Established in 1959, Guangxi Medicinal Plants Botanical Garden is located in the north-east part of Nanning. There are over 4,000 medicinal plants in the garden. most of which are native to the south of China but there are also some from 20 other countries including the UK, France, Netherlands, USA, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. The garden is the largest professional medicinal plant garden in the Asian Pacific region with the most number of species.
On the top of the mountain stands Longxiang pagoda or Qingshan pagoda which is the symbol of the Qingxiu Mountain. It was first built in the Wanli period (1573-1620) of the Ming Dynasty, but was destroyed by war. It was rebuilt in the mid-1980s and become the highest and largest pagoda in Guangxi. The pagoda retains the architectural style of the Ming Dynasty; inlaid with green bricks and tiles and featuring a 9-tiered octagonal exterior.
These are two man-made lakes within the park in front of a series of steps that lead up to the Longxiang Pagoda. There's a lovely building on the shore which serves as a tea house. The lakes are brimming with fish, as you can see in the photos.
The Qingxiu Scenic Area is located about 7km (4 miles) south-east, from the city centre and is known for its beauty and clear waters which run through it. Mt. Qingxiu or Taiqing Peak, is made up of 18 peaks including Qingshan Peak and Phoenix Peak. The range covers a total area of 4.07 square kilometres (about 1.6 square miles). The main sights in the scenic area are the ancient Longxiang Pagoda, Cycads Garden, Tianchi and Yaochi Lakes, Guanyin Temple and Thailand Garden & Temple. The scenic area makes for a lovely stroll, which is what I did for a few hours. Little buses whisk you along to wherever you want to go for RMB5 per ride.
The Yong River flows through Nanning and is the chief southern tributary of the Xi River. The river flows to Guangzhou which is navigable by shallow-draft junks. I sat beside the river in a riverside park beside the Yong Jiang Bridge and watched people of their houseboats.
This is a typical house of the Zhuang minority people found in the north-west of Guangxi. Most of the Ganlan houses have two floors, each of which has three rooms. They also have an attic. The first floor is used as a pen for animals or as a place for storage of farm tools etc. The second floor is used as a living floor whilst the attic is used to store grain. The living floor has a main central room with a stove at the right side. There are two sleeping rooms that lead off the main central room for various members of the family but the elders sleep in the central room.
Drum towers are the main public buildings in a Dong village. In general, there is one drum tower in each village but there may be three or four according to the number of people in a particular village. They are used for discussion, ceremony holding, gathering, recreation, rest and chat. This particular drum tower was built out of wood without the use of nails. Upon hearing the drum, each family in the village would send their representive to the tower to deal with the affair which would be presided over by the head of the village. Inside the tower are pictures of other types of drum tower found in different villages.
This is the showpiece building in the Minority Cultural Relics Garden at the back of the museum. The Wind & Rain bridge was built by the Dong minority people to basically protect people from the wind and rain. It was built without the use of nails and is an amazing piece of architecture that I didn't think I would be able to see whilst in China. So I was very happy to see it here.
As well as the superb bronze drums, the other major exhibition of the museum is its ethnological section which features various artefacts from the different minority groups within Guangxi. These include different textiles, wooden hand looms, drinking vessels, clothes, musical instruments, puppets and dolls, jewellery and masks. More photos can be found in my travelogues.
Bronze drums are the representive cultural relics of ancient ethnic groups in South China. In ancient times, they were taken as symbol of power and wealth. As a sacred vessel used in religious service and entertainment, bronze drums had been pursued, collected, treasured and worshipped by many ethnic groups for more than 2,000 years from the Spring and Autumn Period to the late Qing dynasty (8th century B.C. - 20th century A.D.).
Guangxi has been praised as the "base camp" of bronze drums and, here, historical records of them are abundant with this collection numbering over 1,000 which makes it the largest collection in the world.
The Guangxi Provincial Museum was built in 1954 and extended in 1978 to have a total area of 30,000 square metres. The museum has items such as hand axes that date to around 830,000 years ago, big stone spades of the Neolithic Age and bronze pieces from the various Chinese dynasties. But its main claim-to-fame is its collection of bronze drums which is said to be the largest in the world and are truly amazing. The other major exhibition of the museum is its ethnological section which features various artefacts from the different minority groups within Guangxi. Not only does the museum display some 50,000 exhibits but it also has a Minority Cultural Relics Garden at the back of the museum that was built in 1988. This displays some of the structures found within the province with the main showpiece being the Wind and Rain Bridge built by the Dong people.
