Daily Archives: 20.04.2014

City of Landscapes: Guilin, China

City of Landscapes: Guilin, China


Guilin is a beautiful town located in North Guangxi, China. The literal meaning of the name of this city Guilin is ‘forest of sweet Osmanthus’. The city derived this name due to the presence of large number of Sweet Osmanthus trees located in the city. The town centre in city is surrounded by two rivers and four lakes and studded with Karst Mountains. Outside the city centre the buildings are comparatively less well kept. However, the main industry in this city is tourism and hence compared to all the other Chinese cities this is the most clean and well kept one. This place is very scenic and a very popular tourist destination in China. The many picturesque limestone mountains and formations make this city more special. Also, it has been the most famous for its scenery of the Karst topography.


The city has its own airport. There are daily flights to Guilin Liangjiang International Airport from all the major mainland cities. There are flights also from Hong Kong, Osaka, Kuala Lumpur, etc. There are flights from Kuala Lumpur to Guilin provided by Air Asia four times in a week. It is always better to book your tickets in advance as the price increases as you approach you travelling day. There are also many trains connecting to Guilin. This city has two train stations. The Guilin train station is in the centre of the town on the Hunan- Guangxi Railway which is the main railway connecting Guangxi to central China while the Guilin North Station is pretty far from the downtown area. There are many trains reaching Guilin from different places like Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Kunming, etc. However, during off season the air ticket prices are cheaper than train tickets. So it is always advisable to check once before booking your tickets.



Li River

The Li River that cruises from Guilin to Yangshuo is the main attraction here. The beautifully studded Karst peaks give you surprises at every bend of this river under the clear blue sky. With the breathtaking scenery that it has to offer along the river side it has become one of the most visited tourist destination of China. There are many river cruises trips offered here starting from the downtown area in Guilin or the Bamboo River Dock. This river trip is 83 kilometres long and takes up to four to five hours. But the beautiful landscape and the scenery is sure to never disappoint you.


Reed Flute Cave

This is one of those places that is marked on every travel itinerary with its location just five kilometres away from the downtown area of Guilin. The name of this place is derived from the verdant reeds that grow outside the cave which are used to make flutes by people. This is a beautiful limestone cave having remarkable stalactite and stalagmite formations illuminated by coloured lighting. There are also many formations which resemble the lions, monkeys, the spectacular skyline of Guilin, etc. There is also a laser light show inside the cave which is a must attend.


Elephant Trunk Hill

It is situated in the downtown area of Guilin city at the junction of Li River and Peach Blossom River. This is a hill which has a large natural arch cut into it. The arch somehow resembles to the trunk of the Elephant dipping into the river and thus it is named as the Elephant Trunk Hill. This scene is also used as a symbol of the city and hence has become famous. It is 55 metres above the Li River and 200 metres above the sea level.

Elephant trunk hill

Longji Terraced Fields

The Longji or the Longsheng Rice Terraces are situated in the Longsheng County which is situated 2 hours away from Guilin City. The most famous ones are the Ping An Rice Terrace and Jinkeng Rice Terrace. These fields are built along the slope from the riverside going up to the mountain top. The line that starts from the riverside and goes up to the mountain top divides the mountain in layers of water that shine in the sun in spring, layers of green rice shoots during summer, the golden rice layers in fall and the silvery frost layers during winter months.

Longji terraced fields

Moon Hill

Moon Hill is located at a short distance from Guilin in the Fenglou village. It is a huge piece of rock which has a round hole at the centre. You need to walk approximately 800 steps on the marble paved mountain path to reach towards the centre area. From various angles it resembles from the new moon to a full moon. The rock is 380 metres in height.

Moon hill

There are so many more scenic spots apart from the mentioned above like the Diecai Mountain, Fubo Hill, Solitary beauty peak, Yaoshan Hill Park, etc. There is also a boat tour across the four lakes and two rivers in the Gulin City. However, the most beautiful sight remains the one that you witness from the Li River Cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo with so many hills along the emerald water. Thus, Guilin enjoys some of the best landscapes and is truly called the City of Landscapes.

