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Top 3 Guilin Day Trips

East or west, Guilin scenery is the best. As this old saying goes, Guilin has attracted millions of visitors from all over the world to marvel at its beautiful natural scenery. The green hills, clear water, fantastic caves and spectacular rocks are worthy for you to stay a couple of days and explore the authentic beauty of Guilin. 

However, if you only have limited time and wonder how to experience Guilin in an efficient way, then the article below will help you find your way.

Option One: the Li River Cruise

Fishing man on the Li River at dusk Fishing man on the Li River

The Li River, one of the most famous scenic areas, was listed as one of the world's 15 best rivers for travelers by CNN Travel in 2013. It is the representative one of Guilin karst formations as well as the landmark of Chinese landscape scenery

The 52-miles-long waterway from Guilin to Yangshuo is considered to be the best part for a cruise because of the stunning scenery along the bank. 

There are two different ways to visit the world famous Li River. One is to take the boat cruise from Zhujiang Wharf (20 miles south-east of downtown Guilin) to Yangshuo.  The other way is to take a bamboo raft from Yangdi Village to Xingping Village for two hours, highlighting part of the Li River. When you arrive at Xingping Village, take a public bus to Yangshuo.

Optional Things to Do in Yangshuo

Enjoy cycling across Yangshuo's countrysideCycling across Yangshuo's countryside

When you arrive at Yangshuo, the various attractions there will make your tour more impressive.

West Street: The ancient style architectures along West Street are souvenir shops, restaurants, guest houses and bars. Take a sip of drink or stroll around the shops; it is a good way to relax after the Li River cruise.

Countryside Cycling:Cycling in the countryside is quite a popular activity among Western tourists. It enables tourists to explore the countryside on their bikes freely. There are lots of bike rental places on West Street. If you are not able to ride a bike, then an open-air minibus is an optional choice.

Bamboo Rafting along the Dragon River:Unlike the busy Li River, the bamboo raft carried by paddles along the Dragon River (Yulong River) will take you to the peaceful landscape combined with green bamboo forests and rolling hills. (People who is more than 70 years old or less than 7 years old are not allowed to take bamboo raft.)

Chinese Cookery Class: The cookery class offers an opportunity for tourists who are interested in Chinese cuisine to learn the authentic local dishes.

TaiChi or Painting Class: By learning traditional Chinese taichi or painting, you will get a better understanding of traditional Chinese culture.

Light Show: The light show is performed at the world's largest natural theater - Lijiang Landscape Theater. With over 600 local actors and actresses performing on the Li River at night, the light show is a must-see in Yangshuo.

How to Take the Li River Cruise Tour

the Li River

Travel on Your Own: For the boat cruise you can buy the cruise tickets at most travel agencies and hotels in Guilin (at least one day in advance). There is no public bus from downtown Guilin to Zhujiang Wharf and you are supposed to take a taxi (about 100RMB, 50 minutes' drive) there. 

For the bamboo rafting, there are buses operating from Guilin Bus Station to Yangshuo. Get on the bus from Guilin Bus Station to Yangshuo and get off halfway at Yangdi Village (50 minutes' drive). Then change the minibus from Yangdi Village to Yangdi Wharf (20 minutes' drive). 

Buy the bamboo rafting tickets at Yangdi Wharf and take the bamboo boat down to Xingping Village (two hours' rafting). Finally, take the public bus from Xingping Bus Station to Yangshuo (40 minutes' drive). If you want to return to Guilin during the same day, remember the latest bus from Yangshuo to Guilin is at 23:00.

Travel with China Highlights: By traveling with China Highlights you can get an efficient tour without the complicated public transportation. China Highlights offers private tours with English speaking tour guides. In the morning, our tour guide will pick you up at your hotel and accompany you to the boat cruise or bamboo rafting. After the whole day's visit, the tour guide and driver will escort you back and see you off at your hotel.

Option Two: Guilin City Tour

Elephant Trunk HillElephant Trunk Hill

Guilin is the city with lots of wonderful sights to see. Spend one day visiting the caves, hills, parks and lakes in the downtown area; you will find the true beauty of Guilin.

Elephant Trunk Hill: It is the landmark of Guilin City. The hill got its name because the shape of the hill looks like an elephant sucking up water from the Li River. It has been one of the most attractive wonders in Guilin since ancient times. 

Folded Brocade Hill: It is the highest hill in the downtown area. It is well known for its amazing scenery and historical stone carvings.Climb to the top of the hill you can get a birds-eye view from the Cloud-catching Pavilion.

Reed Flute Cave: In the cave, visitors are able to see a large number of stalactites, stalagmites, stone pillars and rock formations with wonderful shapes created by carbonate deposition. Enhanced by multicolored lights, the cave looks like a fantastic underground palace. Regarded as "Nature's Art Palace", the Reed Flute Cave is a "must-see" sight in Guilin.

Four Lakes Cruise: When sitting on the cruise boat, the colorful lights along the lake's banks will take you to a dazzling world. 

Option Three: the Longji Terraces

the Longji Terracesthe Longji Terraces

Located approximately 50 miles north-west of Guilin City, the Longji Terraces (the Dragon's Backbone) are among the most amazing terraces in China, with splendid and magnificent rice landscapes.

The Longji Terraces form a beautiful and natural picture. The scenery changes from season to season. As well as the spectacular scenery, the Longji Terraces are also the place to experience the ethnic minorities' cultures. 

The Longji Terraces consist of three main villages: Longji Ancient Zhuang Village, Ping'an Zhuang Village and Jinkeng Red Yao Village.Most of the residents there are the Zhuang and Yao nationalities. The women dress in unique and colorful costumes, singing and dancing. Guests can join in with them to enjoy the original culture and lifestyle.

How to Take the Longji Terraces Tour

Travel On Your Own: There are buses going to Longsheng County from Guilin Bus Station every day. It takes two hours. You get off at the Longji Terraced Fields Ticket Counter. Buy the entrance ticket (80 yuan per person) there and change to the shuttle bus traveling to the village you are going to visit. Generally it takes half an hour to reach the parking lot. The latest shuttle bus from the parking lot down to the ticket counter is at 16:30. Don't miss it.

Travel with China Highlights: China Highlights can arrange both a Group Bus Tour and a Private Tour with English speaking tour guides. It saves plenty of time and you'll get a complete explanation from our professional tour guide.