If money was no object you could really go to town on your transport and eating options, and see Guilin's top attractions in style.
(This itinerary is for consideration only — a “dream tour” — as it has never been previously attempted, and would require a considerable amassing of resources for the transport options, and permissions for the speedboat and helicopter.)
Take breakfast in your Guilin Shangri-La Hotel Horizon Club River View Room, and enjoy the finest breakfast with the finest view money can buy in Guilin. See the morning rays reflecting on the sheer face of Folded Brocade Hill and the interposing Li River. Your transport awaits your sight-seeing convenience below.
For road transport a convertible must be the way forward. You can see the sights unobstructed, feel the atmosphere, and hear clearly what's going on around. And if it rains, or you've had enough sunshine, just ask for the roof to go up, and enjoy the air-con.
The most expensive convertible is the Rolls Royce Drophead Coupé. It can seat chauffeur, guide and two customers. However, you might prefer a Porsche or Ferrari.
Iconic Elephant Hill is the symbol of Guilin encapsulating river and rock in its trunk-like arch. Your speedboat will take you across the river to stand under the "elephant's trunk". After this not-to-be-missed photo opportunity, you can start your voyage down the Li to Yangshuo.
We recommend at least the 44-foot model in Porsche's Fearless range for style and room for pilot and guide. Cruising the Li with your own private speedboat you can go at your own pace, stopping at the classic sights like Nine Horse Fresco and Yellow Cloth Shoal, and speeding past anything that is not of interest.
In Yangshuo your chauffer-driven convertible will pick you up from the water's edge and carry you through Yangshuo's beautiful countryside.
Note on speedboats: The speedboat idea sounds fantastic, but we have used speedboats in the past, and customer feedback has not been good. The buffeting of the wind and skimming motion was found unpleasant, and it was difficult to appreciate the view while travelling at high speed. We now don’t use speedboats also because of recent licensing issues affecting insurance.
Charter a cruise — the best approved, alternative:The cruise boat must start from Zhujiang Pier (you could be chauffer-driven there in 45 minutes) and finish at the designated pier in Yangshuo, taking 4 hours with no stops allowed. On the plus-side, you will have a 60-to-128-seat boat to yourself. We could arrange our own chef aboard to serve you a 5-star steak lunch, or the best-prepared local fare, cooked to your taste.
Take lunch at the Riverbank Restaurant in Yangshuo Resort on the Yulong River (阳朔河畔度假酒店 Yangshuo's première 5-star scenic hotel complex). The highest quality local and Western cuisine in the county can be found here.
Sit in a roomy stylish convertible, with your guide and driver. This is the ultimate way to take in the countryside atmosphere. It gives you the views you get when cycling without the sweat. You can go whatever speed you want. See Moon Hill, karst peaks surrounded by rice paddies, and ancient villages in comfort, while sipping champagne and eating strawberries.
Take your own private tour of colorfully-lit and cavernous Silver Cave to see the underground highlights of Guilin's limestone scenery: fluted stalactites, tranquil pools, and underground waterfalls.
It’s a pity that balloon rides are no longer offered in Yangshuo, but if the sky is the limit price-wise, a Gazelle Scout helicopter ride to see Yangshuo from the air, would be highly recommended.
Take your evening meal at the Garden Restaurant of Green Lotus Hotel, the most expensive 5-star establishment in the town of Yangshuo.
See Impression Liu Sanjie, the legendary tale of "the song fairy", set to lights and music, with a cast of hundreds, and staged on the Li River itself. Enjoy this unique spectacle from the best VIP seats in the riverside viewing area.
In the evening walk West Street with your guide and see the best of the bars and local souvenirs. For nighttime entertainment Yangshuo’s bars have everything from the sophisticated and quiet to the lively and noisy. For an even more peaceful evening, retreat from the busy streets to Yangshuo Resort's Dragonfly Bar for drinks in the moonlight, accompanied by live folk songs.
We recommend staying the night at Yangshuo Resort.
Also read The Pick of Guilin.