The Mesmerizing Ice Hotel: Jukkasjarvi, Sweden

The Mesmerizing Ice Hotel: Jukkasjarvi, Sweden

Every year the small village of Jukkasjarvi in Sweden, uses ice and snow to construct this miraculous Ice Hotel, straight out of a Fairy-tale. First sculpted in 1990 this Ice Hotel is the oldest one in the entire world and displays some of the most remarkable ice sculptures of all time. Tourists visiting the ice hotel will be astonished with its sheer beauty, and the amount of effort put into making this Ice hotel look as classy as it does today. The ice blocks used are generally taken from the nearby Torne river and artists from all over the world are invited to create different rooms and decorations from this blocks of ice. Sweden as a country offers many exclusive experiences and the Ice Hotel is one of the most unique ones that it has to offer. Everything in this hotel from bedrooms with beds to glasses at the bar and even the chapel is made entirely of ice. And this is what makes the Ice Hotel at Jukkarsjarvi so unique and enticing to thousands of tourists.

Ice hotel

Construction of the first Ice Hotel

In the year 1989 ice sculptors from all over the world were visiting this beautiful town of Jakkasjarvi in Sweden to create a mesmerizing exhibition of art work. One night, due to scarcity of rooms available in the town, the sculptors spent the night in their sleeping bags in an igloo. Technically speaking, they were the first guests of the ice hotel and since then every winter tourists visit the area to be able to spend time at the world’s first ice hotel. Spanning an area of about six thousand square metres, the Jukkasjarvi Ice Hotel is also the largest ice hotel in the entire world.


The Hotel at Jukkasjarvi

Everything here is made out of a combination of ice and snow. Every spring the Ice hotel harvests huge quantities of ice and snow from the nearby Torne River and uses it to make this impeccable structure with numerous rooms for the people. While the ice is used for table tops and panels, and lovely ice glasses the snow is mainly used to strengthen the structure of the building. The ice hotel features a bar, a main hall, a reception area, rooms for over hundred visitors and an astonishing ice restaurant. Everything from the glasses at the bar to the beds and furniture in the rooms are sculpted out of ice. An interesting fact is that no two rooms are the same, each is uniquely carved and sculpted by expert artists from all over the world. While sleeping, you don’t have to worry about catching a cold as the beds are lined with reindeer fur and special equipment is given to every person to keep warm. Hot tubs and saunas are provided for visitors to the hotel which offer some much required warmth after spending the night in -5 degree Celsius environments.


The Church at Jukaskarvi

Like everything else, the beautiful Ice chapel where couples dream to get married is also a lovely ice structure. The local parish of Jukkasjarvi officially runs the Ice Church as a normal Church where every Christmas Day the Church is consecrated. During the enchanting and long winter period about a hundred and fifty couples are married and about twenty children are baptized. The beautiful chapel made of ice is one of those remarkable structures that makes one feel awed at the beautiful progress of mankind.

Ice bar

The Absolut Ice Bar (by Ice Hotel)

First set up in the year of 1994, the Absolut Ice Bar by Ice Hotel is an innovative new step in this ice sculpting hotel industry. Located near the lovely Torne river, the Absolut Ice Bar is an absolutely beautiful and wonderful piece of architecture. Just Like the Ice Hotel the Ice Bar is reborn every year with a unique new design. This Ice bar provides a once in a lifetime experience and one must surely not miss it. Drinking exotic and delicious drinks from ice glasses, dancing on snow made floors, and enjoying the well sculpted ice pillars and table tops of the bar. Also, this is an exciting and excellent new way to meet locals and people from all over the country, and during tourist season, even meet some people from a different corner of the world. What better way is there to make acquaintances and build friendships? The Absolut Ice Bar at Jukkasjarvi is a fine example of artistry by the many expert artists from around the world who renovate this place every year.


Other Attractions Offered

Spending time at the Ice Hotel isn’t just about the marvelous indoor structures and sculptures of ice. Like any other hotel, the Ice Hotel provides tourists with various exciting and engaging activities to participate in. Perhaps you could take the infamous guided northern lights tour or go moose watching or husky sledging or maybe you could try your hand at ice sculpting! You can also hire a snowmobile and roam around in the village or try some ice fishing. For those interested in space, the nearby Esrange Space Center in Kiruna, it is an excellent place to visit.

