Ox Gorge & Wangfu Rock
If you take a Li River cruise from Millstone Dock or Bamboo River Dock the first attraction you will come across is a long and narrow gorge called Ox Gorge. It is located on the west bank of the Li River, about 18 miles (30 km) away from downtown Guilin. Neighboring peaks stretch far away, many of which resemble oxen; therefore, the gorge is nicknamed Ox Gorge. Apart from ox-shape peaks, there are peaks that resemble lotuses, lions, tigers, bats, and embroidery balls, forming a grand and magnificent view. The Li River winds its way and makes a 90-degree turn here. The gorge divides Li River into two branches, cutting the beach into three shores. On sunny days, eagles wheel in the air above steep cliff while on rainy days the water scenery is more splendid; no wonder Xu Xiake, a famous Chinese traveler during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), once compared Ox Gorge with Wu Gorge along the Yangtze River.
A long time ago, torrential waters slapped against the steep cliff with a tremendous momentum. However, after several times of dredging and reconstruction, the water is calmer, and the widened east branch is now the main stream of the river. A popular folk ballad describes the scenery of Ox Gorge to a full extent, saying that a group of peaks face three islets floating on the limitless water; the river is divided into two branches and countless ships pass along the eastern one.
Watch carefully and you may find patterns on the cliff resemble several auspicious bats, with their wings open and their heads leaning to the left. As bats are regarded as auspicious animals in Chinese culture, you will certainly embark on a fortunate journey. On another cliff there are suspending stalactites like dragons drinking water with their heads down and their bodies hidden, which is vividly called Dragons Playing with Water. One legend says that dragons were sent to the earth by the Heavenly Emperor to collect the delicate fragrance given off by sweet osmanthus growing on the cliff. However, they were attracted by the beautiful scenery and instead of doing so they brought this place the rain and dew from the Heaven. Then they poured the dew from Heaven together with the osmanthus essence into the water under the cliff, giving this place a beautiful name - Chenxiang Pool, which means essence sinking deep in the water.
Pass by Ox Gorge and you will see Wangfu Hill, whose name 'Wangfu' literally means looking into the distance and yeaning for one's husband's return. On the hilltop is a rock resembling a man in the ancient costume looking northward, whereas at the hillside is another rock in the shape of a woman gazing far for her husband, with a baby on her back. These two rocks form the attraction spot 'Wangfu Rock'. On the east of the hill is Doumi Shoal. Doumi means a hod of rice (hod is a wood grain container with a capacity of 18 pints). Following is a moving story about the history of the rock and the shoal.
Local people have lots of stories to express their deep love for mountains and water along the Li River. One of them says that when a young couple with their baby passed here by water, the ship was stranded. Unfortunately, they had nothing but a hod of rice. At that time, an old lady in rags came begging for food. They were so kind and sympathetic that they gave the rice to the lady, leaving themselves starved. The husband climbed the mountain every day to see if there was any ship passing by and would help them. One day, he was gone for a long time, the worried woman climbed to look for him, only to find his husband had starved to death and turned into a rock on the mountain. She was so sad that she also turned into a stone, keeping his husband company for ever. To memorize the affectionate and kind-hearted couple, locals named the shoal where their ship stopped Doumi Shoal, and the two rocks Immortal Rock and Wangfu Rock. Hearing this story, probably you are so moved and love the picturesque scenery more.
Take a Li River cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo and you will pass by Ox Gorge and Wangfu Rock in about an hour.
|Opening Hours||The whole day|