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Top Things to Do in Guilin

Guilin is well-known thanks to its unique Karst landform and as a stopping off point before visiting Yangshuo and other areas close to Guilin. Of course Yangshuo plays a key role in trip planning but other areas in around Guilin should be included in any visit. Based on our local knowledge these are the top things to do in Guilin.

What to see in Guilin?

Li River Cruise

Li River

Li River is the main reason for people traveling to Guilin. The cruise from Guilin City to Yangshuo on the Li River is 83 km of uniquely beautiful karst landscape. Taking the Li River cruise is the best way to enjoy this natural beauty.

The peaks stretch along the river creating interesting stories, fishermen ride bamboo rafts to catch fish and each turn of the river offers a surprise to make the 4-hour cruise enjoyable.

There are Three Ways to Visit Li River

Take a luxury cruise boat from Guilin to Yangshuo Town, departs at 9:00am-9:30am every morning.

  • Time spend: 4-5 hours
  • Price: CNY300-650, price varies base on the class of the seat.
  • How to book the cruise: it is not available for book only ticket online, visitors can book Li River Day Tour with English tour guide with round transfers with travel agent.

Take a Motorized Bamboo Raft in Xingping (1 1/2 hours)

Li River in Yangdi town to Xingping town section consider as the soul of this landscape, and this is the good way to get up close to Li River.

Note: for safety consideration, child that less than 7 years old or below 1.2 meters hight, and senior over 70 years are not allowed to take the bamboo raft.

Hiking along Li River

For anyone who wants to see Li Rive in different way, this is a good choice, you are not only see the river but acknowledge the local lifestyles and tranquil countryside scenery.

Hiking Route: Xianggong Hill (Putao town) → Lengshui Ferry Boat (5km, 2 hours ) → Nine Horses Fresco Hill →Xingping Town (5km, 2 hours )(tickets for Xianggong Hill and ferry boat are included).

Recommended Guilin Li River Tour:

Longji Terraced Fields

Longji Terraced Fields

Longji Terraced Scenic Areas are in Longsheng County, 77 km away from Guilin. The highest point is 1,180 meters above sea level and the lowest 380 meters. The Scenic Area includes 3 main terraced fields. They are Jinkeng, Ping'An and Gu Zhuangzhai Village.

Each has its own specialty. Ping'An was the first to be developed and is also the location of the famous attraction—Seven Stars accompanying the Moon. Jinkeng is a village home to the Red Yao Ethnic group. The terraced fields are surrounded by mountains which look like a natural hole. A cable car is available at Jinkeng. The Terraced fields at Gu Zhuangzhai are dotted with ancient stilted houses and there are 7 houses over 100 years old.

Ping'an and Jinkeng are very commercial while Gu Zhuangzhai still keeps the natural appearances. 2 days hiking is recommended. May and October are the best time to visit there when offering lots of photo opportunities.

  • Add: Longji Terraced Field Scenic Area, Longsheng County
  • Tel: 0773-7583031
  • Admission: 80 Yuan/person
  • Getting there:Take a non-stop bus from Guilin to Longsheng costing 20 Yuan/person for about 1 1/2 hours.
    To Dazhai(Terraced Fields in Jinkeng):
    Transfer to Dazhai from Longsheng Bus Station costing 7 Yuan/person and another 1 hour.
    To Ping'an Village:
    Transfer to Ping'an costing 6.5 Yuan/person and another 1 hour and then walk for 20 minutes.
    To Gu Zhuangzhai:
    Walk to Gu zhuangzhai from Seven Star Accompanying the Moon at Ping'an for 40 minutes.
    On the way to Longsheng County from Guilin, visitors can get off at Heping Village and take a car to one of these 3 villages for about 15 Yuan/person.

Recommended Longji Tour:

Reed Flute Cave

Reed Flute Cave

Reed Flute Cave is the most notable cave of the many in Guilin. It is located on the side of Taohua River and about 6 km away from the city center.

Known as the Palace of Natural Arts the beautiful stalactites and stalagmites in the huge cave are let in a spectacular way to bring them to life. Each has its own story and a guide will be helpful. The cave is very impressive, and the lighting and multimedia show are surprisingly well done. Allow 1 1/2 hours for a visit.

  • Add: NO.1, Ludi Road, Xiufeng District, Guilin City
  • Tel: 0773-2695075
  • Admission: 90 Yuan/person
  • Opening Hours: 7:30-18:00 between Apr. 1 and Nov. 31; 8:00-17:30 for Dec.1 to Mar.31
  • Getting there: Take Bus NOs 3 and get off at Ludi Yan Station (芦笛岩站)

Recommended Guilin Reed Flute Cave Tour:

Impression of Liusanjie

Impression of Liusanjie

Impressions of Liu san jie is the largest show performed in natural landscape in the world. It is directed by Zhang Yimou who also directed the opening ceremony of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. There are almost 600 actors who are all local villagers. It uses both the Li River and the bank as its stage and tells a love story of Liu Sanjie who was a very famous figure in the folklore of the area. Watching this show in this environment is considered to be an experience of a life time.

