February 11 Four Lakes Nighttime Cruise, Guilin, China

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Bridge lit up over the Li River at night

Two Rivers and Four Lakes is the phrase used to refer to the landscape located around Guilin. This includes  the Li River  (the part within the city), the Taohua (Peach Blossom) River, Mulong Lake, Guihu Lake, Ronghu Lake and Shanhu Lake. After dinner, we went on a nighttime boat cruise of the Li River and these four lakes. (It was a very long, busy day on the tour!) I was very impressed with the effort that the city of Guilin has put in to make these inner lakes a great tourist attraction during both the day and night! This was the most beautiful nighttime boat cruise that I have ever been on! Jeff and I stood on the back deck of the boat (in the rain!) so we could see everything better. Jeff took some fantastic photos, considering the conditions (dark, cold, and raining.) He kept complaining about having to wipe raindrops off of his camera lens, but he kept taking pictures!

The Mulong Lake area  features the integration of historical culture into nature. To the north of Mulong Lake, visitors can see sights such as Dongzhen Gate and a reconstruction of the city wall that was here during the Song dynasty. The photo below shows dancers performing next to this gate. It was hard to see the show or take photos of it from the boat. Jeff took this photo standing at the back of the boat and holding up the camera over the roof of the boat.

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Dancers performing next to the recreated city wall gate

Mulong Pagoda was built to look like Longhua Pagoda in Shanghai, which was built during the Song dynasty. From Mulong Lake, you can see Diecai Hill. The pagoda that was all lit up was the one that we took photos of in the morning from Diecai Hill.

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Mulong Pagoda with Diecai Hill on the left behind it

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Lights in the trees alongside the lake

Guihu Lake was originally the city moat of the western Guilin City in Song Dynasty (960-1279). It measures over 1 mile from north to south and is about 120 yards wide. A large number of trees and flowers are planted along the lake, such as banyan trees, gingko trees, white pine trees, redwood trees, magnolia trees and palm trees. We could not see the trees at night, but all of the bridges were lit up. This lake has many bridges, such as Xiqing Bridge, Baoxian Bridge, Lize Bridge, Yingbin Bridge and Guanyin Bridge. It is known for combining famous gardens, flowers, trees and bridges in one.

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Traditional style building with lights alongside the lake

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Underneath one of the bridges

This bridge had a mural carved underneath it, and it was lit up so we could see it when the boat went under the bridge!

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Large bridge lit up on the lake

Jeff called this the French Bridge because he said that it reminded him of the architecture in Paris.

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Close up of the bridge

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Bridge lit up at night

The Ronghu-Shanhu Lake area has history that can be traced back to Tang (618-907) and Song dynasties. Originally called Nanyang River, it was the man-made city moat of the southern Guilin at that time. During the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) period, it was called Jianhu Lake. The lake was enlarged in Ming dynasty and became an inner lake, and from then on, many local government and public offices were built by the lake. The rich and famous also built their houses on the lakeside. Many poets and intellectuals have written poems and other literature to describe the charming beauty of this lake.

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Dragon boat on the lake

This is a stone boat, with two dragons on the front of the boat.

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This is called the Crystal Bridge.

I thought that the Crystal Bridge was the most beautiful one at night!

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Sun and Moon pagoda

We visited these pagodas on Wednesday, so I will write more about them in a later blog entry.

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Musicians playing traditional Chinese music alongside the lake

After this, we went through another lock and back into the Li River to end our nighttime  boat cruise.

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