Scenes from Guilin, China: Rivers, Karst Hills and Rice Fields

Posted on May 21, 2012 by

Having left Southeast Asia behind us, we’ve just arrived in Guilin, China – a laidback, tree-lined city hemmed by karst mountains, rice fields and winding rivers. Coming from the chaotic traffic-congested metropolis of Bangkok, we’ve warmly welcomed the transition and eased into the peaceful setting.

We are excited to be traveling with China Odyssey Tours, crossing the country from the southwest to the eastern corner. Over the past few days, we’ve already experienced different parts of the Guilin prefecture – including cruising along the scenic Li River amidst karst mountains, planting rice in the fields of Yangshuo, wandering through the charming 1000-year-old town of Huangyao, as well as meeting minority tribes in the mountainous Longsheng county.  It’s not our first time in China, but we’re definitely new to this side of the country, one sprinkled with beautiful natural sights and slow countryside way of life.

In the following weeks, our pace will probably pick up as we make our way eastwards into the provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi and eventually Beijing. China Odyssey Tours has come up with an excellent itinerary that includes visiting a panda research center in Chengdu, exploring the legendary Mount Ermei, the terracotta warriors in Xi’an, and wandering through Beijing’s hutongs by rickshaw. Unfortunately, our plans to go to Tibet have been thwarted as our application for the entry permit has been rejected, but I have a feeling we will be back here soon enough.

China is my ancestral land, where my great-great-grandparents are from, yet it’s both foreign and familiar at the same time. The language is one I can relate to, yet the customs, traditions and mindsets are something that intrigue me endlessly. I’m sure this trip will give us a better glimpse of the country. We will be writing about China over the next few weeks, and also sharing stories and photos from Myanmar and Thailand along the way. Meanwhile, here’s a look at some of the photos taken (by Alberto) in Guilin and its surroundings over the past few days.

 Growing rice in the outskirts of Yangshuo

The evening sun shines its last rays over the karst hills surrounding the rice fields of Yangshuo.

Dragon's back rice terraces in Longsheng

Dragon’s back rice terraces, as the name implies, resemble the winding green curves of the mythical animal.

the scenic Li River

A photo shot from the back of a river cruise as we sailed through the beautiful Li River, with the Chinese flag in tow.

A farmer growing rice

A lonesome farmer works in the fields surrounding Yangshuo. Almost 90% of the population of Yangshuo live on agriculture.
Ping An town amidst the rice terraces

Terracotta-roofed houses are stacked amidst the Longji rice terraces to form the town of Ping An.

Ancient town of Huangyao

1,000 years have gone by and the streets remain the same in the charming ancient town of Huangyao.

Lake in Guilin city

Guilin city is known for its waterways – this is one of the lakes that flow through the city.

A wooden house in Longsheng

Typical wooden houses in Ping An town, Longsheng.

A minority tribe lady who treks almost 1.5 hours daily to Ping An to sell embroidery in Longsheng.

Disclaimer: This trip was made possible by China Odyssey Tours, but all opinions expressed above are our own.

About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is the co-founder of WildJunket. As a professional travel writer with a special interest in offgrid destinations and adventure travel, she scours through the world in search for a slice of undiscovered paradise. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Guatemala, swam with sealions in the Galapagos and built a school in Tanzania.

13 Responses to “Scenes from Guilin, China: Rivers, Karst Hills and Rice Fields”

  1. Audrey May 21, 2012 11:55 pm #

    Wow! Everything about this places looks breathtaking! The karsts, the terraces, the narrow back streets… :D

  2. RetireInStyleBlog May 22, 2012 12:43 am #

    I suppose I could look it up…but I wish there were a map showing the location in China. We spend a lot of time in the country but I am finding that technology has left we without an Atlas. I miss that piece of paper.

  3. Megan May 22, 2012 1:23 am #

    You had better weather at the Dragonback Terraces than I did – was still beautiful despite the rainfall. Love the photos though – enjoy plentiful bowls of "mi xian" and have safe travels around China!

  4. Vicky May 22, 2012 3:03 am #

    Beautiful photos! The rice terraces are truly unbelievable!

  5. @candacerardon May 22, 2012 10:17 am #

    Love, love, love these photos. Definitely can't wait to visit this part of the world–thanks for the glimpse!

  6. Dean May 22, 2012 3:38 pm #

    Wow those rice terraces are amazing! Beautiful spot.

  7. Barbara May 23, 2012 2:11 am #

    Those rice paddies look so romantic… and yet I wonder if it's actually back breaking work! Wonderful, wonderful pictures!!!

  8. Gobi Gear May 23, 2012 8:29 am #

    Amazing! It was raining when we visited Guilin, but we loved the city and all it had to offer nonetheless. Thanks for sharing beautiful photos – in the sunshine!!

  9. andrea October 17, 2012 2:19 am #

    Beautiful photos! The rice terraces are truly superb

  10. Michael December 29, 2012 11:41 am #

    It's amazing, especially the terrace rice field! Looking fowards for your next trip.

  11. aileechris January 8, 2013 6:41 am #

    Hi, I'm Aileechris From U.S. I see your blog it is really nice or i can also say very beautiful, it gives me a lot of knowledge about Rivers, Karst Hills and Rice Fields. i want to thanks for this good information i also want go this beautiful place whenever i am free from my work.
    all your picks are very very very nice.
    It gives a real view of Rivers, Karst Hills and Rice Fields http://phototravelguide.wordpress.com/chinese-ric

  12. aileechris January 10, 2013 12:50 am #

    Hi, I'm Aileechris From U.S.

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