Falls, a massive multi-level waterfall set against a backdrop of karst hills and palm trees.  There may be bigger waterfalls in the world but there are very few that can matchDetian’s beauty.  If you want to get a look at Vietnam or are keen on seeing fantastic karst scenery without running into Guilin’s throngs of tourists, Detian Falls is a fantastic place to visit.  Additionally, if you want to take pictures that will make your friends at home jealous of your adventures, a trip to Detian is sure to do the trick.  Quite simply, the beauty of Detian Falls is a match for any place in all of China.    

Detian Falls aka the Chinese Niagra is in the border region of Daxin county, about 200 kilometres south-west of Nanning, the capital city of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. You can take a train or long-distance bus to Nanning from Kunming.  From Nanning, scheduled buses regularly leave for this natural wonder.  

Beihai

The small city of Beihai on Guangxi’s southern cost is a growing seaport that is also known for its tropical weather and sandy beaches.  Beihai also has a bunch of old colonial buildings that are remnants of when 8 Western countries set up embassies there in the late 19th century.  Today, Beihai is a fantastic place to eat some of China’s tasties seafood and relax on the beach.  Additionally, Beihai is one of the places where you can take a ferry to Hainan, China’s tropical island province.   You can take a train or long-distance bus to Nanning and take another bus to Beihai. Alternatively, you can fly from Kunming to Beihai directly.


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