Guangxi province

Position of Guangxi in China
Province

Guǎng xī 广西 'vast west'

CapitalNanning
Population47.365 million (3.44 %) [11th] comparison table
Area237,000 km2 [91,506 mile2] (2.47 %) [9th]
GDP33,090 (6.26 %) [29th]
NeighborsGuangdong Yunnan Guizhou Hunan Vietnam
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Beijing Tianjin Shanghai Hong Kong Xinjiang Tibet Qinghai Gansu Inner Mongolia Heilongjiang Jilin Liaoning Yunnan Sichuan Guangxi Hainan Taiwan Guangdong Guizhou Chongqing Ningxia Shandong Fujian Zhejiang Shaanxi Shanxi Hebei Henan Hunan Hubei Jiangxi Anhui Jiangsu

Guangxi is a mountainous province on China's south western border with Vietnam. It is home to a large number of minority peoples including: Zhuang; Yao; Miao; Dong and Shui people who live mainly in the western two thirds. They hold many colorful festivals throughout the year. Reflecting its diverse ethnicity it is designated as Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region rather than an ordinary province.

Li River, Guilin, Guangxi
Li River near Guilin. September 2012.
Image by Mgmoscatello available under a Creative Commons license

Guangxi History

As a frontier province it shares much with neighboring Vietnam and Thailand; there is a strong Tai cultural influence. Geographically, it has high mountains in the west and north that define the river basin of the mighty Xi (West or Pearl) River. Back in the Zhou dynasty it was part of the ancient Baiyue kingdom . In the early Han dynasty it came under the control of the breakaway kingdom of Nanyue together with neighboring Guangdong. For many centuries there was limited control from China's far away capital. It was during this period that there were sporadic rebellions that led to cruel reprisals by the Han Chinese against the indigenous people. Many of the Taiping rebel leaders came from eastern Guangxi. In the late nineteenth century it was claimed by France as the northern extension of its French Indo-China empire. It represents a poor relation compared to its neighbor Guangdong. During the Cultural Revolution infighting between rival clans that settled ancient grievances led to many deaths.

Guangxi, Nanning, skyscraper, river
Sunset over Nanning provincial capital of Guangxi

Places to visit in Guangxi

The provincial capital Nanning has expanded very rapidly from a small market town in 1949 to a busy industrial city. Guangxi is best known for its scenic beauty. The river trip towards Vietnam through Zuo Jiang takes you past Neolithic rock art (people, animals and drums are paintings in ocher).

Guilin and Yangshuo are popular resorts on the Li River as the river weaves through dramatic Karst scenery; multitudes of towering pinnacles of limestone cover a wide area. Many consider this area the most scenic in China. There is an old proverb Guìlín shānshuǐ jiǎ tiānxià meaning Guilin's mountains and rivers are the best sights in the world. Guilin was the former provincial capital so is a large town.

Guangxi, Guilin, view, landform
Mulong Lake at Guilin, Guangxi

Guilin City has a limestone pillar: the Solitary Beauty Peak rising majestically from its center. Xiang bishan (Elephant trunk hill) has an old pagoda on its summit. Guilin is named after the Osmanthus or Cassia trees which carry sweet scent in the fall. Seven Star Park (Qixing) is renowned for its jagged limestone peaks. As well as lofty crags, the weathering of limestone has produced a number of caverns full of stalactites and stalagmites including the Red Flute Cave . One cavern can hold up to a thousand people and is called the ‘Crystal Palace of the Dragon King’. The river trip to Yangshuo on the Li River is an excellent way to see the magnificent scenery. Fishing with tame cormorants on the Li River is a well-known local custom, now financed by tourism rather than from the selling of fish. To the north of Guilin the Ling Canal was built to link the Yangzi and Pearl river systems by Qin Shuihuangdi over 2,000 years ago. Daxu downstream from Guilin has many shops and houses dating back to the Song dynasty.

Li River, Guilin, Guangxi
River Li (Lijiang) between Guilin and Yangshuo, Guangxi. 23 September 2009
Image by Jerzy Bereszko available under a Creative Commons license
Guangxi, Yangshuo, bird, wildlife
Fisherman with cormorants trained to fish at Yangshuo, Guangxi

Wuzhou in the East of the province was an important town in the 18th century, and the British set up a river steamer service from there down to Guangzhou on the Pearl River. It is now well known for the trade in snakes destined for the dinner table. Huangyao is an old town with much intact Qing architecture; Guiping on the Pearl River is renowned for its West Mountain green tea while Detian Falls , near the Vietnam border, rivals Huangguoshu Waterfalls in neighboring Guizhou for splendor.

The industrial city of Liuzhou is surrounded by the same style of Karst scenery as Guilin but on a lesser scale. Huaping has an extensive tropical nature reserve while Beihai is a busy port carrying out trade with Vietnam and a sea crossing to Hainan island.

Guangxi, village
Huang Luo village of the Yao ethnic minority, Guangxi Copyright © Dreamstime see image license

Geography

Guangxi has a sub-tropical climate, it lies on the Tropic of Cancer and so has hot, wet summers with short drier winters. In the limited flat areas provided by the river valleys rice (two or three crops a year); tea and tobacco are grown. Tropical fruit grown includes lychees, longans, pomelos, pineapples and bananas. It is also hot enough to grow spices such as aniseed and cinnamon. Agriculture remains the main industry, although in recent years a busy freight link with Vietnam has opened up the province for greater development.

Airports

Liuzhou Bailian Airport 柳州白莲机场 LZH IATA / ZGZH ICAO
The airport has 1 terminal and is located 9.3 miles (15.0 kms) from Liuzhou. Live Flight information , rank in China 79
See map of location Liuzhou Bailian Airport
Guilin Liangjiang International Airport 桂林两江国际机场 KWL IATA / ZGKL ICAO
The airport has 1 terminal and is located 17.4 miles (28.0 kms) from Guilin. Live Flight information , Airport information , rank in China 39
International Links to :Korea Thailand
See map of location Guilin Liangjiang International Airport
Nanning Wuxu International Airport 南宁吴圩机场 NNG IATA / ZGNN ICAO
The airport has 2 terminals and is located 19.9 miles (32.0 kms) from Nanning. Live Flight information , rank in China 28
See map of location Nanning Wuxu International Airport
Beihai Fucheng Airport 北海福成机场 BHY IATA / ZGBH ICAO
The airport has 1 terminal and is located 13.0 miles (21.0 kms) from Beihai. Live Flight information , rank in China 68
See map of location Beihai Fucheng Airport
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Guangxi Climate

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Climate chart for Guangxi
Both Temp Rainfall ° C/mms ° F/ins Key
Major CitiesPopulation
Beihai 289,568
Guilin 649,352
Liuzhou 900,700
Nanning 803,788

City populations for 2012, Province statistics National Bureau of Statistics 2014

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