Elephant Trunk Hill


Location: Xiangshan District, Guilin, Guangxi Province, China

Reason to Visit: Landmark and Tourist Attraction in Guilin, the magical creativity of nature

Our ratings: ★★★★★

Entrance fee: CNY 55; Free for children less than 1.2 meters (3.9 feet).

Opening Hours: April to November: 6:30 – 21:30

                            December to March: 7:00 – 21:30


Elephant Trunk Hill is the symbol of Guilin. It got its name because it looks like an elephant drinking water. The round opening that would be under the elephant's trunk is known as Water-Moon Cave because at night the reflection of the moon can be seen through the arch and it looks as if it is under the water and floating on the surface of the water at the same time. Elephant Trunk Hill and Water-Moon Cave are located at the confluence of the Taohua River and the Lijiang River.


Mythology of Elephant Trunk Hill

According to mythology, the ancient emperor heard that Guilin's landscape was particularly beautiful and he was skeptical. So he personally went to Guilin to see what happened. When he arrived in Guilin, he discovered that Guilin was truly amazing, so he kept crusing and cruising. As a result, the elephant he was riding became very tired. After a long trip in Guilin, the Jade Emperor was going to return to heaven. Because the elephant was sick and could not be taken away, he threw the elephant and rode a horse back to heaven.

The people in Guilin truly sympathize with the elephant, so they used various herbs to cure the elephant's disease. After recovery, the elephant helped people to cultivate the fields with gratitude, and be their friends. Later, the Jade Emperor knew that the elephant was healthy and energetic, he soon sent the tower king to recall the elephant, but the elephant did not want to go back. The Jade Emperor was furious, so he dropped a dagger from the heaven and inserted the dagger directly into the back of the elephant. The elephant was killed and then turned into an elephant-like mountain at the edge of the Li River and still be with Guilin and guard Guilin.


What to See


Moon-Over-Water Cave

(Between the "trunk" and the "body" is a vast round cave which resembles a full moon on water hence the name Moon-over-Water Cave. When the waters wave and the moonlight gleams, the scene is exceedingly enchanting. This cave intoxicated innumerous poets through ages. Many lines can be found giving high honor of the cave. )    

It formed in 12000 years ago, the earth's crust uplifted, Li River shrank, which accelerated the development of Moon-over-Water Cave and forming a transparent round cave. 17 meters long, 9.5 meters wide, 12 meters high, covers an area of about 150 square meters. Moon-over-Water Cave entrance is facing sun so it also called Facing Sun Cave. But the cave is on the water, such as bright moon floating, very image, so the name of Moon-Over-Water has been in use till now.     


Facing Sun Pavilion

Within the Elephant Trunk Hill Moon-Over Water Cave, Facing Sun Pavilion was built in the Song dynasty, pavilion has spent earlier, but far more than 800 years ago, centered on the name of Moon-Over Water Cave, two state's former and later governor had debate, which has become the eternal topic that people visit here. Originally, during the Southern Song Dynasty Qiandap period second years (AD 1166), Zhang Xiaoxiang visited Moon-Over Water Cave and lingered till night. When he revisited again soon, he was very happy and prefaced, and due the cave enter was facing east, so changed the pavilion, cave, rock name for all "Chaoyang (Facing Sun)", and engraved his poem Facing Sun Pavilion Poetic Preface on the north wall of Moon-Over-Water Cave. Thereafter, Fan Chengda became governor, and he had dissidence with the new name of Facing Sun so he changed its name to old name Moon-Over-Water Cave, and wrote down Inscription of Renewing Name of Moon-Over-Water Cave, and engraved it to the south wall of the cave.    


Elephant Eye Rock

The Elephant Eye Rock is in the south and north hillside of Elephant Trunk Hill, about 2 meters high, 5 to 10 meters wide, 52.8 meters long, and it is oblong shape, area of about 274 square meters. Elephant Eye Rock was a short ancient underground river way, and it formed earlier than Moon-Over-Water Cave, named after its position of elephant eye.


How to get to elephant trunk hill?

- By bus. Take bus 2, 16, or 23, and get off at Xiangshan Park Station.


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