Day 1: The Number Game. This journey begins in Guilin. If you need advice or assistance getting to Guilin then please contact us. This first day is based in the city. You will get to see a mix of the local hotspots: two hills, one cave, one market, and a boat trip labelled Two rivers and four lakes. Add that lot up and it's a pretty full day. Our first stop is the iconic Elephant Trunk Hill. This used to be a single view easily obtained from the road above. Clever screening and more attractions along the pachyderm theme now make this a more worthwhile stop.
The next stop is another mountain dipping into the Li River. The "Fubo" of Fubo Hill translates as "Wave-subduing". Since this hill blocks the path of the main current here creating strong eddies it is considered the more powerful. Time will tell; the smart money will doubtless fancy the power of water in the long run. We now have a boat trip around the city to see many more sites in relative peace and comfort. The name for this route numerates the waterways connected artificially to make this excursion possible.
In the afternoon we venture out to the suburbs and head underground into the Reed Flute Caves. These have also been connected so as to allow a circuit. The lighting is something to be seen to be believed. Our last stop is the West Gate Market. Although not on many itineraries we think you will enjoy seeing the range of products on sale as well as catching something of the atmosphere of ordinary, non-touristy, local life. Meals: lunch, dinner.
Day 2: Route Canal. Today we have an excursion out of the city: to the Linqu (the Ling Canal). This was dug by command of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. Normally emperors are not so concerned with such petty matters but in fact this canal had a significance lost today in the age of modern transportation. The canal links the Pearl River watershed with that of the Yangtse, thereby bringing the rich lands of Guangdong Province into the Chinese sphere of influence.
Not only did the emperor gain land he got a valuable source of rice for his busy armies and slaves, and a connection with the ports on the south coast that were already trading with lands as far away as India and Africa. The site itself makes for a pleasant excursion given that the canal exists within a gorgeous rural landscape. The channel is also marvelous, being required to flow in different directions sometimes only meters apart to achieve the correct gradient. We take a short boat trip to enjoy the view from the water.
We will also visit Jiangtou Village where more than 80 ancient buildings are still in a good state of repair. This village also claims fame as the home of a philosophical Song Dynasty government official respected for his honesty and writings. Set, as it is, amongst impressive mountain peaks, this village offers both natural beauty and historical interest. Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 3: Local Tastes. If you like, today is a good day to try local Mifen (rice noodles) a delicious local breakfast: though more palatable for western tastes as a brunch or early lunch. Agree this with your guide and they can fit in a visit to one of their favourite vendors as appropriate. Our activities today start with a visit to Seven Star Park, named so because of the belief that the mountains within the park are arranged in the same pattern as the constellation that we know as "Ursa Major" (aka the "Plough" or the "Big Dipper").
The park abounds with scenic spots. We will visit the main cave and find ourselves a good spot to photograph the realistic Camel Hill. Our last stop is Diecai Hill (Folded-brocade Hill). The layers of rock here ripple in a fashion that the ingenious locals have taken to resemble the finest of fabrics; you may not see such a resemblance. The hill does offer great views across the city and some noteworthy inscriptions.
Note: The day's activities are planned to end mid-afternoon. You can therefore plan to continue your travels this evening. If you want to stay in the city for a bit longer to do your own thing then you can easily book extra nights at the same hotel with us.
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