Home China Guide Guilin Tips & Articles Guilin Visa Free Travel — Make the Most of It!

Guilin Visa Free Travel — Make the Most of It!

the li riverThe Li River

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 on to get some ideas for visa-free travel in Guilin.

Guilin 3-Day Visa-Free for 51 Countries

Following Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Dalian, Shenyang, and Xi'an, Guilin is the next 3-day (72-hour) visa-free city. Travelers from 51 countries with an onward flight from Guilin to the third country/region are able to benefit from this policy. At the end of this article are the requirements for and FAQs about the Guilin 72-hour visa-free policy.

About Guilin's 72-Hour Visa-Free Policy


  • You must be a citizen of one of the 51 countries included in the 72-Hour-Transit Visa Exemption Program.
  • You must have valid international travel documents and air tickets for an onward international flight, with confirmed flight dates and seats, for a third country (or separately administered China region i.e. Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan).
  • You must enter and leave "China" at Guilin Liangjiang Airport within 72 hours (from 00:00 the day after you arrive).
  • You may not leave the administrative area of Guilin Prefecture during your stay.

51 countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

See Visa-Free Travel in China for more on the requirements and other cities you can visit visa-free.

Things You Should Be Aware Of

  • You should be accompanied by a tour guide arranged by a permitted Guilin travel agent, and stay only in 18 hotels (see below) in Guilin.
  • There is a 72-Hour Visa-free Transit Access Aisle at the airport.
  • Your travel activities are not limited to tourism. You can learn, travel, do business, and even earn money during your stay (no illegal activities).

Hotels You May Stay In:

Sheraton Guilin Hotel Gold Dragon Ball Hotel
Royal Garden Hotel Green Lotus Hotel
Lijiang Waterfall Hotel Longsheng Hot Spring Resort
Guilin Grand Link Hotel Yangshuo Tangrenjie Hotel
Guilin Bravo Hotel Guifu Hotel Yangshuo
Guilin Park Hotel New Century Hotel
Guilin Plaza Hotel Shengyuan Hotel
Ronghu Hotel Gongcheng Qianjun International Hotel
Guilin Jin-Tone Hotel Xing’an Dihao Hotel

Guilin 6-Day Visa-Free for 10 ASEAN Countries


Guilin now offers 6-day (144-hour) visa-free transit to ten ASEAN countries. Passports holders from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Singapore, Brunei, and the Philippines can enjoy the new visa-free transit policy.

About Guilin's 144-Hour Visa-Free Policy


  • Time: The 144 hours (6 days) starts from 24:00 on the day of arrival.
  • Nationality: ASEAN passport holders
  • Groups: at least 2 people; single-person transit doesn't apply
  • Airport: Arrive and depart at Guilin Liangjiang Airport.
  • Transit: Travelers must transit between Guilin and a third "international" destination (Hong Kong is okay). No return flights allowed.
  • Travel Agency: Groups must be received by a travel service designated by the Guilin Tourism Administration (e.g. China Highlights).
  • Area: Travelers may not cross the Guilin Prefecture border.
guilin liangjiang airport Guilin Liangjiang Airport

Guilin's Main "International" Destinations

Kuala Lumpur International Airport (Malaysia)

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (Thailand)

Singapore Changi Airport (Singapore)

Seoul-Incheon International Airport (Korea)

Osaka Kansai International Airport (Japan)

Hong Kong International Airport (Hong Kong)

Taipei-Taoyuan International Airport (Taiwan)

Kaohsiung International Airport (Taiwan)

Why Come to Guilin for 3 (or 6) Days

Guilin's top attractions are all accessible with this policy: the Li River, Two Rivers and Four Lakes, Crown Cave, Gudong Waterfall, Yangshuo, the Longji Terrace Fields, Merryland, etc. Just don't go outside Guilin Prefecture to e.g. the Sanjiang Dong Minority area (in Liuzhou Prefecture).

1-Day Tour Recommendations

Elephant hillElephant Hill Park

1. Guilin City

Guilin city has so many things to see in the daytime, but also at night. Many parks in the city area offer great natural scenery throughout the year, such as Elephant Hill Park.

Climbing to Solitary Beauty Peak, you can have a bird's eye view of Guilin city. It is physically challenging, and takes about 40 minutes.

It is much quieter at night. The night views of Guilin city are breathtaking. Decorated by colorful lights, the lakes look more fantastic. Strolling by the lakes and taking a Two Rivers Four Lakes cruise are good ideas. The cruise is about 1 hour.

At night, shopping on Zhengyang Pedestrian Street for some souvenirs and enjoying a cup of coffee in a cafe by the Li River are also poetic.

2. Ancient Towns Nearby

Huangyao Huangyao Ancient Town

There are many ancient towns in the suburbs of Guilin, among which Daxu Ancient Town and Huangyao Ancient Town are the most popular ones.

Daxu Ancient Town is about 1 hour’s drive from the city center. It remains old in appearance and quiet. The buildings in the town are old-fashioned with gray roofs and white walls. Situated on the bank of the river, the natural scenery there is also excellent. You can visit the local residents’ houses to see their antique decorations.

Huangyao Ancient Town is a little different from Daxu Ancient Town. It has a history of more than 1,000 years. The yellow-bricks and gray-tiled houses, located between the river and trees in the town, look classic. It is the set of the famous film The Painted Veil.

