The Guilin City region is renowned for small scenic limestone hills. There are several hill parks within the city that are worth seeing for quick trips when you are in the city. One of the best ones is Solitary Beauty Peak because along with the usual park and small hill, you can see the adjacent Jingjiang Prince Mansion area, the palace area of former rulers of Guilin about 500 years ago, and the old city area of Guilin with big gates and walls.
If you interested in seeing both ancient architecture and a scenic park hill, this is a place to go. You can climb to the top to look around and take pictures.
If you haven't been there in a while, the area around the Jingjiang Palace park has recently  been remodeled and pedestrianized with traditional-style tiles and buildings. Of interest to tourists is that there are now several good restaurants as well as hostels, bars, souvenir shops, etc.
The Jingjiang Prince Mansion
- Jingjiang Prince Mansion is located at the center of Guilin City.
- It was built at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) when the grandnephew of the Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, Zhu Shouqian, was announced the Prince of Jingjiang.
- Jingjiang Prince Mansion is called "the best preserved Princes' City of the Ming Dynasty in China".
- Now it is one of the state-level major cultural relic preservation sites.
Jingjiang was a local kingdom and Guilin was its capital. After Zhu Shouqian was announced the Prince of Jingjiang by the Ming Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang (who ruled 1368–1398), the palace and courtyard of the Jingjiang Prince was constructed. It took more than 20 years before the city wall and palace were completed in 1392. It has a history of over 630 years, which is older than the Forbidden City in Beijing!
There are 4 halls, 4 pavilions and 40 other buildings surrounding the main buildings. It occupies a total area of 19.78 hectares (0.08 square miles). The layout of the mansion is, from the south to the north, the Imperial Burial Place, Chengyun Palace and Chengyun Gate; from east to west, Imperial Divine Temple and Ancestral Temple. Other buildings are built around the main buildings.
All the buildings in Jingjiang Prince Mansion are decorated with red walls and yellow tiles as was typical for imperial buildings in China.
The Ming Palace Has Become a Museum
Fourteen Jingjiang Princes over 12 generations lived here during the 257 years before it was ruined in 1649 at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912). The last owner Li Youde then buried himself to death.
At present, the main buildings of the city are well preserved. The left Chengyun Gate, the platform of Chengyun Palace, and other buildings are open for visitors. Today the site is occupied by Guangxi Normal University. The local government has done a great job to combine aspects of Guilin's natural beauty, history, traditional architecture and local culture. Now it is a popular tourist destination.
Solitary Beauty Peak
Solitary Beauty Peak is named so since it stands alone. It is famed for its sharp precipice. The top of the peak is an ideal place to take a whole view of Guilin city, and since it is within the city, going there is convenient.
Inscriptions: There are numerous cliff-side and stone inscriptions carved on Solitary Beauty Peak. Among those tablets and inscriptions on the peak, the inscription that declares the rivers and mountains of Guilin as the best under heaven (桂林山水甲天下) is particularly renowned. The "Taisui" stone inscription is located at the Taiping Cave at the foot of the peak.
The Notable Features of Solitary Beauty Peak
- The small hill has 306 steps to the top in downtown Guilin.
- Solitary Beauty Peak is a famous scenic spot located in the Ming Prince Mansion Park in Guilin City.
- The hill is known as the "great southern pillar" as well as the "No. 1 peak in Guilin City".
Notable scenic spots: There are famous scenic spots like the Xuanwu Pavilion (玄武阁), Guanyin Hall, Three Guests Temple (三客庙), and Three Gods Memorial Hall (三仙祠) on the top of the peak and the Yueya Pond (月牙泉) at the foot of the peak.
On the east side of the peak is carved with a Stone Inscription by the poet Yan Yanyuan who lived during the ancient Song Dynasty period (420-479) in one of the Southern Dynasties (420–589) in China.
It is the most ancient stone inscription among those carved in the peak. Poet Yan Yanyuan once wrote the following poetic couplet: "The beauty of the peak is so unique that other nearby mountains are not on the par with it." (未若独秀者，峨峨郛吧间。) Hence, came its name of "Solitary Beauty Peak" (独秀峰 Dúxiù Fēng).
The Guilin City Gates and Wall
The Jingjiang Prince Mansion was enclosed within a 1500-meter long city wall which was built with square bluestones. It is 557.5 meters long from south to north and 336 meters long from east to west. The city wall is 7.92 meters high and has a thickness of 5.5 meters. You can see the wall and arches when you visit the Solitary Beauty Peak.
There are four gates in four directions that are called "Tiren" (Donghua Gate), "Duanli" (Zhengyang Gate), "Zunyi" (Xihua Gate) and "Guangzhi" (Hougong Gate).
"Zhuangyuan Jidi" Arch (Zhuangyuan was a title conferred on the one who came first in the highest imperial examination) is located on the Donghua Gate. The arch was built during the reign of Daoguang (1820–50) in the Qing Dynasty and ruined during the reign of Guangxu (1889–98). It was built for Long Qirui (龙启瑞).
