Guilin's Elephant Trunk Hill

Trip Start May 26, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  , Guangxi Zhuang,
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Guilin's Elephant Trunk Hill Park
This weekend, the weather was so nice, that my wife and I went to Guilin's Elephant Hill Park for a stroll. This park is not only the symbol of the city, but also a really beautiful place to get a way for a bit.

Elephant Trunk Hill Park is located on the Li River. The entrance to the park is very beautiful, it features many small bamboo groves, and traditional buildings. There is a little stream there that can be crossed by a traditional Chinese bridge. The entire park is elephant themed.  The little paths that meander through the park have not only designs of elephants in them, but also the Chinese character for "elephant" written in many different ways. There are also stone elephant statues located throughout the park.  Some have elephants playing musical instruments, and there are several large sculptures of elephants playing in the Li River and on the riverbank. All of them are very cute, and excellent photo ops.

Elephant Trunk Hill
Elephant Trunk Hill is the main feature of the park, and is located on the river. The hill is a natural Karst rock formation that is naturally shaped like a giant elephant drinking from the Li River. I think the coolest thing about Guilin is all of the mountains located in and around it. They are everywhere, and rise straight out of the ground. You can see them from the top of the elephants back. [On the top is a 46 foot (14 meter) high Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) pagoda.  It is said that it looks like the hilt of a giant sword. There is a legend connected to it. In the past, the Emperor of Heaven decided to conquer earth, and he did so from the back of a giant elephant. The dedicated elephant worked himself sick. The Emperor of Heaven deserted him, and the local farmers nursed the sickly elephant back to health. The elephant being extremely grateful, decided to desert the emperor and stay on earth to help the farmers plow their fields during a time of drought. The Emperor of Heaven was so angry that his elephant had deserted him, that he thruse his sword into the elephants back, and turned the elephant to stone. The dagoba erected at the top stands for the hilt of the sword. Now the elephant can stay with the friendly people of Guilin, guarding the city, and welcoming guests from all over the world. From the top of the elephants back, visitors will get a beautiful panoramic view of Guilin city, and the beautiful Li River. PHOTO_ID_R=the-pagoda-on-the-elephantxs-back.jpg]

Shuiyue Cave (Moon over the Water Cave)
The round hole that is between the elephant's trunk, and front legs, is called Shuiyue Cave. It is round in shape, and on nights when the moon is full, and the surface of the water is still, the reflection in the water looks like the moon is floating on the river. Inside the cave are more than 50 stone inscriptions dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). They are poems and written records of visitors thoughts upon visiting this beautiful site.

Love island
There is an island out in the Li River called Love Island. ] Visitors can cross a stone bridge carved with elephants to get to it. It is a beautiful little island covered with bamboo groves and dedicated to lovers. It has many winding paths, and many stone statues dedicated to love have been erected in it. It is a neat place to relax, and spend some time with that special someone.

Photo Ops
The best way to get photos of Elephant trunk hill is from a traditional bamboo raft. Visitors can pay a little money and ride around the hill. The man on the boat uses a bamboo pole to propel the boat, so it is a quiet and peaceful way to get some really beautiful shots of the hill and the Li River.
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