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Guilin travel guide - Attractions, sightseeing

Enough yakking about hotels—you’re going to Guilin Guilin travel guide to spend your time outdoors, right? There are options to suit all sorts, be it the mid-range shopper, café yuppie or sedentary stroller. For the latter Guilin is filled with quaint parks and lakes that begin to look indistinguishable after a while. Start at Elephant Hill Park along the famous Li River, where you can walk through a massive structure resembling an elephant and visit a pagoda on top. Bring small notes for the Rmb25 entrance fee.

Then stroll down the Li River Yangtze River tour boardwalk, a wide stretch of pavement offering grand views of the city and its karst hills backdrop. As you gape at your surroundings, watch out for slow walkers, small tai chi gatherings and badminton matches. Tummy rumbling? Step off the boardwalk at any point and walk cross Binjiang Nan Lu. This sidewalk is filled with cafés, restaurants and bars. Guilin’s signature dish is Guilin mi fen, where a smorgasbord of flavourful toppings is thrown on top of a mound of white rice noodles.

Cafes with free Wifi are everywhere. The homey Gourmets Coffee Café (tel: 210-6880, 18 Binjiang Nan Lu) is operated and serviced by Milton, a Taiwanese-American who is generous with his advice of things to do and see. Try his club sandwich with homemade honey mustard for Rmb28. Nearby you can saunter through a well-lit Chinese bookstore called Dao Feng Bookstore (tel: 288-3817) that plays quaint European tunes in the background.

Walk one block West of Bin Jing Nan Road and you’ll hit the ever-crowded Guilin tours Guilin Centre Square, with hundreds of small shopping vendors, mini-malls and ice cream stands. A bit of car honking too. Don’t expect anything high-end here however: it’s not far off from what you may see along Hong Kong’s youth-friendly Granville Road or Bangkok’s MBK—at a fraction of the price, of course.

Back on the boardwalk? Mid-way through you can cross a bridge to the east bank, a residential area lined with bourgeois townhouses. Hop into a cab to the Seven Star Park, a 298-acre plot filled with hills, caves, relics and streams. The Hua Bridge inside is a 1,000-year-old stone walkway with five giant arches underneath. Well worth a stroll. Your kids might drag you through a tired-looking zoo and Children’s Amusement Park, though. General admission starts at Rmb35.

The Reed Flute Cave China vacation deals is a six-kilometre drive from the city centre and its gorgeous multi-colour stalagmites often grace Guilin brochures. But we found it turned really “photogenic” once the artificial lights came on. Still, it’s a pretty site and an easy 240m walk, if you don’t mind all the artifice.

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