Guilin is a world-renowned tourist destination, boasting stunning karst landscapes, colorful ethnic culture and rich traditional activities. It is worth staying 2–3 days.
Below is a guide to help you make the most of your time in Guilin if you can only stay for one day.
The Most Popular Attractions & Recommended Tours
If you are going to a city as a tourist for the first time, you will want to see the attractions which capture the essence of the city. Guilin's key features are its karst hills and caves, the Li River and countryside in Yangshuo, and the terraced fields in Longji. Be sure you include some of these in your itinerary.
The following three itineraries are the most popular. You can of course adjust them according to your personal interests.
One Day Li River Cruise to Yangshuo
When it comes to Guilin, many people think of the Li River and Yangshuo, which are typically highlights in any Guilin tour.
A Li River cruise to Yangshuo is recommended. The cruise arrives in Yangshuo at around 2pm and then you can spend several hours exploring the countryside around Yangshuo by bike or electric open-air mini bus.
Full Day Tour to Longji Rice Terraces & Mountain Village
If you are interested in minority culture, you should pay a visit to the Yao and Zhuang people in Longsheng, about 2 hours' drive from Guilin. As well as seeing the beautiful terraced fields, you will learn a bit about the traditional lifestyle of Chinese minorities.
You can try out bamboo-tube rice, learn embroidery from Yao women and hair-care from Zhuang people.
Full Day Tour to Visit the Highlights of Downtown Guilin
If you don't want to spend too much time driving, you can visit karst caves and hills in downtown Guilin. The most famous attractions are Reed Flute Cave, Seven Star Park, Fubo Hill and Elephant Trunk Hill. The suggested visiting time at each attraction is one or two hours.
- Reed Flute Cave: This is a natural cave filled with stalactites, stalagmites, and rock formations in weird and wonderful shapes. Illuminated by colored lights, the cave looks like a dazzling underground palace.
- Seven Star Park: This is the largest park in Guilin, where you will see elegant mountains, karst caves, a miraculous stone forest, and many plants and animals. (There is a little zoo in the park.)
- 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.
If Traveling with Children
If you are traveling with children, you could consider adding some other interesting activities into your itinerary.
Yangshuo has a variety of traditional Chinese classes, such as a Chinese calligraphy and painting class, a Chinese taichi class, or a Chinese cookery class. Or you can try some local farming activities in a nearby village, such as planting vegetables or plowing a field.
Click to see Top 10 Family Activities in Guilin.
Night Activities to Enrich Your Trip
- Take a stroll around the Two Rivers and Four Lakes, a park-like scenic area. If interested, you can take a night cruise.
- Shop at Zhengyang Pedestrian Street, a shopping hub in downtown Guilin.
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.
China Highlights Can Help Optimize Your Stay in Guilin
China Highlights is 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:
- 3-Day Essence of Guilin Tour: most classic Li River & Yangshuo Tour
- 4-Day Guilin Scenery and Minority Culture Discovery Tour
- 7- Day Guilin, Longsheng & Yangshuo Relaxation Tour
The above are sample tours. They can be modified according to your interests and preferences. We'd be happy to help create a tour just for you.