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Guilin Visa-Free Travel — How to 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.

What Are the Conditions?

  • 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.

Which Countries Are Covered in the Policy?

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The nationals of the following countries are eligible for the visa exemption program:

Americans (of 6 countries): the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and the Republic of Chile

European citizens (of 37 countries): Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Albania

Oceanians (of 2 countries): Australia and New Zealand

Asians (of 6 countries): South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar

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

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?

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  • 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.

Guilin: 6-Day Visa-Free for 10 ASEAN Countries

passport

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.

Limitations about the 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)

How to Spend Your 3 (or 6) Days in Guilin

the Longji Rice TerracesLongji Rice Terraces

Guilin's top attractions are all accessible with this policy: the Li River, Yangshuo, the Longji Terrace Fields, etc. Just don't go outside Guilin Prefecture to e.g. the Sanjiang Dong Minority area (in Liuzhou Prefecture).

The Must See Three

  • The Li River: Flanked by green karst hills, the Li River is one of the most beautiful rivers in the world. Taking a cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo is a must-do activity for most travelers.
  • Yangshuo, about 1½ hour’s drive from Guilin, is a place to enjoy picturesque countryside scenery. Having a ride in the countryside and going bamboo rafting on the Yulong River are great ways to relax in rural beauty.
  • Longji Rice Terraces, about 1½ hours’ drive from Guilin city, is one of the must-visit places in Guilin. Appreciate the stunning cultivated scenery, and visit ancient Zhuang and Yao minority villages to experience traditional local life.

In Guilin's Downtown

Elephant hillElephant Hill Park

If your time is not enough to journey outside Guilin City, you can visit the famous downtown attractions, such as:

  • Elephant Trunk Hill: Known as the symbol of Guilin, it is a karst hill beside the Li River. It offers easy walking and good photo opportunities.
  • Reed Flute Cave: This is the largest and most magnificent karst cave in Guilin. You will be awed by its fascinating natural sculptures.
  • Fubo Hill: The cave underneath is impressive with its old carvings and its Buddhist temple. Another claim to fame is that the top of the hill can give a great bird’s eye view of the city.

If you are a lover of history and antiquities, you can visit:

  • Daxu Ancient Town: About 1 hour’s drive from the city center, the town remains old in appearance and quiet. You can see the old-fashioned buildings with gray roofs and white walls, and visit the local residents’ houses to see their antique decorations.
  • Xingping Ancient Town: About 25 kilometers (15 miles) from Yangshuo, this town is famous for its well-preserved historical architecture, top hill scenery on the Li River, and its fishing village culture.

Night Activities That Will Enrich Your Trip

In Guilin Downtown

The lakes in the city center decorated by colorful lights look fantastic. Strolling by the lakes and taking a Two Rivers Four Lakes cruise are good ideas. The cruise is about 1 hour.

Shopping on Zhengyang Pedestrian Street for some souvenirs and enjoying a cup of coffee in a cafe by the Li River are also popular.

In Yangshuo

Impression Liu SanjieImpression Liu Sanjie

The tourist zone of Yangshuo is busy at night, especially West Street. You can stroll around the buzzing streets and buy some special souvenirs, or find a quiet cafe to have a cup of coffee.

The night performance — Impression Liu Sanjie — is stunning! The performers wearing ethnic costumes deliver you a magnificent mountain-backdrop musical on the Li River. It tells a traditional Zhuang ethnic story. This performance has received high praise from tourists.

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.

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

For tourists who want to relax but also adventure, a day tour in Guilin City with a 1-day hiking tour at Longji Terraced Fields fits the bill.

3-Day Tour Recommendations

yangshuo countryside Ride a bike in the countryside of Yangshuo.
  • Option one: 1 day in Guilin City, 1 day in Yangshuo, and 1 day in Longji
  • Option two: 1 day in Daxu Ancient Town, 1 day in Yangshuo, and 1 day in Longji

A 6-Day Tour Recommendation

Day 1: Daxu Old Town and Guilin highlights
Day 2: Guilin to Longji, with overnight stay in a traditional hillside village
Day 3: Walking among rice terraces; Longji to Guilin
Day 4: Li River cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo
Day 5: Yangshuo countryside tour
Day 6: Local cookery experience; Guilin departure

See a detailed tour itinerary on: Guilin, Longsheng & Yangshuo Relaxation Tour

China Highlights Can Help to Maximize Your Stay in Guilin

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.