Elephant Trunk Hill is called Xiàngbí Shān ( 象鼻山) in Chinese it is one of the main tourist attraction of the city. Its name derives from the circular cave (Water Moon Cave) going through the front of the mountain, making the Karst structure look like an elephant holding its trunk into the water.
A very popular destination, Elephant Trunk Hill (Xiangbi Shan) once appeared on Chinese currency bills. It is the symbol of Guilin, situated at the junction of Li River and Peach Blooming River in the center of Guilin city. It is a spectacular limestone karst hill, rising 55 meters over the river with naturally-shaped cave the bottom. It simply resembles an elephant dipping its snout into the river. At dusk, it looks extraordinarily beautiful. It is a masterpiece of karst landscape.
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The hill is in Elephant Trunk Hill Park. The trunk and body parts of the hill create a semi circle shaped gap called the Shuiyue Cave (Moon over the Water Cave). Water runs through the gap and at night creates a pretty image of a full moon with the reflection on the water which gives the cave its name and has been the inspiration for many Chinese stories and poems. There are important historical carvings and stone inscriptions in the cave which date back to the Tang dynasty (618-907) including a poem by Lu You, a great poet from ancient China.
The Puxian Pagoda on top of Elephant Trunk Hill was erected during the Ming Dynasty. It measures 14 meter in height and is shaped to represent the handle of a sword sticking out of the back of the Elephant after it has been killed. The Pagoda has two storeys, the second one with an inlay of the image of Bodhisattva Puxian (after which it is named). To get to the cave you have to take the stairs from the south-side of the mountain. From there it is also possible to continue the ascent to the top of the mountain where the Puxian Pagoda is located.
The most impressive feature of Elephant Trunk Hill is said to be the Shuiyue Cave (Moon over the Water Cave). It reflects of a round, moon like cave. The cave is between the elephant’s “trunk” and the “body”. On a moonlit night, the cave’s reflection looks like a full moon floating on the surface of the water. You will see an amazing sight of a moon in the sky, the moon in the hill and the moon on the water.