A landmark in Guilin since the Tang Dynasty, and considered by many to be a symbol of the city, Elephant Trunk (Xiangbishan) Hill got its name because it’s said to resemble a giant elephant drinking water from the Li River. Towering more than 180 feet (55 meters) above the water, it’s one of the top attractions in Guilin.
In addition to the hill itself, there are a number of caves, pagodas, and temples, including Water Moon Cave, which is said to resemble the full moon on water, or the Elephant Eyes Cave, which is located where the elephant’s “eyes” should be. Climb to the top of Elephant Trunk Hill to see the Puxian Pagoda and for panoramic views over Guilin and stop by Love Island, in the middle of the Li River, for a great vantage point of Elephant Trunk Hill.
Elephant Trunk Hill is a popular site, and many half-day and full-day tours will stop here, along with other attractions like Fubo Hill, Reed Flute Cave, and Seven Star Cave. You can also combine a visit with a multi-day tour that explores other areas nearby like Yangshuo.
Things to Know Before You Go
Elephant Trunk Hill is a must-see for first time visitors to Guilin.
A cruise is a great way to see Elephant Trunk Hill, and it will also allow you to see Water Moon Cave at night.
Wear sturdy shoes if you’re planning to climb to the top of Elephant Trunk Hill. The steep path can be slippery.
How to Get There
Elephant Trunk Hill is located at the confluence of the Li River and the Taohua River. Take bus nos. 2, 16, 23, or 58 (free tourist bus) and get off at Xiangbishan Park Station.
When to Get There
Elephant Trunk Hill is a very popular tourist attraction. Visit early in the morning for fewer crowds or at night on a moonlit cruise.
Other Attractions at Elephant Trunk Hill
Puxian Pagoda, at the top of Elephant Trunk Hill, was built during the Ming Dynasty to worship Samatabahra. Yunfeng Temple, located on the southwest slope of Elephant Trunk Hill, was the home of the Buddhist Monk Jianzhen during the Tang Dynasty, and was also used during the Taiping Rebellion. Today the temple contains an exhibition gallery devoted to that conflict.