In the far southeast of China, bordering Vietnam, sits the province of Guangxi with a very different identity to many of the provinces further north. The province is home to a number of ethnic minority people, including the Zhuang which are one of the main groups. Due to the sizeable Zhuang population, Guangxi is officially known as Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Guangxi is famed for its scenery, this is what draws most travellers, and to call the scenery breathtaking would be an enormous understatement.
In the northeast of the province sits the city of Guilin. With a population of around 5 million, this is a not a large city by Chinese standards, nor are the city’s streets so remarkable, but it is a city with a difference - look at any photo of Guilin and you will immediately understand why! Weird and wonderful limestone karst peaks surround the city, towering over it like guards standing attentively over something precious. These natural wonders are even within the city, free to be viewed and explored, and a visit should not be without a river boat cruise on the Li river.
Although you don’t actually have to leave the city to appreciate the karst landscape, we would recommend heading out further afield. If you’d like to be a little more adventurous, then follow the towering peaks further into the distance and you’ll find more of what you came for, in great abundance: dreamy scenes of gigantic greenery-blanketed limestone karst peaks jutting into the sky as far as the eye can see, and bright emerald rice terraces that seem to glow as they flow up and down undulating hills. Yangshuo, Guangxi is the place to go for this...
A small town, nestled on flat plains between the karsts, and bordered by the lush blue Li river, Yangshuo is the perfect base from which to explore and take in the beautiful scenery. Aside from gazing at the stunning limestone rock formations, there are many activities to keep the visitor busy on an active holiday; from walking and climbing to kayaking and river-rafting, and cycling is also a wonderful way to get around. Climb upon your bicycle and slowly meander through the town, or out in the countryside, passing farms, rice paddies and lush riverside scenery, whilst occasionally stopping to gaze up in amazement at the sheer size of the limestone peaks. You may also travel out to the nearby Yulong river with yet more stunning scenery. Finish the day dining on some sumptuous Guangxi cuisine, which is often a fusion of neighbouring regions’ dishes. Another place that shouldn’t be missed is Longsheng. Named after the rice paddy terraces that have made the area famous, it is said that the terraces resemble the scales on a dragon’s back, as they go down the sides of the vast mountains, a photographer’s dream.
For many years, luxury hotels were not prevalent in the Guangxi region, but today, hotels in Guangxi are of an excellent standard. If you are looking for a luxury honeymoon, luxury hotels in Guangxi will not disappoint. Attention to detail is key at these hotels, and you’ll find boutique hotels and spa hotels, most with a swimming pool to relax in at the end of the day.
Guangxi can be easily combined with any tailor made itinerary in China, as Guilin has excellent flight connections with much of China. Luxury tailor made holidays are what we specialise in, and visiting Guangxi can be combined with a river cruise or a mountain retreat, surrounded by rice terraces; luxury travel means that we will truly offer you the very best experience. Whether you are looking for wildlife holidays, or culture holidays, including a visit to Guangxi, China should certainly be on your list. If you would like to combine two countries with an overland crossing, you can easily travel on to northern Vietnam from Guangxi province. There is a crossing with direct trains to the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi. The best time of year to visit is April to May, and September when the weather is warm, but not too hot, and the vegetation is at its most lush.
There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only who is foreign.
Robert Louis Stevenson
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