In the most unfortunate weather possible I concluded my disappointing visit to Guilin in the “scenic park” of Elephant Trunk Hill. Can’t win them all, can you? But I’m used to it by now as it seems like most times I go traveling in China I end up being disappointed. Perhaps on a nice clear day the raising mountains surrounding the hill would make up for its general unattractiveness, but on a foggy rainy day – it’s just a plain hill, even when there’s a temple next to it and a pagoda on the top. At the end of the post, though, you’ll found people who had other impressions.
Oddly enough, there’s not much that’s written about Elephant Hill Scenic Park (which also includes the Elephant Trunk Hill), but there are a few brief mentions.
One of the government websites lays out the propoganda (read the full description on the website, to get a sense of that):
Elephant hill scenic area was graded first by the nation in December 2000 as the Grade AAAA scenic spot. The area includes three scenic spots, elephant trunk hill, wave-subduing hill and folded brocade hill. They have long enjoyed a good reputation and are cream of Guilin landscape and culture, so certainly they are the scenic spots all tourists traveling in Guilin should go.
Elephant hill park lies at the place where Peach Blossom River meets Li River, with Li River on its eastern side and Zi sandbar opposite across the river. Elephant hill is the badge of Guilin city and it is also called elephant trunk hill because the hill is exactly like elephant drinking river water with its trunk. It is the masterpiece of karst landscape, composed of pure limestone deposited on seafloor 360 million yeas ago. In the park there are more than 50 pieces of inscription precipices, including works of famous Chinese poets Lu You, Fan Chengda, and Zhang xiaoxiang, etc.
[…] Fubo Hill commands a good view of beautiful Guilin City from its summit and you get close enough to the river through its famous Returned pearl Cave. The hill slopes into the Li River in the east and looms in the west over the ground. When the river rises with turbulent waves, the hill seems to hold back it��s swelling waters, hence the name Fubo Hill or Restraining Wave Hill.
Fubo Hill offers you three tour options. The first option is an easy climb through the riverside winding corridor and a stone path to Tingtao Pavilion, which offers a spectacular view of the city in eastern, southern and western directions. On your way to the pavilion, you can find the outsized cooking pot manufactured more than 300 years ago and the beautiful riverside scenery. The second tour option is the climb through its western cliff stone path all the way up to its summit. Half way up is a viewing terrace, which is the best place for viewing the downtown area. The hill summit offers gentle breeze and a land of charm and beauty. One more option is a visit to Returned Pearl Cave and Thousand Buddha Cliff. A big attraction at the beginning is the enormous 300-year-old iron bell weighing over 2,500 kg. From Returned pearl Cave you can enjoy the clear Li River.
So, ready for the majestic views of Guilin from the hill top?
Here we go…
Yeah, I – too – was disappointed.
But, there is a temple just below on the cliffs…
and it’s generally a pleasant park to walk around in…
and there are a few caves within the mountain to hide you away from the rain with views of Guilin…
Guilin, with the bad weather and all… definitely not what I had in mind. I’d generally suggest going straight to Yangshou and making absolutely sure the weather’s good and that it’s not the weekend or a national Chinese holiday. BTW – If you think it’s all just bad luck, I challenge you to find nicer photos of/from the hill on Google Images/Flickr.