Long Qirui was entitled the Zhuangyuan as was another man from Guilin. So two Zhuangyuans came from Guilin. In order to memorialize this legend, local authorities rebuilt the "Zhuangyuan Jidi" Arch and carved the names of four people on the arch. The "Bangyan Jidi" Arch (Bangyan means the second place in the palace examinations) is at the Xihua Gate. It was built to memorialize Yu Jianzhang (于建章) in the fourth year of the reign (1861–75) of Tongzhi in Qing Dynasty.
The Zhengyang Pedestrian Street
The front entrance road has been recently enhanced with old-style architectural features as a continuance of the Zhengyang Walking Street avenue. This is a walking street and night market that combines leisure, shopping and entertainment. It is surrounded by restaurants, bars, hotels, theaters, shops, and scenic spots.
Vehicles are not allowed in Zhengyang Pedestrian Street. It combines the characteristic local architectures with classical European architecture as well. You might want to visit the street for a meal, refreshments, or some tourist shopping.
Following the 2019 Ming-style remodeling of the area, Zhengyang Pedestrian Street now continues straight from Chinese Fir Lake to the Ming Prince Mansion main gate, as it did in times gone by. A pedestrian underpass [under construction in 2019] connecting Zhengyang Street with the Ming Mansion approach will avoid a busy road crossing and improve traffic flow. This will make it easier for visitors to appreciate the old layout and character of imperial-era Guilin.
- Location: west bank of the Li River north of the Guilin station in central Guilin City.
- Tickets: about 120 yuan for adult tickets. Visitors can visit the Capital of Jingjiang Kingdom, Palace of Jingjiang Kingdom, and Solitary Beauty Peak.
- Open: about 7:30am–6:30pm every day.
- How to get there by bus: city bus lines 1, 22, 30, 99 and 100 and get off at the Station of Lequn Crossing (乐群路口) and then walk 50 meters eastward. Visitors can also take city bus line 10, 11, 14, 18 and 98 and get off at the Liberation Bridge station (解放桥站) and then walk 100 meters northward.
- Taxi: It takes about 9 minutes and about 2 or 3 USD to go to/from and the Duxiu Hill to the Guilin Train Station. Show the driver: 锦江王府 Jingjiang Wangfu, 'Jingjiang Prince's Mansion.' You can pronounce the name as: /jing-jyang wung-foo/.
Walking: From the area of the Sheraton Hotel and the Waterfall Hotel, you can walk there in about 30 minutes. It is only a 45 or 50 minute walk from the Guilin Train Station.
China Highlights Private Transport Services
If you would prefer not to take public transport, then consider China Highlights. We are based in Guilin and know every nook 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.
Nearby Hill Attractions
- Seven Star Park - This big park area with seven hills (hence the name) has a cave system developed for tourists, beautiful gardens, a small zoo, and a small amusement park.
- Fubo Hill - 362 steps, 213 meters, to the top. There is nice scenery near the Li River as you can see in the picture and a cave. Tourists rate it as one of the top things to do in Guilin City, and it is near the city center. You can walk to it from Guilin Train Station in less than an hour.
- Elephant Trunk Hill - The famous hill arching into the Li River has a small park with gardens.
- Xianggong Hill - It is 300 meters (1,000 feet) tall in a beautiful setting right on the Li River near Xingping Fishing VIllage, about 20 km from Yangshuo and 60 km from Guilin. Hiking to the top, you can get excellent pictures of the Li River valley.
Learn about several other famous hills around the Guilin area in Guilin Mountains (The Top 10 Karst Hills in Guilin).
More Big Attractions around Guilin
- Reed Flute Cave - It is a 240 meters (787 feet) limestone cave on the north side of Guilin.
- Yangshuo - a rural farm town/tourist town of about 20 to 30 thousand is a 50 minute drive from Guilin. It is the most popular attraction for the natural beauty in the area. Li River cruises embark/disembark there. Hiking, biking, rafting, swimming, and tourist shopping at West Street adds to the fun.
- Li River Cruises - These cruise boat trips to/from Yangshuo are what made Guilin famous since Nixon took the trip in the 1970s.
Tour Solitary Beauty Peak and Guilin with Us
Solitary Beauty Peak will give you a bird's eye view of Guilin. Our guide knows the best spots for photography, can escort you to the top and describe the panorama, and help with dining and shopping in the area. We can help you visit this hill or other places during your Guilin tour.
Here are our most popular Guilin tours for your reference:
- 1-Day Guilin Highlights Tour: a day trip of the city area highlights that could feature a visit to the Solitary Beauty Hill, Jingjiang Prince Mansion, and the Zhengyang Pedestrian Street area for shopping and dining in the evening as you wish.
- 3-Day Essence of Guilin Tour: the classic Li River and Yangshuo trip
- 4-Day Guilin, Longsheng, and Yangshuo Tour: the above + the Longji Terraced Fields
What's a Tour With us Like?
A family of four that moved from US to China just released a video about their time in Guilin with us in October, 2021. Contact us to send a free inquiry.