Sunset on Guilin, China
It has been a cah-razy 8 weeks! Busy at work, busy with study, and a fun extended family reunion thrown in for good measure! I am feeling a huge sense of relief that the storm of activity has died down a little, and that I passed my exam for certification in the field of work I’m in. As a reward, the family and I spent the weekend in Guilin, China.
We didn’t know much about Guilin when we booked the flights – we just wanted to explore more of China (which is obviously so close in proximity to Hong Kong making it ideal for a weekend getaway) and take advantage of a really good package deal! After a bit of research, we found that Guilin now (and in its history) is known for its picturesque landscape. This really appealed to us as we are so used to living in a concrete jungle in Hong Kong.
The flight to Guilin from HK only took 55 minutes. On the way to the hotel we were already in awe of the hills and mountains that jutted out from the ground like giant, silent guards watching over the city.
We booked a whole-day tour to see the more popular sights. During the day we visited Seven Star Park, Reed Flute Cave and Elephant Trunk Hill. I took SO many photos but here are a few of my favourites :-)
Seven Star Park
Seven Star Park
Reed Flute Cave
Peach Blossom Lake
Elephant Trunk Hill
We were also supposed to climb up Fubo Hill but the heavy rain soon changed our minds!
At night (when the sky thankfully cleared up!) we took a cruise around Gulin’s four central lakes – this was definitely my favourite part of the visit. I’m currently reading “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” – a classic Chinese novel written in the 14th century. The novel is part historical, part legend, and part myth, and begins with the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history, and ends with the reunification of the land in 280. It is a massive novel standing at 120 chapters and almost 1000 characters. The scenery along the lakes was magical and brought to life some of the images that had been floating around in my mind whilst reading the book.
Sun and Moon Pagodas
On the banks of the Wood Dragon lake
Stunning scenery, Wood Dragon Pagoda lit up
Performing traditional dances and songs
A two-day weekend is really not enough time to fully appreciate Guilin and its natural beauty. Thankfully it is only a very short flight from Hong Kong so it is on our list of places to visit again!
If you are thinking of visiting Guilin, I would definitely recommend staying at the Shangri-La hotel – honestly, we have been to a number of Shangri-La hotels and it never fails to impress. The hotel in Guilin has gorgeous hotel grounds, a view of the iconic Li River and surrounding mountains, the food is great, and the staff are wonderful (helpful and friendly).
Shangri-La Guilin hotel grounds
I would also recommend taking a tour with Visit Our China. We really enjoyed the tour we had with Shirley, our tour guide, who was very knowledgeable about Guilin and its history, myths and legends, plus she got along well with my daughters (even teaching them a song in Mandarin!).
The other upside of visiting Guilin is the inspiration it has provided – I’m SO looking forward to drawing again!