Weather: Guilin's cold and misty damp winter begins in December. Though the temperature is not very low, averaging 11 °C (52 °F), it feels cold with the dampness. The average low and high temperatures are respectively 7 °C (45 °F) and 15 °C (59 °F).
December is the driest month. It typically rains on nine days of the month, but it does not typically snow in Guilin in December except on the high mountains, like in Longsheng. The average rainfall is 43 mm (1.6 inches).
Clothing: Prepare thick jackets, sweaters and thick jeans or thermal underwear. Locals tend to bring out their long johns and thermal underwear because there is generally no heating provided in buildings (apart from those equipped with air conditioners) nor in the houses and apartments.
Due to the low rainfall, Li River cruises are necessarily shortened, and it isn't the best month for a cruise although they are still available.
Snow in Guilin? When the Li River is low, would you want to venture to go see the snow in the mountains? Longsheng is the mostly likely place for snow.
Yao Mountain, 7 kilometers (11 miles) north of Guilin, might have snow too, or just enjoy the scenery and the rides. There is a cable car ride to the top. But you can hike up too. After climbing to the top of the mountain, about half way down, there is a fast cart ride on its own track like a toboggan on wheels. It could be fun, but be careful.
The favorite backpackers' destination abounds with opportunities for recreation. You can expect economical rooms and Chinese restaurants and see lots of visitors from everywhere from Israel to South America. It is one of China's major scenic attractions, and it attracts young people looking to have fun.
People can go river rafting even in the winter (don't fall in), bike, walk around in the country, and visit the area's caves. There are also big new starred hotels. Shop for souvenirs on the West Street pedestrian shopping lane.
The biggest Christmas event in Guilin is the Christmas Eve Performance Night at the church on Zhongshan Middle Road, where for three hours songs, dances, and skits are perfomed on stage by local Christians. The church is always packed to bursting then, so get there well before 7pm to get a seat.
The decorations, mostly in large shops and restaurants, are less grand than in bigger cities, and may linger until replaced by the more lavish Chinese New Year displays. Christmas music is played there — almost always the same three Chinese songs (see below), though some English carols may be broadcast. Almost nowhere else is decorated, so Christmas can feel rather dreary and forgotten to a Westerner walking the streets.
Christmas meals recognizable by Westerners are only available in the largest Western chain hotels, i.e. the Shangri-La and Sheraton, and Western-run restaurants in Yangshuo. Other restaurants and hotels put on events on Christmas Eve, with raffles and staff dressed up, mainly for children.
More on Christmas in China>>>
December is in Guilin's winter low tourist season. Guilin and Yangshuo are less crowded, and it is cheaper to travel. Less people take a river cruise, and hotel prices generally moderate. We can help you book hotel rooms, flight tickets and train tickets, and we'll help you get them at a discount if you want.
China Highlights has a variety of Guilin package tours for biking, rafting, seeing caves, shopping, or sightseeing in Guilin. We can tailor your tour to suit your needs since we know the area well. We have decades of experience conducting both individual and group tours in the region. See also how to plan a day in Guilin>>