Giant’s Causeway, Ireland

Giant’s Causeway, Ireland

Giants Causeway

It is a stunning,breath taking natural formation of volcanic rocks right on the shore line.The most characteristic and unique feature of the Giant Causeway is the exposure of about nearly 40,000 large polygonal shaped columns,that are regularly shaped of basalt in perfect horizontal sections,together forming a pavement.It is one of the World’s Great Wonders’ that brings the combination together being most amazing man made structures and natural creations from across the globe.It is a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of TripAdvisor’s 10 most dramatic landscapes on the planet.From the cliff-top Giant’s Causeway Coastal Path overlooking the iconic pillars of the Causeway,this geological wonder suddenly seems smaller than the shadow it casts in heritage and culture.




During the year 1693 an academic paper by Richard Bulkeley from Trinity College,Dublin,revealed the Giant’s Causeway to the world.Around 60 million years ago the land in this place was different from what we are seeing now.The climate was warmer and vegetation thrived.Tectonic plates were moving between Europe and North America were moving apart.At that time the Magma from deep inside Earth spewed through cracks in the surface and Lava flowed through these mountain slides.After that the Magma cooled when it came into contact with air and rock, hardening into basalt.After several years has passed again the earth cracked opened and more lava forced its way out.But this time,the lava cooled slowly and evenly in a deep pool.Cracks traveled through the cooling rock, creating the columns we see stretching up and making the honeycomb pattern that we can see today.It took about millions of years of erosion for the columns to get revealed.The sea level use to fell and rose again and again.





Location and approach:

The Giant’s Causeway is located in Antrim Country on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland,about 4.8 km northeast of the town of Bushmills.The Giant’s Causeway and Visitor Center is located on the B147 Causeway road.It is 11 miles from Coleraine and 13 miles from Ballycastle.There is a service called park and ride that runs every 20 minutes from Bushmills village and that facility is available to the visitors only during the months of March to October.There are also many bus services available for the tourists to reach their favourite destination.Train services are also available,regular train services operate from Belfast or Londonderry to Coleraine.From there we have to catch a bus to Giant’s Causeway.Few of the tourists like to travel their destination by cylce they can catch the route no.93 of the National Cycle Network in Northern Ireland that runs round the coast from Newry to Ballycastle via Bangor and Belfast.

cycling to Giant's causeway

cycling to Giant’s causeway



Gaint's Causeway map

Gaint’s Causeway map



Along with the Causeway coast the Giant’s Causeway is now rated as a UNESCO World heritage site and is recognized as an area of exceptional natural beauty.The sea with huge swells roll in from the Atlantic,and pockets of sunshine highlight the changing navy blues and emerald greens of the coastal waters.The polygonal shaped rocks vary from 38 to 51 cm in diameter and measure up to 25 meters in height.Before the famous coast road was built the visitors used to complain about the ruggedness of the trip.But apart from their complain there was one shining compensation on the journey to Giant’s Causeway,the town where tourists made their last stop was Bushmills.Since 1608 saddle-sore travelers had been revived with magnums of the King’s whiskey at the world’s oldest distillery, which is still in business.This dramatic sight has inspired legends of giants striding over the sea to Scotland.The cliff exposures and Causeway stones,which are key attributes of the property,are being protected by The National Trust.

Archimation visualisation

Archimation visualisation

This is a best stop to anyone who wish to travel northern Ireland.The walk down through the Giant’s Causeway is gorgeous and the formations are just so cool and it will be fun to walk over.The ocean waves crash down on the rocks leaving spray that  looks spectacular and it will make kids laugh and scream!

Giants Causeway

Giants Causeway


Here we can find around fifty resident and thirty migrant species,including species of the auk and cormorant families.Not only bird species but also we can find about two hundred plant species including seashore, cliff, grassland, scrub, heathland and marsh types.During the year 1883,the first hydro-electric tramway was opened between Portrush and Bushmills and was extended in 1887 to the Causeway Head,so that it became the attraction of the area and providing easy access to the Causeway.

Rail service to North Antrim

Rail service to North Antrim

There are four stunning walking trails at the Giant’s Causeway.Recently upgraded,all are colour coded and awash with breathtaking views of jagged cliffs and bays lashed by wind and waves.There is a new accessible cliff top walk for families and people with disabilities.



Eating and shopping:

In Giant’s Causeway we can enjoy a selection of local tasty food and refreshments in the new Visitor Centre cafe.We can have a quick cappuccino and a muffin or a more wholesome bowl of traditional Irish stew or the delicious North Coast Seafood Chowder,we can also check the vegetarian specials.the menu is sure to have something to tempt you.There we can have free accessible wifi too.

Giant Causeway shopping

Giant Causeway shopping