3. Yangshuo

yangshuo countryside Ride a bike in the countryside of Yangshuo.

It is a good idea to have a one-day trip to Yangshuo. Get up early in the morning and have a 1½ hour’s drive from the city center. alternatively cruising the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo is a top thing to do.

At about 2pm, you can have a ride in the countryside of Yangshuo or go bamboo rafting on the Yulong River. Along the biking route, you can see the Yulong River and miriads of mountains. It is popular with most tourists. The countryside turns into different colors depending on the season. Capture the beautiful countryside scenery in your camera! Bamboo rafting is a great outdoor activity in summer, and it takes about 3 hours.

Different from Guilin city, the downtown of Yangshuo becomes busy at night, especially West Street. You can stroll around the street and buy some special souvenirs, or find a quiet cafe to have a cup of coffee.

The night performance on the Li River is stunning! Decorated by the colorful lights, the performers wearing ethnic costumes deliver you a magnificent night performance on the Li River in front of the mountains. The Impression of Liu Sanjie tells a traditional Zhuang ethnic story. This performance has received high praise from tourists.

longji Longji Terraced Fields

4. Longji

Located about 1½ hours’ drive from Guilin city, is one of the must-visit places in Guilin. Hiking at Longji Terraced Fields in different seasons, you can see different colors. You can not only appreciate the stunning natural scenery, but also visit the ancient houses with a history of more than a hundred years.

China Highlights can take you to experience local food in a local farmer’s house. And you can have a unique experience of plowing in the fields. It is a good way to experience traditional local life.

2-Day Tour Recommendations

1. One Day in Guilin City and One Day in Yangshuo

Most tourists chose to stay in Guilin City for one day and spend the rest of the time in Yangshuo. It is more relaxing than having a hike in Longji Terraced Fields.

2. One Day in the Guilin City and One Day Hiking in Longji

For tourists who want to relax but also adventure, it is suitable to plan a one day tour in Guilin City with a one day hiking tour at Longji Terraced Fields.

3-Day Tour Recommendations

wind and rain bridgeWind and rain bridge in Sanjiang Dong minority village

1. One Day in Guilin City, One Day in Yangshuo, and One Day in Longji

If you have enough time in Guillin, you can explore the three most attractive places in three days.

2. One Day in Huangyao or Daxu Ancient Town, One Day in Yangshuo, and One Day in Longji

3. One Day in Yangshuo or Longji, and Two Days in Sanjiang Dong Minority Village

Tour Guilin with China Highlights

If you are interested in staying in Guilin for a visa-free tour, please see our most popular Guilin tours below for inspiration:

Or contact us to design a tour according to your requirements. We will pick you up at Guilin Liangjiang Airport and drive you to your hotel.

FAQs about 72-Hour Visa-Free

guilin visa-free stampGuilin 72-hour visa-free stamp

1. How does it work? Do I need to submit an application to the Embassy?

  • You don’t have to submit an application. When you arrive at Guilin Liangjiang Airport, Immigration Department staff will direct you to the visa-free access check point, check your passport and onward flight tickets (and hotel and tour bookings) to make sure that you meet the requirements of the policy. After that, your passport will get a Guilin 72-hour visa-free permit stamp showing the date you arrive in Guilin and when you must leave by.

2. Does a travel agent apply for the visa-free access, or do I have to do so personally?

  • You have to do this personally and the procedure is very easy (see question 1). But you should obtain documentary evidence of an itinerary from a permitted Guilin travel agent, including which hotel(s) you will use and where are you going, in case the Immigration Department ask for that.

3. What travel agent can I travel with? Does it have to be a Chinese one, or can we book with e.g. Thomson?

  • The Guilin 72-hour visa-free policy only permits travel with certain Guilin travel agents. China Highlights is one of them. China Highlights has been specializing in tailor-making China tours for over fifteen years.

4. Is the 72-hour limit in the "72-Hour Transit Visa Exemption" calculated starting from the flight arrival time in Guilin?

  • No. The 72-hour limit is calculated starting from 00:00 the day after arrival. For example, if a traveler arrives at Guilin Liangjiang Airport on August 1, 2014, the visa exemption period is calculated starting from 00:00 on August 2, 2014. The traveler must leave Guiiln Liangjiang Airport before 23:59 on August 4, 2014 on an international flight.

5. Can I leave Guilin for another city in China which is also 72-hour visa-free during the 72-hour-transit visa exemption period?

  • No, the range of travel during the visa exemption is limited to the administrative area of Guilin Prefecture. This includes Yangshuo and Longsheng counties, but not any other China cities, or anywhere over the prefecture border.

6. What should I do if I cannot leave China within the 72 hours due to some unforeseeable circumstance?

  • In case of a special need to stay in Guilin Prefecture longer than 72 hours, due to force majeure, or some other reason for exceeding the permitted scope of stay, a passenger should apply for the relevant visa to the Exit-Entry Administration Department of the Municipal Public Security Bureau of Guilin (桂林市公安局出入境管理部门 Guilin Shi Gong'an Ju Chu-Ru Jing Guanli Bumen).

7. If I buy something taxable in Guilin, do I still need to pay goods taxes at the customs check?

  • Yes. The visa-free policy is not a tax-free policy. Travelers still have to pay customs taxes for goods.