  • Add: 1, Tianyuan Road, Yangshuo, Guilin
  • Tel: 0773-8811 983
  • Show Time: 19:30-21:00
  • Prices: Ordinary Seats (RMB 198), VIP 1(RMB 238), VIP2 (RMB 320), Vice president VIP A2 (RMB 480), President VIP A1 (RMB 680).

We can customize a Guilin tour for you including the Impression of Liusanjie show.

What to do in Guilin?

Yangshuo Countryside Cycling

Yangshuo Countryside Cycling

Yangshuo has some of the area's most beautiful scenery and biking is a popular way enjoy the scenery and get a close look at like in rural China. The route is about 20 km long taking in Moon Hill, passing Gong Nong Bridge and Yulong River. Or to the small old villages to Yima and Jiuxian.

Bike renting is available everywhere in Yangshou for about 20 Yuan/bike a day. When booking with chinatravel.com, a biking tour will include a local family visit to allow customers a deeper insight into the local life of the villagers.

Recommended Yangshuo Biking Tour:

Chinese Cooking Class in Cloud 9

Chinese Cooking Class in Cloud 9 Restaurant

Chinese cooking class are very popular with foreign travelers in Yangshuo. Cloud 9 Restaurant was one of the earliest and best Chinese Restaurants offering delicious local dishes, Sichuan food as well as cooking classes every day. It is conveniently located in busy West Street.

The chef not only teaches pupils how to cook but also talks about Chinese culture, take you to the local famer's market to see what Chinese eat daily. Each student cooks their dishes and then enjoys their own labor by eating the result.

  • Add: Chengzong Road, Yangshuo
  • Class time: 9:30-11:30; 16:00-18:00
  • We can customize a Guilin tour for you including a Chinese cooking class in Yangshuo.
Learning Tachi in Yangshuo

Learning Tachi in Yangshuo

Learning Taichi can be an interesting activity for foreign people. A Taichi school in Yima Village of Yangshuo County is very popular. It is around 20 minutes from the county by bike. The school located in an Qing Dynasty house in a beautiful setting.

Teachers are passionate but easy-going. They are happy to talk about Taichi and Chinese culture. They provide teaching at different levels and the class times are flexible according to students' requirements. Many consider it a-once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  • Add: NO 88, Yima Village, Yangshuo County
  • Getting there: take a local electric car or rent a bike to get there for 20 minutes
  • We can customize a Guilin tour for you including a Tachi lesson in Yangshuo.
Make Bamboo Rice in Longji

Minority Family Visit — Learn How to Make Oil Tea or Bamboo Rice

Bamboo stuffed rice is a famous food in Longji. The ingredients include rice, corn, taro and becon, stuffed in a 20cm (8in) long bamboo stem, then roast in a fire shelf. Local people will show you every step of how to make it.

Cook rice in a smart and tasty way in about 40 minutes. You will get a chance to chat with the family and walk around their 50-year-old wooden house.

Visiting a local minority family is a feast for your stomach as well as your eyes.

Oil tea is a typical drink among Yao ethnic village, particularly for who lives in the mountain area. It can quench thirst and cure rheumatism in humid mountain areas. Visit a Yao family in Longji to learn how to make oil tea, and to interact with local people who have lived there for generations. You may wonder what oil tea is. Your guide will help you to discover local life there.

Where to learn: Ping’an Zhuang Village and Dazhai Village in Longsheng County.

  • Add: Yiling Village, Yangshuo County, Guilin City
  • Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
  • Admission: 168 Yuan/person
  • Getting there: take a local electric car or rent a bike to get there in 20 minutes
  • We can customize a Guilin tour for you including the Mud Bath in a Water Cave.
Learn How to do Local Handicrafts

Learn How to do Local Handicrafts in Daxu old village

Daxu ancient town is a floury trade exchange center in the past decades, many trademen settle down for seral generations, now the younger generation are mostly move out or work in the city for better job opportunities, the older people preferred to live in the old town, selling souvenir to the tourists, or take care of their farm, thus the tradition handicrafts still well remain.

let’s knock on the door of the old man, to discover something more of the story of Daxu. You will then have a chance to visit a local crafts workshop and learn how to do local handicrafts. We will offer you a "One out of three" experience (about 1 hour)-- making Chinese lanterns, painting monkey mask or lion head - used for ceremonial dancing.

  • Add: Daxu Old Town, Guilin
  • Opening Hours:9:00- 17:00
  • Price: CNY150/hour
  • Getting there: take a local bus from Sanlidian Square and take off in Daxu old village.
  • We can customize a Guilin tour for you including learn to do local handicrafts in Daxu old village.
Chinese Language Institute

2-hour Chinese Learning in CLI

The Chinese Language Institute, short for CLI is an official partner of China Travel, CLI delivers intensive Mandarin, College Study Abroad, China Seminar, and Teach in China program options.

The Institute located in Chaoyang Road in Qixing District, Guilin, nearby Guangxi Normal University, The organization was founded in 2009 by two American brothers who have lived in Guilin for a combined 20 years, and now is officially affiliated with Guangxi Normal University.

