Weekly Photo Challenge – The Atypical Horizons of Guilin, China

“Hope is the horizon we reach if we try.”

Balroom Singh



Sara has asked us to show the horizon, the line where the earth and sky appear to meet.  I have chosen to do so by continuing my “tour” of China, this time featuring the beautiful city of Guilin.  In today’s header image, the sky meets the earth in the jagged edge of Guilin’s landscape. Above, the horizon is obscured by the lights of the city, reflected in the Li river.  A brilliant full moon adds a rosy sheen to several of the buildings along the shore.



Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.”
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/search_results.html#uETE7pHxFJkOzir5.99
Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.”
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/search_results.html#uETE7pHxFJkOzir5.99

“When we look up, it widens our horizons”

Julia Gregson

Guilin is one of China’s most popular tourist destinations because of its mystical landscape. Often seen in ancient Chinese watercolors, the area is famous for its karsts – limestone formations that create amazing, ethereal scenery around every corner and curve.  Because the karsts are ubiquitous, the horizon is seen either as a jagged edge, or as a sliver of a line between the protrusions. Above and below, some examples of the karsts bordering the Li River, which runs throughout the city.





“No horizon is so far that you cannot get above it or beyond it”

Beryl Markham

The karsts are best seen from the river, so a day-cruise on the Li is an extremely popular activity.  Being tourists, we decided to join the crowds and set out on one of the many large boats heading downstream.  Along the way we came upon this group, obviously enjoying a different approach!  Small bamboo rafts are powered by local oarsmen using poles to navigate the river. Colorful umbrellas protect their patrons from the mid-day sun.



“Utopia lies at the horizon.”

Eduardo Galiano



“We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon.”

Konrad Adenauer

The karsts were incredible and at each curve of the river there was another wonderful landscape.  But for me, the most interesting aspect of our cruise was observing the activities of the local residents, in addition to the oarsmen, who carve their livelihoods from the Li’s waters.  Below, a cormorant fisherman works his birds to make the day’s catch.



“The horizon leans forward, offering you space to place new steps of change.”

Maya Angelou

We observed dishwashing, fishing, duck-raising, boating and bottom-panning, although we were never told what one might find there! Here then, some additional captures of the action along the Li.



“Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance.”

W. Eugene Smith



“A dream is the bearer of a new possibility, the enlarged horizon, the great hope.”

Howard Thurman

Finally, perhaps because they are so very different from what I might see in my daily life, I was fascinated by the water buffalo which, when not working, seemed to be enjoying the cool waters on a warm summer’s day.  These massive creatures have been domesticated in China for over 4,000 years. Across the world, they are depended upon more than any other domesticated animal.



A negative attitude is below the horizon…a place for lonesome hearts.

T.F. Hodge



“You must learn day by day, year by year, to broaden your horizon.”

Ethel Barrymore

Guilin’s horizons are clearly a bit less traditional than most. To see some other interpretations on the theme, click here.

107 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge – The Atypical Horizons of Guilin, China

  1. All of them are fascinating, Tina! Looking at your photos for quite a few times, I kept returning to the Temple and Karst. So…I guess that’s THE ONE for me :). And beautifully chosen quotes.

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    • Thanks Madhu! That was a tough one as both he and I were in motion but I worked hard to capture it because it’s so rare to see an actual cormorant fisherman vs a tourista version!!

    • Thanks Milka. Yes, they are everywhere in Chinese art! And understandably so. I almost wished for rain to see them in the clouds 🙂

      Sent from my iPad

  3. Tina, first things first, a big congratulations on reaching the milestone! Your travel pictures are always a pleasure to look at. The China series has been really, really interesting and informative. This one is another brilliant post. ‘CORMORANT FISHING’ has to be my favourite photograph!. It is beautiful!

    • Many thanks Uday – it was a personal favorite because it’s so rare to see a real one working vs those who are doing the tourist thing. Also because he was on a boat, and I was on a boat, so I was very happy it was sharp. Appreciate your comment and your congrats!

  4. Horizons are those lines in life to which are attentions are drawn, but only until the next horizon, unless we fail to dream beyond them. Great photos, terrific milestone.

