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Guilin Travel Guide

map Here are 10 important facts for tourists to Yangshuo and Guilin to help them on their trip.

Guilin's idyllic scenery draws millions of tourists from near and far every year. The primary industry of Guilin is tourism, so travelers feel well-catered-for and immediately relaxed in this small and quiet, but hugely popular city.

It is never far to the next colorfully named karst hills or charming vista. You will find a paradise to relax in and colorful minority culture to enjoy.

Guilin is a popular destination for second trip to China. Continue to read other popular second trip destinations in China.


  • A tradition of tribute: Guilin's reputation as one of the world's most beautiful places has been established over hundreds of years by VIPs from poets to emperors.
"I have visited more than 80 countries and over a hundred cities. I have found that no city can surpass the beauty of Guilin. Guilin is really a bright pearl in China.
  • Best scenery in China: The popular Chinese saying "Guilin shanshui jia tian xia" means ‘Guilin’s mountain and water scenery is the best under heaven’.>
  • Guilin ranks fourth on China's list of the 10 best tourist destinations, after the "golden triangle" (Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai).
  • The Li River, Guilin's most popular scenic area, was selected by National Geographic Magazine as one of the world's top ten watery wonders.


Li River scenery The beautiful scenery along the Li River.

Covering an area of 28,000 square km (11,000 square miles),Guilin Prefecture is in northeast Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, South China. See Guilin Maps. Guilin is a small city by Chinese standards, with about 700,000 people, about 500 km (300 mi) northwest of Hong Kong, one hour away by air.

Guilin is in a subtropical (bordering temperate) monsoon zone with a warm and moist climate. See Guilin Weather. Altitude ranges from about 100 meters in the lower reaches of the Li River to 2,141 meters at Kitten Mountain, the tallest peak in South China and source of the beautiful Li River. The Li River flows through Guilin from north to south. Guilin's downtown lies on the west bank of the Li.

Top Attractions Guilin

yangshuo countryside cyclingYangshuo countryside cycling

See How to Plan a Day in Guilin for some typical ways to combine Guilin’s best sights.

  • The Li River: The Li River, particularly between Guilin and Yangshuo, is one of the most beautiful sights on the planet. It is best experienced with a cruise or a leisurely hike along its banks.
  • Yangshuo: Get "up close and personal" with the beauty that you have seen in the pictures as you venture out into the countryside of Yangshuo by bicycle, moped, bus, or even on foot, between the rice paddies, to experience rural China at its most charming.
  • Longsheng's Rice Terraces:Longsheng County boasts fantastic natural scenery with spiraling terraced rice fields, created about 800 years ago. It is famous for its ethnic villages in mountainous areas.

Photography in Guilin

longji terraced fields Longji Terraced Fields

The beauty of Guilin scenery has been consistently eulogized and painted for centuries, but not all photographers are aware of the difficulty of taking photographs of it. As a center for tourism, Guilin’s sights are well documented. However little information is available for photographers. Check out Guilin Photography Tips: Where and When to Photograph Guilin.

Gulin Visa-Free Travel

Guilin is a popular destination for natural landscapes. Now it's 72-hour (3-day) visa-free transit for 51 countries, and 144-hour (6-day) visa-free for 10 ASEAN countries. You can stay here for a short visit before heading to a third destination. Read more about Guilin visa-free travel to get some ideas for visa-free travel in Guilin.


Guilin was named after the fragrance of the osmanthus tree (Gui means osmanthus and lin means forest). Its earliest recorded inhabitants lived in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). Guilin prospered and flourished during the Tang (618–907), Song (960–1279), Ming (1368–1644), and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties under patronage from successive emperors. It is currently home to 12 ethnic minorities.

Most Popular Guilin Tours