Guilin's key features are its karst hills and caves, the Li River and countryside in Yangshuo, and the terraced fields in Longsheng. It is worth staying here for at least 2 to 3 days.
However, if you only have limited time and are wondering how to experience Guilin in an efficient way, this article will help you decide what to do.
The following three Guilin day tour options are the most popular. We can help you make the most of your time by providing you with a private guide and car.
1. A Li River Cruise and Yangshuo Countryside Day Tour
- Features: karst landscapes, rural scenery, relaxing touring
- Highlights: Li River cruise, Yangshuo countryside exploration
- Duration: about 8 hours (4–5 hours on the cruise, 1½ hours for biking, 1½ hours of driving)
When it comes to Guilin, many people think of the Li River and Yangshuo, which are typically highlights in any Guilin tour.
There are two different ways to visit the world-famous Li River. One is to take a boat cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo for half a day.
The other is to take a bamboo raft from Xingping/Yangdi to Nine Horses Fresco Hill and then return via the same route. It is the best part of the Li River and the trip takes about 1 hour.
The Li River cruise to Yangshuo is recommended. The cruise usually departs from Zhujiang Wharf (20 miles southeast of downtown Guilin) at about 9am and arrives in Yangshuo at about 2pm. You can then spend several hours exploring the countryside around Yangshuo by bike or electric scooter. See more about Yangshuo countryside tours.
On our private tour with your private guide and driver, you can get an efficient Guilin day tour without worrying about how to use the complicated public transportation. Your guide will take care of everything for you, from buying the cruise tickets to renting the bikes.
2. A Day Trip to the Longji Rice Terraces
- Features: rice terraces, minority culture, authentic experiences
- Highlights: hike among the rice terraces, make and taste bamboo-tube rice, visit a local’s home
- Duration: about 8 hours (including 2 hours for hiking and 4 hours of driving)
If you are interested in seeing the rice terraces and experiencing the minority culture, you should take a day trip to Longji, which is about 2 hours' drive from Guilin.
The most famous villages to admire in the terraced fields are Ping’an Village, Dazhai, and Longji Ancient Zhuang Village. You can enjoy hiking from one village to another.
The best times to see them are from mid-April to mid-June and from September to early October.
Our private Longji Rice Terraces day tour can enrich your experience. Beyond leading you to see and photograph the beautiful terraced fields at the best spots, your guide can also take you to enjoy a visit to a local's home, to discover the culture and customs of the Zhuang and Yao people, and to learn how to make and taste bamboo-tube rice.
We can arrange both a group bus tour and a private tour with English-speaking tour guides. This day tour saves plenty of time and you'll get a complete explanation from your professional tour guide. See more on How Long to Spend in Guilin.
3. A One Day Guilin City Tour
- Features: classic karst scenery / authentic ancient villages
- Highlights: Guilin’s top cave and most famous city hills, nearby ancient villages, downtown scenery and shopping
- Duration: 8+ hours (including 2 hours walking, 2+ hours of driving, and evening activities)
If you don't want to spend too much time on the road, you can visit a karst cave and hills in downtown Guilin. The most famous attractions are:
- Reed Flute Cave: This is a natural cave filled with stalactites, stalagmites, and rock formations in weird and wonderful shapes.
- Fubo Hill: The top of the hill is a great spot for a view over Guilin. The cave underneath is impressive, with its old carvings and Buddhist temple.
- Elephant Trunk Hill: This is a hill shaped like an elephant, which looks like it’s drinking water from the Li River. It is a landmark of Guilin.
The suggested visiting time at each attraction is one or two hours.
Nearby ancient villages, such as Daxu and Xiong Village, are worthy of a visit if you want to discover the traditional Chinese residential lifestyle and culture.
You can also enjoy some nighttime activities to enrich your Guilin day trip.
- Take a stroll around the Two Rivers and Four Lakes, which is a park-like scenic area. If you’re interested, you can take a nighttime cruise there.
- Shop in Zhengyang Pedestrian Street, a shopping hub in downtown Guilin with a traditional feel.
- 5-Day Guilin, Ling Canal, Xingping and Yangshuo Tour
- 5-Day Dynamic Guilin and Yangshuo Tour - Summer Fun
A Longer Tour Is Highly Recommended
A longer tour of Guilin can consist of a series of day tours, returning each night to the same hotel. If you have several days, you could spread out the key attractions over a number of day tours (including both nature and culture, with time to relax and kids' activities), adding more balance to your Guilin trip.
It would also be enjoyable to spend a night in Yangshuo or Longsheng, both of which are filled with local culture.
Click to see How to Plan a Guilin Tour.
We Can Help Optimize Your Stay in Guilin
We, at China Highlights, are based in Guilin, and we know the tourist scene here better than anyone else. We have designed a dozen Guilin tours to help our customers take advantage of their stay in Guilin.
Here are some sample tours for your reference:
- our classic 3 Days Li River and Yangshuo tour
- 4 Days Guilin Scenery and Minority Culture Discovery.
- See more Guilin tour itineraries
The above itineraries can be modified according to your interests and preferences. We'd be happy to help create a tour just for you.
What's a Tour With us Like?
A family of four that moved from US to China just released a video about their time in Guilin with us in October, 2021. Contact us to send a free inquiry.