Solitary Beauty Peak

Almost in the center of Guilin is this walled complex housing a former palace known as Princes City. In an effort to cement power Emperor Hongwu (reign: 1368-98), founder of the Ming Dynasty, installed many of his offspring and their offspring as princes inSolitary Beauty Peakvarious regions of China. The first ‘Jingjiang’ (as Guilin was called in those days) prince built his palace here, with construction beginning in 1372. There were 14 princes through the years of the Ming Dynasty, until the Qing armies ended their run. Buildings in the complex are arranged in the traditional Ming-style north-south axis with Solitary Beauty Peak at the north. Chengyun Palace is now a museum about the history of Guilin, but unfortunately most of the information is in Chinese only. Other points of minor interest on the grounds include trees, a well, grottos, a Confucian temple, examination house and Crescent Pond.

It’s a steep climb up more than 300 stone steps to reach the top of the 66m tall Solitary Beauty Peak at the rear of Princes City. And the climb can be painfully slow when you’re stuck behind hordes of lumbering, unfit tour group participants. But it’s worth the effort for the panoramic views of Guilin at the top. Sun Yatsen once had his photo taken on the viewing platform at the top, and you can too! There are a few pagodas and inscriptions and such on the way up, including Solitary Beauty Pavilion at the Peak.

Admission: ¥50. Open: 8:30am-5pm.

Tel: +86 (0773) 285 2203. Website: www.guilinwangcheng.com

Directions: From the north end of Zhengyang Pedestrian street, cross Jiefang Dong Lu and keep heading directly north. This will bring you to the south gate of Princes City.

Show the taxi driver: 请带我去独秀峰, 谢谢。 (Please take me to Solitary Beauty Peak. Thank you.)