Situated in the east of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in Southern China, the Lijiang River Scenic Area is the world’s largest and most beautiful karst landscape, inducing innumerable literati to revel in its beauty throughout the ages. Part of the scenery along the Lijiang River is printed on the back of the newly issued 20 yuan note. The river originates at one of the most famous mountains in Southern China, Maoershan Mountain, nourishing the many flora and fauna that live along its banks.

The Lijiang River Scenic Area contains many breathtaking tourist destinations such as Caoping, Yangdi, Xingping, Cattle Gorge, Seven Star Cave, Elephant Trunk Hill, and so on. Being the major scenic spot and the essence and soul of Guilin in Guangxi Province, this river flows through the city like a pearl necklace on a fair lady. So far the approved open area of the Liliang River can be divided into three spheres. Specifically, downtown on-water entertainment; Lijiang River sightseeing; and tourism of the Yangshuo, Guilin section of the river. The distance between the city center of Guilin and Yangshuo County is 83 kilometers, also known as the One-hundred Li Gallery. Considered one of the most scenic landscapes in China, the Lijiang River was one of the first scenic areas approved by the State Council in 1982. On May 5th, 2007, it obtained formal approval from National Tourism Administration of China to be crowned as a 5-A class tourist attraction.

The Lijiang River Main Attractions:

Elephant Trunk Hill

The Solitary Beauty Peak

Seven Star Cave

Reed Flute Cave

Cattle Gorge

The Lijiang River Story:

1.   Aniu Sister-in-law Rice-flour Noodles

Third Sister Liu (Sanjie Liu), a folklore character of the Zhuang nationality of China, was not only a gorgeous singer but also an excellent cook of rice-flour noodles. It is said that as many as 26 kinds of spices were added to her rice-flour noodle soup broth – no wonder it was so delicious! After she married Brother Aniu, she opened a rice-flour noodle store called Aniu Sister-in-Law Rice-flour Noodle Shop at the entrance to the village. The special flavor of the noodles and her beautiful voice soon attracted a huge number of customers. Huairen Mo, a rich man from the neighborhood, tried several times to take her as one of his concubines, but failed each time. Outraged, he conspired with local officials to burn down Third Sister Liu’s shop, infuriating the people of the village. The villagers decided unanimously to rescue Third Sister Liu, fighting with only their shovels, hoes and sticks. Many of them were badly injured. Seeing this, Third Sister Liu uttered a cry and jumped into the Lijiang River to save her fellow villagers from being further maimed. Suddenly, two carps leaped out of the water. One took Third Sister Liu on its back and flew up into the sky, heading to heaven as Third Sister Liu transformed into a goddess; the other jumped onto Huairen Mo and his men, pushing them down deep into the water. The tail of the carp surfaced high above the water, changing into the current Mt. Fish Tail.

2.   The Hill of the Faithful Wife

37 kilometers away from the city of Guilin, the Hill of the Faithful Wife is along the west coast of the Lijiang River and just in front of Doumi Beach. On top of the hill there is a stone resembling a man who, facing north, wears traditional Chinese clothes. Halfway up the hill there is a stone in the shape of a woman holding a baby on her back, looking into the direction of said man. Thus, the name of the hill came to be the Hill of the Faithful Wife or the Stone of the Faithful Wife. In the Song dynasty, it was rumored that a mendicant Buddhist monk turned into stone, giving the rock its man-like appearance. However, in the Qing dynasty, the story was that a family of three only had one dou (a measure of grain) of rice left when they came ashore. Unable to find food anywhere on the mountain, the husband was so lost in desperation that he turned into a stone-man. After waiting and waiting and still seeing no sign of her husband, the wife with the child on her back went up the mountain searching for him, only to find that her husband had already turned to stone. The wife was heartbroken and instantly became a stone-woman. Visitors to the Hill of the Faithful Wife will be fascinated by each of the many variations in legend about this scenic spot.

Jack Li

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