Great Asian Escapes - Guilin, China
The wonders of Angkor Wat, the sublime scenery of Guilin or the thrill of the roulette table in Macau ... whatever you yearn for, you can find it just a short flight (or ferry ride) away from Hong Kong. On the following pages are six cities to get you inspired.
The karst topography around Guilin has inspired artists and poets for hundreds of years. The Chinese call this magical landscape 'the finest under heaven' and it is immortalised on the 20-yuan note.
At night, this laidback city bursts into a symphony of fairylights.
If Guilin's natural wonders haven't wowed you enough, check into the Lijiang Waterfall Hotel (1 Shanhu Bei Road, tel: 86 773 282 2881; www.waterfallguilin.com) and marvel at the world's largest man-made waterfall cascading down the front of the hotel. For something a little tamer, the Sheraton (15 Bin Jiang Road, tel: 86 773 282 5588; www.sheraton.com/guilin) is a comfortable option.
Animal-lovers might balk at some of the (live) fare on offer in many of the restaurants. An alternative is Yi Yuan (106 Nanhuan Lu, tel: 86 773 282 0470) for Sichuan cuisine. Expats go to Rosemary's Cafe (Yiren Road 1-1, tel: 86 773 281 0063) for the good coffee and home-cooked western food.
Take a cruise down the Li River to the pretty town of Yangshuo and marvel at the scenery on the way. Go cycling and rock-climbing and explore the numerous limestone caves. About 100km north of Guilin lie the Longji rice terraces, constructed during the Yuan and Qin dynasties. And don't forget the fishing cormorants. Ask your concierge to book a tour to see them in action - usually in the evening.
Summer is warm and wet, while winter is cold. Autumn and spring are the best seasons to visit.
Guilin is about a 90-minute flight from Hong Kong.