The Karsts of Guilin, China

By: leelefever on August 16, 2006 - 8:04am

As a child, I remember seeing pictures of a magical place where the earth seemed to have burst right out of it's shell and created giant rounded stone mounds, set amongst rice paddies, rivers and farms. I said then that I was going to see that place one day. Much to my enjoyment, we found this place in Guilin, China.

 The mounds are actually called karsts and are made of limstone.  200 million years ago this part of China was under the sea and limestone was thrust upward from the earth's crust and then eroded into the shapes we see today. 

The karsts are best viewed from a boat on the Li River and as most things in China, it is done as part of a package tour, complete with flag waving guide.  Our guide was the delightfully geeky "Jack". The tour included lunch and costs about US$58 per person.


 We learned today that English teachers in China often suggest western names for their students.  The person who told us was given the name "Norman" but didn't like it - so he chose "Steven" instead.

Jack led us on a 4 hour trip down the Li River, accompanied by a very long line of similar boats, each holding about 100 sweating people.

 The whole trip was narrated by a women with English skills far inferior to Jack's.  She told us how the Li River "winds through the grotesque peaks exactly like a blue silk ribbon" and how we should watch out for the peaks that "look exactly like 9 oxen".  Most aboard looked around in a confused state, amazed at the scenery nonetheless.  And the scenery was amazing.  There is surely no other place in the world like the karsts near Guilin - it's the stuff of poetry and paintings.  In fact, the area appears on the back of the 20 RMB (chinese currency) note.




By: echo (not verified) on August 16, 2006 - 5:16pm
aha, u are now in Guilin, the next step must Yangsuo, enjoy your time there
By: leelefever on August 16, 2006 - 8:17pm

Hi echo!  We went to Yangshou ofr a few hours at the end of the Li River tour.  This morning we flew to Chongquin where we will be for one night before getting on a Three Gorges River cruise that we'll take all the way to Shanghai.  

We've only been in Chongquin for a little while, but we're amazed at how huge and hazy it is.  What is the city's reputation among the Chinese, Echo? 

By: Echo (not verified) on August 17, 2006 - 5:42pm

Chongqing belonged to Sichuan province several years ago, but now it is municipality under the control of the central goverment, a very big city. i never been there, but the food there is very famous in China, nearly all the restaurants hv Chongqing food in China. these days i heard that the tempreture there is very high, 43 C drgee, new record in the history.

i hd been to three gordge before the big project, but the route is from Chendu to Wuhan, so many places are submerged now, u are now see the new three gordge.

good luck

By: CR (not verified) on August 17, 2006 - 6:32am
We took this Guilin boat tour 2 summers ago. One thing that we noticed, if you looked at the other boats in your convoy, is that everyone seemed to be doing the washing up / cooking with river water. Can't even imagine what's in it. 

We declined the included lunch, needless to say, and were amazing to see that the others on the boat (mostly European, not american, like us) who must have seen the same thing, didn't do the same. 

Just squeamish about that sort of thing, I guess....

By: CR (not verified) on August 17, 2006 - 6:47am
Been to many factory stores yet? If not, and you're going to take more guided tours, you will. Trust me. It's the most insane thing ever. For kicks, ask your guide if you can leave the store, if you can head wherever you're going on your own. 

They're, um, not optional...