The main reason for visiting Guilin was to see it’s amazing scenery and take a trip down the Li River.

We also wanted to see local fisherman using Cormorants to catch their fish at night.

Guilin means ‘Forest of Sweet Osmanthus’. Osmanthus is a type of tree which grows in abundance here.

It’s also a very popular holiday destination for the Chinese.


Trip date


Where we stayed

Guilin Riverside Hotel

NO.6 Zhu Mu Xiang, Nan Men Bridge, Guilin, China

5 nights (11/08/11 – 16/08/11)

What we did

Guilin Boats


Guilin Mountains


Learn more about Guilin

Some interesting facts about Guilin

1. Guilin is one of China’s most popular tourist destinations.

Guilin gets about 3.2 million tourists a year. On TripAdvisor in 2016, Yangshuo ranks 9th in all of China as a popular destination. Yangshuo is a small town 60 kilometres from Guilin city proper. It is the part of the Guilin area that tourists most enjoy. Guilin itself ranks 43 of all the thousands of places to go in this huge country.

The Chinese appreciate the beauty of this place so much they show it on their 20 yuan bill.

With our China Highlights customers, the Guilin area ranks 4 in China.

2. Guilin has “the most beautiful landscape”.

Chinese people esteem it as their most beautiful city area…

There is an old literary saying in China: ‘Guìlín’s hills and water best under heaven’ (桂林山水甲天下). Chinese and foreigners alike love the gnarled hill shapes, and the Yulong and Li Rivers make seeing the area in a relaxed manner easy and fun.

3. The best times to visit Guilin are spring and fall.

The most beautiful scenery is in spring…

Rafting amid the beautiful scenery along the Li River.

For the best scenery, come in the spring when the mists and fogs shroud the area mystically. It is a beautiful photogenic phenomenon, and the countryside and hills are covered with fresh growth and are the most beautiful green too. The Li River and the Longji Terraces are suitable to visit in spring. 

The other best time weatherwise is in the fall…

But overall, other than April and May, the other best time to go weatherwise for touring, hikingbiking and outdoor activities is in the fall in September and October when the rainfall slackens and it is still warm. The weather sours by November though.

4. Two rivers, two hills, and West Street are Guilin’s favourite places.

Yulong River rafting and Li River cruises, seeing and climbing up Moon Hill, climbing 228-meter tall Laozhai Hill in Xingping, and shopping and dining in Yangshuo’s West Street are the favourite tourist activities.

Of course, there are dozens of other popular things to do in the area. The most popular cave in Guilin, Reed Flute Cave, which was raged with Certificate of Excellence in 2016.

5. Planes or the bullet train are the best ways to go to Guilin.

Guilin Liangjiang International Airport gives fast access to tourists.

Airport: Guilin has its own international airport connecting Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Korea, and Thailand as well as dozens of Mainland cities.

Bullet trains: In terms of speed, price, and comfort, it is by far the best way to go Guilin for domestic travel now from much of the country. 

It is about 3 hours from Guangzhou to Guilin (starting at 22 USD), about 3 hours and ten minutes from Shenzhen North to Guilin North (22 USD), 7 hours from Shanghai to Guilin, and 11 hours from Beijing to Guilin. It is only two and a half hours from Guangzhou to Yangshuo (18 USD).

6. Guilin is 72-hour / 144-hour visa-free!

This means you can enjoy three days in Guilin if you are a citizen of 51 countries. If you are a citizen of one of the 10 ASEAN countries, you can get a 6-day visa-free entry. Read more about visa-free travel>>

7. Guilin is China’s top climbing destination.

Climbing in Yangshuo

The Yangshuo International Rock Climbing Festival is held annually on a weekend in the fall. The dates vary. Hundreds of people from all over the world are attracted to climb.

All those thousands of hills give plenty of places to go. But we recommend that you try climbing only at the regular popular climbing sites since the karst limestone is crumbly, and it is probably dangerous to climb an untried cliff. Read more about Rock Climbing in Yangshuo>>

8. The best Guilin souvenirs include handicrafts, paintings, and osmanthus.

Yangshuo West Street in the evening

Local handicrafts for souvenirs, cultured pearls, and T-shirts that the artists will paint for you made to order are the best local buys and souvenirs. You can tell the artists to paint whatever you want such as your portrait. They are skilled and can do it in about 15 or 20 minutes.

You might also like landscape paintings, Luo Han Guo (a kind of fruit for beverages), osmanthus flowers (herbal tea), paper fans, and calligraphy.

Zhengyang Pedestrian Street in Guilin downtown and West Street in Yangshuo are main shopping streets.

9. The best place to stay is Yangshuo.

Biking and photography in the Yangshuo countryside is a popular recreation.

Experienced foreign travellers know that the best place to book a room is in quiet, quaint, and more tourist-friendly Yangshuo. It puts you in the middle of the scenic countryside and next to the beautiful Li River, and you’ll more easily get your bearings and enjoy your time. 

While there are many good hotels and sights in the city of Guilin, it is a more-congested, developing urban area, and the scenery and atmosphere cannot compare with Yangshuo. So we recommend that to most enjoy your time, especially for a short visit, stay in Yangshuo. 

10. Guilin rice noodles are sold on almost every block!

Guilin mifen (米粉 mǐfěn /mee-fnn/) is what the locals call their rice noodles, which are the favourite local quick meal. Local people love to add special condiments in their noodles including chopped green onion, pepper, sour bamboo shoots and pickled cowpeas.

Guilin rice noodles

You are never far from a mifen restaurant in Guilin, and you’ll probably like these noodle shops. You can get a small bowl of noodles for 3.5+ yuan. Add the condiments, spices, and sauces you like by yourself and enjoy. More about Guilin noodles>>

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