Astonishing mix of compelling karst limestone scenery, stunning waterscape, diverse geography, exotic minority culture, and idyllic countryside, Guilin, together with its nearby Yangshuo and Longji Terraced Fields, is home to a wealth of wonders and one of the top destinations where most tourists find themselves when they are on their China tour holidays.
Whilst perusing the natural beauties in Guilin, be sure to take in the delights of the Li River, on which a leisure cruise will offer you a chance to encounter many staggering karst landscapes including the famous scenery on RMB 20 Yuan note. Then head to Yangshuo and get intrigued by the picturesque scenery of countryside. And, be sure to save some time for the Longsheng area where you can see the extremely large rice terraces unfolding before your eyes and expect beautiful encounters with local minority villages to gain insight into their ethnic culture and customs.
Relax and Cruise along the Li River
Topping most tourists' must-see list in Guilin, Li River is a host to some of the most breathtaking views in the world which boasts the numerous spellbinding karst limestone mountains and cliffs sitting on its either side. Taking a boat cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo is easily the best way to take in all its highlights at a leisure pace.
Not only immerse yourself into the constantly changing scenery of dazzling karst vistas, during the 52-mile cruise, you are also expected to be introduced to a dynamic scene of local life, including fisherman floating on a bamboo raft down the river, cormorants catching fish, buffalos grazing beside the river, etc.
Details about the cruise:
- Time needed: 4 - 5 hours
- Opening time: 9:00-18:30
- Length: 83 km (52 miles)
- Best time to visit: You can cruise along the river at any time of year because of the temperate weather. The best time to take a cruise is from April to October when the temperature runs between 20-30°C, and the weather is generally mild and sunny.
Bike around the rural villages
With quiet roads winding through karst mountain peaks, and gorgeous rivers, the rural villages around Guilin and Yangshuo offer tourists a perfect opportunity to take in the incredibly beautiful Chinese countryside with its zigzagged trails and tracks on a leisurely bike tour. Additionally, the very convenient bike rental service also helps to make the rural village a prime cycling destination.
Explore quaint villages retaining tranquility and a farm-like feeling, pedal your way to various breathtaking areas along the lazy rivers, or go deep into the limestone mountain areas…, there are numerous cycle routes to suit everyone and to soak up all the surrounding beauties.
Hike through Longji Terraced Fields
One of the most spectacular terraced fields in China, the Longji Terraced Fields is a diverse place which offers tourists a lot: breathtaking terraced-field landscapes, hospitable minority people, brilliant ethnic culture, surreal hiking experience, and fantastic photo opportunities. Just 2.5 hours' drive from Guilin, it is definitely unmissable.
With about 66 square kilometers of terraces being built along the mountain slope, the whole rice fields look just like an extremely giant ladder that will go up to the sky and change colors according to seasons. As you traverse the 'ladder steps' amid picturesque mountain vistas, stop along the way to visit some charming minority villages and learn about their brilliant culture and life.
Best time to visit: Displaying different sceneries in different seasons, Longji Terraced Fields can be visited all year round. Usually, May to October is the most popular time for both photography and hiking.
Top attractions: Seven Star Accompany the Moon, Nine Dragons and Five Tigers, Zhuang stilted houses, etc.
Enjoy a Bamboo Rafting along the Yulong River
Yulong River, also known as the Little Li River, is a tributary of the Li River, where the calm waters provide an idyllic setting for visitors to delight a relaxed bamboo raft trip.
Being rowed slowly by a local villager, the rafts will take you to float through an array of water painting-like landscapes, ancient villages and quaint bridges, and see the serene countryside life being featured more prominently in rustic scenes of kids swimming in the water, local women washing clothes, planting and harvest…
Have a Drink in Some Bars in West Street at Night:
- When you find yourself lack of nightlife ideas in Yangshuo, the West Street which is packed with bunches of foreigners, ancient architectures, souvenir shops, tasty snacks, bars, cafes, etc. can surely inspire you and provide lots of entertainments.
- Thanks to its center position, the West Street at night is always colorful but noisy, with heavy crowds and traffic. If you are looking for a less bustling night here, then there is one viable option for you: get down to the quiet section of the street into one of the bars where you will be entertained with soft music, great drinks and food while enjoying the exotic night scenes outside.
Explore the Reed Flute Cave
A stunning limestone cave, the Reed Flute Cave which got its name because of the abundant reeds at its entrance, is nothing short of magical and awe-inspiring. Being carved out by the thousands of years of water erosion, the cave is extremely impressive for its whimsical stalactites and stalagmites, as well as the fascinating display of multicolored lights, creating a gorgeous subterranean wonder.
Your imagination is bound to run wild while in the cave, and you can simply associate the whimsical formations and shapes with any kinds of creatures.
Visit Elephant Trunk Hill
The emblem of Guilin, the Elephant Trunk Hill stands as one of the most visited attractions in Guilin which is found in many photos and postcards from this city.
Covering an area of about 13,000 square kilometers and at a height of 55 meters above the Li River, the Hill is best known for its unique shape - like a huge elephant drinking water by stretching its trunk into the Li River. Nevertheless, it's not merely about the outstanding shape. There are several famous scenic spots on the hill, including the Water Moon Cave (a cave siting between the elephant's trunk and body which likes a full moon reflecting on the river), the Elephant Eye Cave (at the right place of the 'elephant's eye', the cave offers tourists a good panoramic view of the Li River), Puxian Pagoda (being built in Ming Dynasty, it is the home of many mystifying carvings and inscriptions), etc.
Watch the Show of Impression Liusanjie
An extraordinary feast of natural landscapes, music, light, and dance, the Impression Liusanjie is entirely staged on the wavy Li River in Yangshuo, with 12 Karsts peaks and real water as its backdrop. Highlighting the extremely huge cast (well over 600 actors and actresses), overwhelming light and sound system, the harmonic combination of folk songs, ethnic culture and natural landscapes, the show will absolutely guarantee you a spectacular and entertaining experience, and at the same time, open you a window on local culture and customs.
How many days to spend in Guilin
Guilin is a slow-paced destination all about sightseeing, ethnic culture and relaxation, where the longer you stay, the better experience you will be guaranteed.
For visitors who want to explore the most essential breathtaking views in Guilin and Yangshuo, we recommend at least 3 days and 2 nights. If you are also planning to soak up the enchanting view of Longji Terraced Fields and get in touch with the local minority people and their culture, we would recommend at least 4 days and 3 nights for the duration of your entire Guilin trip.
Top Guilin Tours
Admire the beauty of Guilin with other top China highlights with the popular tours below: