Approximately 800 years ago, Chinese poet 王正功 Wang Zheng Gong wrote the famous phrase 桂林山水甲天下 which means “Guilin’s mountains and waters are the most outstanding on Earth.” If you understand Mandarin, this phrase plasters every site, spoken by locals and guides. The truth is, clusters of karst mountains along the Li River is majestic. In essence, a Chinese water painting coming to life.
Bordering Hunan, Guilin’s name literally means “Forest of Sweet Osmanthus” – East Asian flowers perfuming the streets of Guilin when the season is ripe. The city was one of the later ones to be discovered by mainstream, it remained a countryside town even during the Tang and Song dynasties though used as a guard bordering central government and southewest border. During this time, numerous canals were built for transporting food supplies from 長江 Yangtze region.
During 1920’s, 孫中山Dr. Sun Yat Sen used Guilin as a headquarter for his Northern Expeditionary Army. Dr. Sun later became a George Washington-esque figure in Taiwan, referred to as the Father of China’s neighboring island. Along with Beijing, Hangzhou and Suzhou; Guilin is part of China’s efforts to protect historical, cultural heritage and natural scenery.
Tripping to Guilin is equivalent to embracing the beauty of mother nature. Poet Wang was right, such mountains and waters are incomparable. If you wanted a glimpse of Eastern heaven, come here for a long, hard, stunning stare.
Photos: Wendy Hung
Have you ever been to Guilin? Share with us in the comments.