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Top 9 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 nearby areas. 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?

1. Li River

Li River

Li River and Fisherman

The Li River is the main reason for people to travel 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 create interesting stories: fishermen ride bamboo rafts to catch fish and each turn of the river offers a surprise, to making the 4-hour cruise enjoyable.

There are Three Ways to Visit Li River

Plan A. 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: Book a Li River Day Tour with a travel agent.

Plan B. Take a Motorized Bamboo Raft in Xingping (1.5 hours)

Bamboo Rafting

Bamboo Rafting

The section of the Li River  from Yangdi town to Xingping town is considered the soul of this landscape, and this is  a great way to get up close to Li River.

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

Plan C. Hiking along Li River

For anyone who wants to see Li River in different way, this is a good choice, you will 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).

2. Longji Terraced Fields

Longji Terraced Fields

Longji Terraced Fields

Longji Terraced Fields 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 area includes 3 main terraced fields, 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.

  • Location: Longji Town, Longsheng County, Guilin City
  • Best time to visit: from May to October
  • Entrance ticket: 80 Yuan/person
  • Getting there: take a regular bus at Guilin Qintan Bus Station (runing from 6:30 to 19:00) and get off at Heping, a village before Longsheng, and then take a tourism bus to Ping’an or Dazhai. 
  • Recommended tour: One-Day Longji Terraced Fields and Minority Villages Tour

3. Reed Flute Cave

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 sit in a spectacular way that seems to bring them to life. Each has its own story and a guide will be helpful to explain the stories. The cave is very impressive, and the lighting and multimedia show are surprisingly well done. Allow 1 1/2 hours for a visit.

  • Address: NO.1, Ludi Road, Xiufeng District, Guilin City
  • Admission: 110 Yuan/person
  • Opening Hours: daily 8AM-6PM
  • Getting there: Take bus No. 3 and get off at Ludiyan Stop (芦笛岩站)
  • Recommended tour: Classic Guilin Karst Landscape Day Tour

4. Impression of Liusanjie

Impression of Liusanjie

Impression of Liusanjie

Impressions of Liusanjie 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 its bank as its stage and tells a love story of Liu Sanjie who was a very famous figure in the local folklore. Watching this show in this environment is considered to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  • Add: No.1 Tianyuan Road, Yangshuo, Guilin
  • Show Time: 19:30-21:00
  • Prices: Children Seats (RMB 118), Ordinary Seats (RMB 228), VIP B2 (RMB 268), VIP B1 (RMB 358), President VIP A2 (RMB 480), President VIP A1 (RMB 680)
  • Recommended tour: tailor-make a Guilin culture experience tour with us.

What to Do in Guilin?

5. Yangshuo Countryside Cycling

Yangshuo Countryside Cycling

Yangshuo Countryside Cycling

Yangshuo has some of the area's most beautiful landscape and biking is a popular way to enjoy the scenery and get a close look at rural China. The route is about 20 km long; taking in Moon Hill, passing Gong Nong Bridge and the Yulong River, or going 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.

6. Chinese Cooking Class in Yangshuo

Yangshuo Cooking Class

Yangshuo Cooking Class

Chinese cooking classes are very popular among foreign travelers in Yangshuo. China Travel will select one of best Chinese restaurants offering delicious local dishes in Yangshuo, which is conveniently located in the busy West Street.

The chef not only teaches you how to cook but also talks about Chinese culture and takes 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.

7. Learning Tai Chi in Yangshuo

Learning Tai Chi in Yangshuo

Learning Tai Chi in Yangshuo

Learning Tai chi 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 is located in an old-style house in a beautiful setting.

Teachers are passionate but easy-going. They are happy to talk about Tai chi 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: rent a bike or electric scooter to get there
  • Recommended tour: Contact us to add a tai chi class to your Guilin and Yangshuo tour.

8. Minority Family Visit — Making Oil Tea or Bamboo Rice

Making Bamboo Rice

Making Bamboo Rice

Bamboo stuffed rice is a landmark food in Longji. The ingredients include rice, corn, taro and pork, 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. It will take 40 minutes to cook and you can get a chance to chat with the family and walk around their old wooden house.

Oil tea is a typical drink among Yao ethnic village, particularly for those who live in the mountain area. It can quench thirst and cure rheumatism in humid mountain areas. Visiting a Yao family in Longji and learning how to make oil tea is an excellent way to experience local life.

9. Know Some Local Handicrafts in Daxu Old Village

Daxu Old Village

Daxu Old Village

Daxu ancient town was a floury trade exchange center in the past decades and many tradesmen settled down for several generations. Now the younger generation mostly move out for better job opportunities, while the older prefer to live in the old town, selling souvenirs and taking care of their fields, thus the traditional handicrafts still can be seen today.

Experience Guilin Your Way

Family Tour in Longji

Family Tour in Longji

As a team of native Guilin travel experts who know every corner of Guilin, we provide you with private Guilin tours with the most flexibility, to enhance your tour with extra experiences. Here are some of our popular itineraries: