The city of Guilin, with a population of 1.3 million people, is small by Chinese standards but is also one of the most famous. The landscape of limestone karsts and winding rivers that make the city so famous was enough to prompt the creators of Star Wars to film scenes of Chewbacca’s home planet in the countryside surrounding the city.
Start your day early by hopping on a motorized boat from the Yangshuo ferry terminal bound for Guilin. The boat trip down the Li River passes through some of the region’s most spectacular scenery, and you’ll have the opportunity to stop and explore some of the small villages along the way.
Once in Guilin, explore the grounds of the Jingjiang Princes City, a Forbidden City-like complex dating back to the Ming Dynasty. During the hot afternoon, get in touch with your inner spelunker as you wander through the series of caves housed deep within the city’s famous limestone formations. As the sun sets, catch a boat tour around the two rivers and four lakes of Guilin and see a demonstration of cormorant fishing under the lights of the illuminated karsts.
The Longsheng County, located in Northern Guangxi Province, is home to four of China’s national minority groups, one of said groups is famous for its females having the longest hair in the world. The county’s rice terraces cover the area’s hills and mountains, dividing them into stripes of glittering water, particularly in the springtime before the rice begins to grow.
Spend a morning learning about the local culture and customs as you hike through the DaZhai Yao village, home of the long-haired women. Dine on some local delicacies before heading onward for an afternoon in the village of Ping An, home of the Zhuang minority group. Hike to the top of the Ping An rice terraces, and watch as the setting sun lights up the strips of water with a brilliant golden glow.
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