China Travel Guide
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Guanxi Province, located at the Southern Coast of China, has a diversity of nature, culture and adventure to offer, and is regarded as one of Chinaâ€™s most beautiful and imposing provinces. It is seized 236,000 square km and counts nearly 46 million inhabitants. A mixture of Chinaâ€™s minorities is found here as almost 75% of Guangxi is non-Han. Therefore a range of minority languages is spoken. Guangxi has a subtropical climate with hot but humid summers, with an average temperature of 28 oc, and mild winters with an average temperature of 13 oc. The rainy season lasts from June to August. Guangxi is bordering Vietnam in the West and the provinces Guizhou in the North, Hunan in the North-East and Guangdong in the South-East.
During the Qing dynasty an army conquered the area now known as Guangdong and eastern Guangxi. The Zhuang people were overwhelmed and found compassion in the North by the Yao (Mien) and Miao (Hâ€™mong) people. Unlike the Zhuang, the Yao and the Miao remained in the hill regions and remained loyal to their customs. The province was named Guangxi from the Qing dynasty (1644 â€“ 1911). The continious conflicts between the Chinese and the hill tribes resulted in unrest in the 1830s.
The Ling Canal was built by the Qing and was the first canal in China. Anti-Kuomintang forces began modernising Guangxi in the 1920s. However, WWII devastated a great part of it. In 1958 the government established the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region which today is one of the five Minority Autonomous Regions in China. Infrastructure to support Herculean transport was build during the Vietnam-USA War in the 1960s. Nowadays the province gets it economical boost from tourism.
Nanning is the capital of the Guangxi province and counts 1,3 million inhabitants. It has a history of about 1,600 years and a rich cultural heritage. In 318 A.D. Nanning was actually a prefecture known by the name of Yongzhou and only acquired its present name in 1314 A.D. The central government of the Yuan dynasty named the city â€œNanningâ€, which means peaceful South, in the hope the south would remain in peace after being used as a warfield in numerous battles.
Nanning belongs to the subtropical monsoon zone, which brings sunshine and plenty of rainfall. The environment of the city is beautiful and because the forest coverage rate is higher than the average city, it has obtained the name â€œChinaâ€™s green cityâ€. The cityâ€™s main streets and river banks have been restored in the past years and is beautiful to explore on foot. Nanning has become a hub of the south-western regionâ€™s opening to the sea and is developing as a regional logistic center in south-western China. It is expected to be one of the highlights in the economic development of China.
In the east of the city, the Guangxi Herb Botanical Garden can be found. In China, it is the largest of its kind with over 2,000 species of medical plants of the 5,000 species that are found in Guangxi. Around Nanning, Yangmei is a beautiful 17th century city along the Yong River. Furthermore, the Yiling Cave can be found in Nanning's area, which offers spectacular enlighted stalagmites. The Yiling Cave is surrounded by the countryside which is also worth exploring.
The astonishing scenery of Guilin is famous for its karst topography surrounding the Li River, and is referred to as â€œThe Finest Under Heavenâ€. The flat landscape is surrounded by limestone peaks and cliffs and in addition there are many caves to be found, like the Reed Flute Cave. This stunning cave was named after the plants growing just outside the cave, which the locals use to make flutes of. The 240 meter deep cave is spectacular lightened, accentuating the rock formations and stalactites. The city has also several famous parks, e.g. the Elephant Trunk Park, which is not only pleasant to visit, but which peaks also provide a magnificent panoramic view over the whole city. The cave found in the â€œtrunkâ€ of the elephant is known as the â€œWater Moon Caveâ€ (Shui Yue Cave). On the top of the hill a pagoda, which dates from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), is sited. From Guilin one has the possibility to take a cruise along the Li River to Yangshou.
Guilin is regarded by many as the most beautiful place in China. The scenery of the extraordinary city has been honored by many poets, painters and other artists.
Guilin was founded in 314 BC a small settlement which became more important after the construction of a canal, that connected the river with another river further north. This enabled the Imperial court to send supplies from the Yangzi plains to the armies in the south. In the Ming dynasty, the capital became the capital of the province but in 1914 Nanning became the capital.
Yangshou is a relatively small town, located south of Guilin. It has a layback atmosphere and besides its amazing sceneries it offers lots of adventurous outdoor activities. Over 1,400 years of history gave this town a deep traditional culture and ethnic minority groups like the Hui, Zhauang and Yao.
With the present of the â€œdonut shapedâ€ hill known as â€œMoonhillâ€ and several other peaks, it is the perfect place to go repelling or rock climbing. In the direct area of Yangshou, a cave can be found which is referred to as the â€œWatercaveâ€ since the only way to enter it, is by a small boat. There is a mud-pool inside the Watercave and visitors can take a mud-bath - if desired.
As the city is a lot smaller than Guilin, it is worthwhile going bamboo rafting on this peaceful part of the Li River to enjoy the purity of the nature that surrounds Yangshou. An hour drive from Yangshou is another opportunity to go rapid river rafting. Furthermore, there are lots of places where you can rent a scooter or a bike and take a tour to the countryside of Yangshou. Just outside Yangshou are two Martial Arts Schools to be found that offer classes in Kung Fu and Thai Chi. And as for the evenings there is the opportunity to join local fishermen on a cormorant fishing tour. The city center is made car-free and breaths a Western atmosphere as many of the numerous bars are owned by foreigners.
Longshen is the earliest county established in China. Longshen is located 100 km north from Guilin. With just 160,000 inhabitants it is considered to be a small village and is famous for its impressive Dragonâ€™s Backbone rice terraces, surrounding the whole area, and the Hot Spring National Park.
The village was established during the Tang dynasty (618-906) and the Song dynasty (960-1279). During the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), in 1737, a chief of Yinshui Dong village, led the Dong into rebellion with the support of the Zhuang, Miao, and the Yao against the Qing government. The rebellion failed and the villagers moved elsewhere. With an eye on the development of the local tourism, the Dong were invited to return to their home villages. The architecture is slightly different from the traditional Chinese architecture. There are a lot of wooden constructions held up by wooden pillars
The village inhabits a relatively high concentration of ethnic minorities. Besides the Han, nationalities like the Miao, Yao, Dong and Zhuang live in Longshen. The minorities can be recognized by their traditional clothing. The most remarkable appearances are those of the Yao-women. These women have extremely long hair that reaches their ankles, but is usually worn in a bun. All by all, Longshen is a beautiful quiet village that offers interesting sights on both cultural as natural levels.
The name Beihai refers to the city's position bordering the sea in the north and was founded during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). It was not referred to as a city until emperor Jiaqing came into power. According to the Sino-British Yantai Treaty, Baihai was designated as a trading port in 1876. Since the 1950s, Beihai changed jurisdiction several times, like it changed from town to municipality, to county, to a peopleâ€™s commune, to a county level town, and to a county level city in 1964. A year later, Beihai was put under the administration of Guangxi again.
Beihai locates one of Chinaâ€™s biggest aquatic exhibition centers, offering 7 showrooms and aquariums and more than 650 kinds of marine creatures. The aquarium also has a breeding programme and is a good place to broaden your knowledge about the marine life.
Silver Beach is known as a Holiday Resort and was selected as the Key Scenic Spot of China in 1992. The beach on the coast of the city is 24 km long and is famous for its white and fine sand, warm and clean water, and gentle waves. Nearby Silver Beach is the possibility to take the ferry and visit the lovely island of Weizhou. With the ferry it will take 2 to 3 hours to reach this island. Weizho offers possibilities to scuba-dive, it has charming beaches, and some sites like a French Catholic Church build in 1882.