  5. Tina,

    Wonderful photos! Also, I just realized what you were asking about several week ago. You asked if I commented on all of your pictures or some of them, and I said that I commented on them all (which is still the case). However, I just realized that if one enlarges any of your pictures (clicks on them individually), underneath she sees a comment line. So, your visitors can comment on all of them together but also on any (or all) individual photos. This ability may be a feature of your particular theme.

    Anyway, wonderful photos — as usual!

    • Thank you Svetlana! Also for the explanation, I understand completely and appreciate your letting me know. Unfortunately the individual comments don’t add to the numbers on the post, which I do watch pretty carefully, but I am always happy with comments wherever they appear!!

  6. just breathtaking….’taking a dip’ ‘moonlight’ & ‘jagged horizon’ …..spectacular!!! what a great eye…..
    congrats!!! U deserve it!!! feel bad for those who are missing the adventure!!!

  7. It’s been a delight following your China travels Tina .
    Stupendous photography !
    Surely they should be gracing some pages in the National Geographic publication 🙂

  8. Love those images, especially the white birds flying in front of the mountain, and the old man on his raft. China has never attracted me as a country to visit but for some reason I have been seeing images of this particular region from several different sources lately – it does look very inviting.

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  10. Such a fascinating landscape…. Tina your travelogue is awesome. Those karst mountain horizon lines are really dramatic, but it’s your people captures which are so other- worldly. Will be looking out for your next travel book….

  11. I’ve never been to China but I enjoyed my virtual visit through your words and photos. I especially enjoyed the fisherman with the cormorants as I’ve read about them and there’s a children’s book I enjoyed when young that had them in as well.


  12. Floating fun surely does look like fun. And I liked the quote “We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon.” That really resonated with me and I am sitting here thinking about all the different ways that could be interpreted. For now I like to think that some of us set high horizons and are swimming towards them while others have set theirs low and will never venture past that line. You are certainly in the first category!

  13. Stunning photos of Guilin, Tina! We were there in May, it was not so packed. Love the second shot.
    Congratulations on your 1,000th subscriber!

    • Thanks Amy! This was really the only place in China where we saw real crowds, and only on the river. It’s quite an operation but somehow none of the boats hit any of the others (at least as far as I could see!) The rafters do shoot each other with water guns though 🙂

      • the beauty of Guilin has been glorified in Chinese literature over a thousand years. Our tour guide, who grew up in Guilin, said that the local people made a fortune from the booming tourism business 🙂

  14. Wow, you offer a glimpse into a completely different world. It’s an interesting approach to the horizon theme of this week, I like it a lot.

    It is amazing that although the area is a popular tourist destination the locals there live their lives like they always have. I found the cormorant fishing to be amazing, people and birds working together like that is almost unbelievable. I think I actually saw a documentary about it a long time ago, and you reminded me about that. And the water buffalos seem like amazing creatures.

    The karsts give me goose bumps, they are so impressive, unique. Your photography is amazing. Great post!

    • Thanks so much Time Collage! Although they do it for tourists in the evenings, there are very few actual cormorant fishermen left. I was thrilled that we came upon one actually working the river. There are a few who pose on the shore for photos with the tourists, and there is a night cruise, also designed for tourists, that we took to watch them. But this guy was the real deal. It’s quite fascinating to watch. The karsts are so much more beautiful in person but we had a very hazy day so I did the best I could 🙂 Appreciate your thoughtful comment!

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  18. Thanks for visiting my blog Tina. So happy to have been introduced to yours. Your photographs, website and book are all inspirational. Looking forward to following your blog and learning from you. Congratulations on your milestone.

  19. Congrats on 1000- you have a truly inspirational blog to follow.
    The Birds is my favourite, followed by Floating Fun and Karst Cave, but the water buffalo is an awesome shot too. 🙂

    • Thanks Jo – it’s been quite a ride as I’m sure you agree! You have no idea how many shots I had to take of those birds before capturing one I liked, so thanks for singling it out!!

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  21. Superb photographs and presentation. The ‘Taking a dip’ photo looks like a zen philosopher in deep thought. I’ve almost got the same amount of hair coming out of my ears! 🙂 A collection of classic shots.

      • Congratulations on your 1,000th subscriber. Keeping 1000 people interested is no easy feat but it must be so easy when you have your talent.

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