Home Guilin How to Spend 3 Days in Guilin: Itinerary Tips

How to Spend 3 Days in Guilin: Itinerary Tips

The bird's view of the Li RiverThe bird's view of the Li River

Planning to spend 3 days in Guilin, but aren’t sure what to do? Here's a popular and workable plan to see the highlights of Guilin’s countryside and city in only three days, with supporting recommendations.

Things to Know Beforehand

Guilin sightseeing can be divided into three areas: Guilin urban area, Yangshuo, and the Longji Terraced Fields.

Our recommended visiting sequence is the Longji Terraced Fields — Yangshuo — Guilin urban area.

Here are the reasons:

  • It is easier to do some hiking on the rice terraces on your first day when you are full of energy and curiosity.
  • After one day of energy-consuming activity, heading to Yangshuo provides a great place to slow your pace and enjoy some leisure time.
  • Sightseeing in Guilin city, closest to the airport/stations, is easiest to tailor to your departure flight/train time, and so makes a good last day.
The Longji Rice FieldsThe Longji Terraced Fields

Day One — the Longji Terraced Fields

Be prepared for a long drive, about 2½ hours. However, you will be rewarded with the stunning scenery of the Longji Terraced Fields.

Tips for Choosing an Area of Longji to Visit

The scenic area of Longji Rice Terraces mainly consists of three smaller areas: Ping'an Zhuang Village, Jinkeng-Dazhai Village, and Longji Ancient Zhuang Village. Each of them has its own features.

Longji Terraced Fields

You can choose one area to visit and stay for one night, or enjoy a hike from one village to another. Two popular hiking routes are:

The Longji Terraced FieldsThe Longji Terraced Fields
  • Ping'an to Longji Ancient Zhuang Village: about 2 hours
  • Dazhai to Ping'an: 4-5 hours.

For more detail see our Longji Terraced Fields hiking guide.

Highlights

  • See the swirling patterns of contoured terraces.
  • Hike between the fields from village-to-village. Appreciate more of the the grand scenery and the traditional wooden minority houses, and pass a folk museum.
  • Visit ancient Zhuang and Yao minority villages, featuring stilted buildings.
  • If you arrive in April, you may have a chance to attend the Red Yao Red Clothes Festival at Huangluo Yao Minority Village.

Recommended Local Food

Longji Rice TerracesTwo clients are learning to make bamboo tube rice.
  • Bamboo tube rice (rice cooked in a bamboo tube)
  • Oil tea (tea leaves fried in peanut oil and cooked into a broth)

They are easily found, as they’re served in all the local restaurants.

Recommended Hotels

  • Li An Lodge
  • Ping'an Hotel
  • Longji Panorama House Hotel

Day Two — the Li River and Yangshuo

This day includes a 4-hour cruise on the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo, and a half-day tour of Yangshuo.

The Yulong River in YangshuoThe Yulong River in Yangshuo

Highlights

  • A Li River cruise — Relax as you glide through the picturesque natural river scenery of lush limestone peaks.
  • Cycling in the Countryside of Yangshuo — Enjoy the fresh air and rural scenes.
  • Impression Liu Sanjie — This must-see night performance on the Li River tells a traditional Zhuang minority story.
  • West Street — This is the best place to unwind, with various bars/clubs and quiet cafés.

Options for Activities in Yangshuo

  • Rock climbing (from beginners/kids fun to mixing with the world’s best)
  • Learn Chinese cooking the local way!
  • Learn tai chi where its normal for foreigners to join in.

The Famous Local Dish and Recommended Restaurants

Yangshuo West StreetYangshuo West Street

The most famous local dish is beer fish (a local fish fried in local beer). It is served in many many restaurants. Cloud 9 Restaurant is a great option.

Many Western restaurants in and around West Street are highly recommended, such as The Brew, Rosewood Café, Mood Food Energy Café, Lucy's Cafe & Bar, or Ganga Impression for Indian.

Recommended Hotels

  • 5-star: Alila Yangshuo
  • 4-star: Yangshuo Mountain Retreat
  • Boutique: Yangshuo Ancient Garden Boutique Hotel

Day Three — Guilin City

Don't bother with Guilin? Go straight to Yangshuo? Many do, but Guilin has many things to see that are unique and spectacular.

Guilin Elephant HillElephant Trunk Hill

Highlights

  • Elephant Trunk Hill — the most iconic limestone hill in Guilin city, shaped like a 55-meter-tall elephant drinking from the Li River
  • Reed Flute Cave — an outstanding karst cave containing a large number of stalactites and ‘mites that will extend your imagination with their imaginative names and interesting stories.
  • Daxu Ancient Town — Get an insight into Guilin's history and culture by visiting the old buildings. It is also a paradise for strawberry picking in spring.
  • Zhengyang Pedestrian Street — a good place for buying souvenirs and passing an evening.
  • Take a stroll or a cruise around the Two Rivers and Four Lakes, located in the heart of the city.

Authentically Guilinese Activities

  • Learning Chinese, calligraphy, painting, and paper cutting
  • Learn to play traditional instruments
  • Picking, making, and drinking tea at Guilin's Tea Plantation

The Famous Local Food and Recommended Restaurants

Guilin rice noodlesGuilin rice noodles

Rice noodles is the most popular food for Guilin people, especially for breakfast. Chongshan Rice Noodles (崇善米粉) is one of the most recommended restaurants.

Many kinds of restaurants can be found in the city. McFound is a popular Chinese restaurant chain that also serves some Western dishes — now #2 on TA after the Kali Mirch Indian [April 2018].

Recommended Hotels

  • 5-star: Guilin Shangri-La Hotel; the Sheraton
  • 4-star: Lijiang Waterfall Hotel
  • Boutique: Guilin Royal Palace

Explore Guilin with a Local Specialist!

Guilin tour

Based in Guilin since 1998, we at China Highlights are your specialists for tailor-made Guilin and China tours.

Our Guilin tours are designed based on well over a decade of experience and feedback with the best attractions, restaurants, and hotels, and are fully customizable to your requirements.

We can tailor-make an exclusive tour of Guilin and anywhere else in China you would like to go.

Here are our most popular Guilin tour ideas for your reference: