Cat Mountain (Mao’er Shan) is Southern China’s highest peak, but because it is relatively isolated and inaccessible to normal travellers and the roads are rough and dangerous, is not often visited. Fortunately, that information is several years out-of-date. Today, the drive to the foot of Mao’er Shan is less than two hours, on very good roads, from the tourist city of Guilin, and is a much more pleasant drive than expected.
A countryside dominated by impressive saw-tooth mountain ranges covered in sub-tropical vegetation, bamboo-clad mountainsides, towering peaks, verdant valleys with picture-post-card farms, terraced fields of rice and charming villages along the road creates a landscape to inspire any photographer or artist.
Recent development of the access road has included major earthworks, road-building and surfacing and installation of Armco-type safety barriers.
The peak, alternating between cloud-shrouded and wind-swept, is magnificent.
In the manner of many Chinese places of natural beauty, an incredible amount of work has gone into making it as accessible as possible to ordinary people. The design is in harmony with the scenery. There are paths with strong but unobtrusive guardrails and well-built stone stairways and walk-ways leading to awe-inspiring look-outs; but don’t get the notion that the rugged, natural splendour has been tamed for pampered visitors. The barriers are two-rail fences along the lip of cliff and chasm; so we never had the feeling of being insulated from the raw magnificence of our surroundings. The sheer drop still beckons, an arms-length away, without chain-link fences to protect the stupid from themselves and spoil photographer’s compositions, though, in deference to safety, there are occasional signs in charming Chinglish reminding us, “No striding over” and similar dire warnings.
There is accommodation near the top of the mountain; unattractive 1950s concrete box-like buildings looking like an abandoned power station. They were built in the early years of the People’s Republic to provide holiday accommodation and for scientific researchers.
♦ How to Get There
It is about 90 kilometers from Guilin, taking a bus to Maoer Mountain from the long distance bus station in Guilin. Or taking a bus to Xingan (Ziyuan) Change bus in Baizhupu to go Maoer mountain.
China Travel Agency
also can provides transfer service to this attraction.