Sitting against a backdrop of natural landscapes and scenery, with incredible karst mountains, lush rice fields, and beautiful lakes, you know you’ll find plenty of things to do in Guilin.
You could take a half day cruise, and float upstream the Li River all the way to the ancient village of Yangshuo. Or explore real rural China on a full day trip out of the city, into the Longji terraced rice fields, and its picturesque surrounding villages.
Nevertheless, a trip to Guilin is like walking into paradise. If natural beauty is what you’re looking for, Guilin is the perfect place to be. But with so much natural beauty to witness, the hardest bit is choosing what to do first.
That’s why we created a list of things to do in Guilin. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the exotic scenery of beautiful Guilin.
Things to do in Guilin
Enjoy a leisurely cruise along the Li River
Maybe you haven’t heard of the city of Guilin before, but you probably have heard of the Chinese classic beauty, the Li River. The river is the hallmark of the Guilin landscape and immediately reminds you of an ink-wash painting.
Unwind, and enjoy the slow pace and captivating scenery on a cruise along the Li River, where verdant hills form a backdrop to lush riverbanks, fishermen casting their nets, and cooking smoke curling upwards in rural villages. If you’re lucky, you may see some trained cormorants catching fish the traditional way, a skill once practised all throughout South-East China.
Travel back in time in the ancient town of Yangshuo
After half a day of sailing up the Li River, you will enter a county called Yangshuo, famed for its graceful tranquillity and enchanting natural landscape. Step off the boat and into an atmosphere of history.
Visit the ancient town of Xingping, Yangshuo’s true gem, with scenic sites, such as the Reflection of Yellow Cloth Shoal, and an abundance of historical relics and traditional dwellings that remain much the same as they were in the ancient time.
Then, head over to West Street, where old meets new. West Street is a bustling place, crammed with old houses, cafes, and bars. We strongly recommend going souvenir shopping if you have some time to spare.
Marvel at the secret workings of nature
Nestled in Guilin’s city center is the famed Elephant Trunk Hill. A masterpiece of karst landscape that resembles a giant elephant, drinking water with its long trunk. It’s a fascinating and inspiring place that has become a top choice for travelers to catch their very first glimpse of Guilin’s legendary scenery.
Travel 7.4 kilometers further northwest, and marvel at another awe-inspiring wonder of nature. The Reed Flute Cave takes you into a bizarre, underground world, made of stalactites and stalagmites. The cave has been a tourist hotspot since the Tang Dynasty and even shows inscriptions left by ancient celebrities.
Feeling intrigued? Why not dive into the captivating spirit of Guilin by exploring with one of our specialty Guilin tours.
Release your inner culture vulture in Longsheng County
Dating all the way back to the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1863), the terraced landscape in Longsheng County is considered the best all around China, both in scale as in grandeur.
The scenery of the rice fields changes along with the seasons. However, no matter which season you prefer traveling in, the terrace looks stunning anyway, from the glittering mirrors in spring, and lush green carpets in summer, to the stunning golden yarn in autumn, and silvery-white icy fields in winter. While you’re there, visit some of the surrounding rural villages, where the Zhuang and Yao people live the life of ethnic minorities. Their traditional architecture, clothing, and customs will create a lasting memory.
Looking to release your inner culture vulture and meet with Longsheng County’s ethnic minority cultures? Book our Longji Terraced Rice Field Private Tour and get up close with local rice growers and the heart of China.
Try the delicious taste of Guilin cuisine
When talking about Guilin cuisine, the first dish that comes mind is Guilin rice noodles. Guilin’s most renowned dish and one of the city’s iconic symbols. These mouth-watering noodles are delicate and soft, with a smooth texture, and topped with a special bone soup made of chopped pig’s or cow’s gut, minced onion, pepper, coriander, and a few drops of sesame oil.
But rice noodles aren’t the only dish Guilin cuisine has to offer. You’ll find the distinguishing spicy and sour flavors of Guilin in many other foods, such as the fiery Guilin chili sauce, Yangshuo beer fish, Guizhou snails, and traditional rice cakes like Aiyebaba, Ciba, and Matigao.
Fancy a gourmet experience while visiting Guilin? Check out one of our extended Guilin tours, capturing the culinary essence of this city’s natural beauty.
Explore everything there is to know about the real Guilin with ChinaTours.com. Our Guilin tours allow you to truly experience the city of natural beauty in either a small group tour with a set itinerary or a tailor-made private tour, both led by experienced local Guilin tour guides.
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