The 2 hours class is specially design for the beginner; the one-to-one class will teach from form simple words pronunciation in Chinese Pingyin, daily communication for greeting, buying stuff, directions, to bring you from enable to speak any Chinese words to where you could simply understand people and conversation simple words to them.

  • Address: near by the west gate of Guangxi Normal University.
  • Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
  • Getting there: take a bus No.16, No.32 and get off in Chaoyang Road.
  • We can customize a Guilin tour for you including the Chinese learning in CLI.

Where to eat in Guilin?


Mcfound 麦香坊

Mcfound is a local restaurant offering typical Chinese northern food. This means that wheat products are more often used instead of rice which is typical in the south. There are 4 locations in Guilin and many locals are regulars. The ambience is good and the service is friendly. Most staff cannot speak English so that foreigners have to order by pointing to different pictures on the menu which are in English. Dishes offered include dumplings, black-pepper flavored fried noodles, pork with bean sauce, chili beef and pancake dishes.

  • Add: NO.7 Xinyi Road, Guilin 桂林市信义路7号
  • Tel: 0773-5832926
  • Opening Hours: 11am to 2pm; 5pm to 9pm
  • Price range: 60 Yuan/person
  • Getting there: Take Bus No.22 at bus stop of Guilin Coach Station and get off at Children's Palace Station(少年宫站), then walk about 100 yards for the restaurant; Take Tourism Bus NO 1 or Bus NO 5 and get off at Nanmen Bridge Station(南门桥站), then walk for another 711 yards.
Guilin Rice Noodles

Rice Noodles Restaurant 桂林米粉

Rice noodle is the daily food for Guilin locals, the plain rice noodles is white and made of rice powder starch, taste smooth and easy to chew, and then form the mixture into dough. Cut the dough into slender pieces or thin slices.

The ingredient of the rice noodle includes stewed beef, fry pork and pickled stream bean, bamboo shot and spring onion, the soul of the rice noodles is the sauce, formulation and taste have a bit different at each rice noodle restaurants.

Recommended rice noodle restaurants

  • Chongshan Rice Noodles: Yiren Road, close to clock tower, Guilin, China.
  • Opening Hours: 06:30 - 02:00
  • Getting there: Bus NOs 2/57/100/10/30/14 reach stations near Zhengyang Pedestrian Street
Rosemary Café

Rosemary Café 迷迭香

This is a small western restaurant but famed around the city, it has running for more than 17 years, and still insisted the high-quality food and stander taste. The must-order dishes are chicken pizza, spaghetti, pizza, tacos or burritos and tuna salad.

  • Add: Yiren Road, Guilin, China
  • Tel: 0773-2810063
  • Opening Hours: 10:00-23:00
  • Price range: 60 Yuan/person
  • Getting there: Take Bus NO 2 and get off at Jie Fangjiao Station (解放桥站).
Kali Mirch (black pepper) Indian Cuisine

Kali Mirch (black pepper) Indian Cuisine

This Indian Restaurant is situated in Shanghai Shui Street. It has a capacity of about 30 people.

The chef is from India and uses imported the raw materials. The staff speak good English. They feature samosas, garlic naan and there diskes dishes.

  • Add: No.15 bin jiang street zhengyang pedestrian street, Guilin
  • Tel: 13737396451
  • Opening Hours: 11:30-22:30
  • Price range: $7 - $12
  • Getting there: Take Bus NO 2 and get off at Jie Fangjiao Station (解放桥站)

Where to Buy in Guilin?

Tea Plantation in Yaoshan Mountain Scenic Area

Tea Plantation in Yaoshan Mountain Scenic Area

The Tea Plantation is located near the hill foot of Yaoshan Mountain. This free attraction provides an insight into the growing and production of many categories of tea - from white to green and black tea. A tea tasting is available. It is possible to buy samples of the many type of tea (including flavored teas) produced on sight.

  • Add: 17, Jinji Road, Diecai District, Guilin City
  • Tel: 0773-5609969
  • Getting There: Bus No.24 passes the plantation. Or take a taxi at 25 Yuan from the city center.
Xicheng Night Market

Xicheng Night Market

Xicheng Night Market is located in and around Xicheng Pedestrian Street. The market runs over almost 600 meters and has 380 stalls.

Local specialty products are widely available. These include hand painted paper fans and clothes with local characteristics. The delicious, cheap snacks are worth trying. It attracts many locals and visitors every night.

  • Add: Xicheng Road, Xiangshan District, Guilin
  • Opening Hours: 19:00 pm -2:00 am
  • Getting there: Take Bus NO 10 and get off at Yangqiao Station(阳桥站); Take Bus NO 16 Station and get off at Xicheng Lukou Station(西城路口站).

Tailor-make Your Trip to Guilin:

If you want to visit these attractions above or any other palces that you are interested, China Travel can tailor-make a tour based on your needs and requirements, which can save your time, money, and trouble. Please feel free to tell us your tour ideas! >> Tailor a Tour Now!

Recommended Guilin Tours: