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Guangxi province, the land of standing hills

The landscapes seem straight out of a Chinese print. From Guilin, the Li River winds through vertical hills and misty peaks. Further north, the rice terraces of Longji draw a work patiently sculpted by man. Far from the tumult of big cities, welcome to a rural and green China.

Compared to the 24 million inhabitants of Shanghai, Guilin, which does not even have a million, is a small provincial town. However, Chinese tourists go there by the millions each year, to the point of making it the fourth tourist destination in the country after Beijing, Shanghai and Xi’an. Admittedly, the surroundings of the six lakes fed by the Li River in the city center are pleasant. Rong Lake hosts two pagodas, one in copper representing the sun, the other in silver representing the moon.A string of bridges spanning the waterways: translucent walkways, white Chinese marble bridge, replicas of the Golden Gate , the Venetian bridge or our Alexandre-III bridge.

A forest of karst peaks with ghostly silhouettes. Stanislas Fautré / Figaro Magazine

But, to better understand the popularity of Guilin, one has to climb the stairs to Fubo Hill. At the top, breathless, we discover, beyond the buildings, the ghostly silhouettes of an army of quirky peaks. “Sugar loaves” as far as the eye can see. These shan cover the whole region.

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