Open: 9am-5pm. Admission: was free when I visited but I think it's normally RMB8.
People's Park or the Renmin Gongyuan (previously called the Bailong Gongyuan) was built in 1951 over a 51.3 hectares of land. It is a recreation park for its subtropical scenic spots and is also an amusement park.
We went there during the late afternoon and the walk round the park was really refreshing as the weather was not hot then. There are patches of nice looking lakes with moonshaped bridges. Greens everywhere in the botanical garden. There is also a Monument to the Revolutionary Martyrs being erected which you need to climb up a flight of steps. Lots of joggers and many families enter this park for their evening stroll. The amusement park within the same grounds opens only at about 7.30pm. You will need to pay separately for the rides in the amusement park.
Entrance fee is 2yuan
Operating hours :9am to 12midnight (for purpose of the amusement park within).
See more pictures in my Travelogue on the surroundings of People's Park titled " People's Park (Renmin Gongyuan)"
Most people who go to Yi Ling Yan (Yi Ling Cave) located in Yi Ling village, Shuangqiao, Wu Ming, is 17km away from Nanning, is solely to see the Cave but this scenic spot with its entry fee of 15yuan will throw in a package to cover the Zhuang's customs and cultures. Yi Ling Yan was opened in October 1975 to tourists. There is a guide who will explain to you the history, customs and cultures of the minorities, the Zhuang. The little tour will take you about half an hour. The guide will lead you to steps up the Zhuang village where you will be greeted by "arrival music" - flute and pipes serenade you. Then there will be a group of young girls who will sing the "hill songs". Afterwhich you will arrive at a little hut and you will be served with the "three-tastes tea" , yellow steamed buns" and "five coloured glutionous rice" - the local cuisine and delicacies of the Zhuang tribe. You will then pass through some Zhuang's farming equipments and the process of fermenting the rice wine. You will also pass through a big statue of a scholar where they will encourage to do a little prayers and of course, some donations. Finally you will arrive at the entrance of the cave which you will need to pay an additional 25yuan if you want to go and view the cave.
See the many pictures of Customs and Cultures of Zhuang Minority in my Travelogue titled "Zhuang - customs and cultures"
Yi Ling Cave is a beautiful cave - with lots of artistically formed stalacites and stalagmites. Colourful lights are shone on certain queer formations to enhance the beauty of the stones. A guide will take you through the tour inside the cave. The whole tour will take about 45minutes to an hour. At some parts of the cave, it's really dark but the guide has a torchlight with her to show you the way. Many fairy tale stories are coined to suit the formation of the rocks - only those who has a knowledge of these folklores will appreciate the stories.
To enter the cave : pay 25yuan (inclusive of guide)
See more pictures attached on stalacites and stalagmites
**Note : Wear sensible shoes.
**Bring strong and powerful flash to capture the beautiful rock formations
The Wen Wu Yuan park next to Guangxi Provincial Museum has a separate entrance. If you enter from this entrance instead of through the Museum's entrance, you have to pay like triple!. See my tip on "Different Entrance - Cheaper" under Tourist Trap.
This park is very scenic and you get to see the miniature structure of the "Wind & Rain Bridge" . There is also a moon-shaped bridge across a stream and nice little stools for you to relax. Near to this stream and the gigantic drum monument, there is a stage where we sat and watched a series of minorities folk dances (also the bamboo pole dance) and the wedding ceremony of the minorities tribe. The audience is invited to join in the dances and also participate in the wedding ceremony. Lots of laughter and cheering echoed through the park.
Performance is at about 11.30am and it's an half hour entertainment.
Museum operating hours : 8.30am to 11.30am and 2.30pm to 5.30pm daily
Entrance fee : 8yuan per pax
Wen Wu Yuan operating hours : 9am to 5pm
Entrance fee is :8yuan per pax excluding performances and Museum
28yuan - full package for park, performances and museum visit
See more pictures on the cultural dances/wedding ceremony in my Travelogue entitled "Cultural Dances & Wedding Ceremony"