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Elephant Trunk Hill, near the center of the internationally famed City of Guilin in southern China’s Guangxi Province, is a part of the Li River jagged hills landscape that visitors from all over China and the world come to see, experience, and enjoy. It is the symbol of Guilin.
The small, cozy park has a pagoda you can climb up to to see the view of the Li River and the city. It is convenient to access also. It is about 600 meters from the giant regional and bullet train station, Guilin Station, and quite near the Guilin downtown.
Elephant Trunk Hill is notable for the size of the arch, beautiful location along the Li River, and it's proximity for an convenient outdoor excursion when in the Guilin/Yangshuo area.
Elephant Trunk Hill is one of 1,000s of karst hills that cover Guangxi Province. Karst hills are made of limestone, and in the northern Guangxi area, they are noted for having weathered into beautiful shapes. Hundreds of thousands of tourists have come to the Guilin City region to see them.
Famed in China: The arch is famed for looking like an elephant trunk drinking up the Li River. It has been a tourist destination since the Tang Dynasty (618–907).
In the past, the hill area was the abode of monks and scholars. It is said that Jianzhen, a Tang-era Buddhist monk who introduced the religion and education to Japan, lived there.
Based on our own travel experience, reviews from our customers, and Tripadvisor, we have selected the following top things to do there and several attractions around the Elephant Trunk Hill for tourists to enjoy.
It is Guilin’s archetypal landmark. It is easy to climb up the stone steps.
It is said the Puxian Pagoda was originally built in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) era.
You can rest there and see local landmarks such as the Waterfall Hotel, Liberation Bridge, and Seven Stars Park across the Li River. Looking down, you can see the Taohua and Li Rivers. Looking down river, you can see the distinctive shape of Tunnel Hill (Chuan Shan).
We recommend climbing one of Guilin’s city center hills such as this one to appreciate the extent of this small but highly-eulogized city. Guilin spreads north and south along the banks of the Li River, but east and west is enclosed by rows of pointy hills like dragon’s teeth.
Many tourists like to ride the boats and rafts in the park to sightsee the view. These are parked along the river and cost extra.
Rain is frequent in the early to mid summer, and we suggest that you check the Guilin weather forecast before heading off. Our travel advisors could also give you some useful suggestions.
You'll cross the Li River, see some of the best of the scenery in the city, and watch what the locals do in the river and in the pedestrian/public parks and gardens. See the full route guide and map: Guilin Walking: Seven Star Park to Elephant Hill.
The arch under the "elephant's trunk" is called Water Moon Cave. Chinese painters have for centuries liked to sketch it on full moon nights when the moonlight dances under it, and famous poets have written many poems. It is Guilin's landmark.
Climbing the snaking stone path up the hill, visitors will see another cave called Elephant Eye Cave. With a height of around two meters, the cave is five to 10 meters in width and about 52 meters in length. The cave affords a good view of the surroundings.
This is a multimedia and special effects show in the evenings. The hill itself becomes the projection screen, and by computer generated video, lasers, and special lighting, you'll see highlights of the culture and scenery of Guilin played out before you.
The show is divided into four parts and has accompanying music: Primitive Guilin, Mysterious Village, Phantom Theater, and the Legend of the Elephant God. There is a laser show finale. People must pay for a separate evening ticket for the show.
Guilin has a subtropical climate.
Shops: Small shops offer tourist goods and souvenirs for your visit.
Cleanliness: The park is kept clean.
Gardens: Some people simply like seeing and sitting amid the gardens.
Bathrooms: They are sufficient, but bring you own toilet paper in case.
Snacks: pricey, but available.
Travel is quite convenient. The local bus stop is just outside the gate/ticket office. The huge central Guilin Station, a mixed long-distance bus/local city bus/bullet train/conventional train station, is only about 600 meters away.
Guilin station has plenty of buses to the tourist highlight town of Yangshuo. Guilin Station is a short bus/taxi ride away from Elephant Trunk Hill.
Taxis from the city center at Guilin Train Station to the hill take about 4 minutes and cost about 10 to 14 RMB (1.50 to 2.00 USD).
Walk: It would take about half an hour to walk from Guilin Station (桂林站 Guìlín Zhàn). See more about Transport in Guilin.
If you would prefer not to take public transport, then consider China Highlights. We are based in Guilin and know every knook and cranny and ins and outs. Our drivers can get you there, quickly, comfortably, and in style.
If you are planning on coming to Guilin or Yangshuo, you can contact our local travel guides easily by phone or online. We can provide free travel advice or help you arrange a trip. See more about our private transport services.
We, China Highlights, are based in Guilin and can arrange and escort you on a wonderful tour of the region.
If you are interested in coming to Guilin/Yangshuo, please see our popular tours for inspiration: