The Top 9 Guilin Mountains

The Top 9 Guilin Mountains

Guilin is famous for its dramatic karst terrain. Guilin Mountains are made of limestone, dolomite, and gypsum, which have in common the fact that they are all soluble rocks. Those rocks are easily eroded by rainwater, especially when there are certain acids in the water. Karst topography is characterized by the many caverns and sinkholes that are formed by the dissolution of limestone or other carbonate rocks. Most of the karst formations are located in southern China, and Guilin is a typical city which is famous for the beautiful karst landscape.

1. Yao Mountain

Located about 10km from Guilin, Yao Mountain is the highest mountain in this city. Because of the height, it’s one of the most popular landscape photography spots. You can have a bird’s eye view of the hundreds of thousands of stand-alone peaks. Some of the peaks appear like a ‘Sleeping Buddha’ which is the highlight of the view. April to June is the peak season to visit when the azaleas are in bloom. There are three options to get to the top of the mountain. You can take a chairlift, which is the most efficient way. Or you can drive or hike to the top. You also can pay a visit to the Jingjiang Mausoleum which is located at the foot of the Mountain. Jiangjiang King Tombs Complex includes 11 tombs for Kings and over 300 tombs for generals, lieutenants, imperial clans, imperial Kinsmen, and vassal's relatives.

Yao Mountain

2. Cuiping Hill (Wuzhi Hill)

Located in Zhuge Village, Putao Town, Cuiping Hill is really an off-the-beaten-path spot which is special for photographers only. It’s a new scenic spot which was first found by local photographers. There are some steps leading to the top of the hill. It’s an ideal place to have a bird’s eye view of the peaks, local villages, zigzag rivers and farm lands. It’s one of the best places to shoot a sunset with the picturesque peaks. To climb the hill, you will walk through Zhuge village, and it’s a great chance to visit a local village and see local people’s life. 

Cuiping Hill

3. Elephant Trunk Hill

The Elephant Trunk Hill is located in the city center. It’s the symbol of Guilin. Due to the Karst formations, the soluble rocks are easily broken down by water. It has formed an arched cave in the hill. The hill looks like an elephant is drinking water from the Li River, therefore it’s called Elephant Trunk Hill. There are well set-up stone steps leading to the top of the hill. It’s a good place to have a bird’s eye view of the city and Li River. The Guilin Sanhua Liquor Cultural Museum is also located in this park. The museum showcases the great brewing history of Sanhua liquor. Guilin Sanhua liquor possesses a unique aroma and mellow taste, attracting tourists from home and abroad.

Elephant Trunk Hill

4. Xiangong Hill

Xiangong Hill is located beside the Li River. It’s the only hill that you can climb to the top of in this area. The hill is regarded as the most popular landscape photography spot in Guilin. There are hundreds of photographers and tourists visiting this hill every single day. Standing on the top of the hill, you can take a picture of the Li River and those stand-alone peaks. It’s a good place for a sunrise shooting. If you are lucky, you can see the sea of clouds as well. It only takes about 20 minutes to climb to the top. Prepare a flashlight if you want to shoot a sunrise, as no road-light is available there. Read more on Top 10 Most Beautiful Places for Guilin Landscape Photography.

Xiangong Hill

5. Diecai Hill (Folded Brocade Hill)

Diecai Hill or Folded Brocade Hill is also located in Guilin city center, beside the Li River. It’s one of the best spots to have a bird’s eye view of the city. At the foot of the hill, you can see the Mulong Lake which belongs to the ‘two rivers and four lakes’ water system. It takes some effort to climb to the top, but you're rewarded with possibly the best view over this already dramatically back dropped town. It’s also a historical and cultural site, as you can see some stone carvings, tablet and poems on the rocks. There is also a slide down from the top to the halfway down the hill. If you are travelling with your kids, they would love that.

Folded Brocade Hill

6. Moon Hill

Located about 12km from Yangshuo town, the Moon Hill is a must see if you are travelling to this town. There is a huge natural arch on the hill. It’s like a moon-shaped hole, so it’s named ‘Moon Hill’. To get the full view of Moon Hill, you need to take photos from afar or at the lookout point at the bottom of the hill. It will take about 20 to 30 minutes to climb to the top and have a close look at the hole. Because of the Karst formations with some small cracks on the cliff, the cave is a natural base for rock climbers. It is a nice hike through the calm rustling leaves of a bamboo forest. The well maintained path is easy to follow and navigate. Please wear comfortable walking shoes or trainers. There is a great photo opportunity from the top. It’s a view of the surrounding areas, farm lands, stand-alone peaks and valley.

Moon Hill

7. Laozhai Hill

Laozhai Hill is located in Xingping Town, Yangshuo. It’s above the Li River and just close to the Xingping Pier. It’s not as popular as the other photography spots. But it’s still a great place for landscape photography. Standing on the top of the hill, you can have a spectacular view of the Li River. The entrance is near the Xingping Pier. You will pass by many old Chinese graves. The steps are a little bit deep and a few steps have already been destroyed. You have to climb up some man-made ladders to get to the top. There is a small pavilion on the top of the hill. Standing on the submit, you will find that your hard work has definitely been worth it.

Laozhai Hill

8. Fubo Hill

Fubo Hill is one of the main attractions in downtown Guilin city. Half of the hill is on the ground and the other half is above the water which looks like it is floating on the Li River. The highlights of this park include Iron Bell, Qianren Pot, Riverside Pavilion and Cave of the Returned Pearls with carvings. The steps are a little bit steep, but you still can climb to the top. The bird’s eye view from the top is the best reward for your hard climbing. You can see part of the city, hills close to the park, and the crystal Li River. If you are interested in stone carvings, the Returned Pearls Cave will be the highlight of your trip to the park. There are some tiny caves and passages, some with carvings of Buddha and his disciples, some with altars with incense, and some with religious wares for sale.

Fubo Hill

9. Damian Hill (Goupo Hill)

Located about 40km from Yangshuo, Damian Hill is not even easy to find on the map. It’s an off-the-beaten-path spot where only the interested photographers go. There are lots of steps leading to the top of the hill. It will take about 1 hour to climb to the top. The steps are not very deep. It’s good for kids and senior citizens. It’s strongly suggested that you hire a local photography tour guide to find this spot and the entrance for you. It’s the only hill along the Li River from which you can see the complete and biggest bend of the river. It’s a dream place to shoot the sunrise with the hundreds of stand-alone hills and the beautiful Li River. When the sunrays come out and sprinkle their light on the top of the hills, it would be the best Guilin landscape photo that you have ever taken.

Damian Hill

As you can see there are many picturesque hills in this beautiful city. It’s always difficult to pick out the best 9 mountains. The various Guilin Mountains feature different things. You can discover cultural things and history on them. Obviously, some of them are the best photography spots and the best love for photographers worldwide.

By Michael Hu
Co-Founder