Guilin is a relatively small city, and many of the shopping places are located along Zhongshan Road (中山路), a major road, and in the city center of Guilin.
Besides some big department stores, there are also some interesting small markets and pedestrian streets.
city famous for its beautiful landscape, Guilin is also famous for landscape paintings.
Guangxi Normal University Art Shop
This art shop is an extravaganza of masterpieces collected over a long period of time; some of the paintings are centuries old.
As the name implies, it is inside Guangxi Normal University, near the Solitary Beauty Peak. The three exhibition halls have paintings of masters from different periods and different painting schools, as well as many fine paintings by the university students.
The small town of Fuli close to Yangshuo, by the Li River, is famous for hand-painted paper fans. The majority of locals are involved in this ancient craft.
The fans are beautiful and excellent quality, decorated with painted Guilin landscapes, flowers, birds, insects, and traditional Chinese girls. They range from small hand-held fans for everyday use to large ones, that make very good wall decorations.
They can be bought everywhere in Yangshuo and Guilin. Bill Clinton, former President of the United States, visited Fuli in 1998 and made it famous, calling their paper fans "natural air-conditioners".
Food and Drink
Sanhua Liquor, Fermented Bean Curd and Chili Sauce are Guilin's ‘three treasures’ and some of the top choices to buy.
Osmanthus tea and sugar are among the many products made from Guilin's fragrant osmanthus flowers (桂花 guihua /gway-hwaa/), because the name Guilin (桂林) literally means "Forest of Osmanthus".
Luohanguo (罗汉果 /lwor-han-gwor/), is a dried brown fruit, the size of a small orange. It has long been used as a natural sweetener in China due to its lack of calories. It is also used in traditional Chinese medicine, often to make tea which can relieve a sore throat and chronic coughing.
All of these items can be found in large supermarkets or local specialty stores.
Best Places to Shop in Guilin
Always remember to bargain unless shopping at department stores.
The Walking Street — Zhengyang Pedestrian Street
Zhengyang Pedestrian Street next to the central square in the city has some small boutiques selling ethnic crafts and clothes. There are also many restaurants and a bustling ‘Beautiful Food Street’.
Night Market — Xicheng Pedestrian Street
At nightfall, long rows of red tents appear along Xichenglu Pedestrian Street (西城路步行街), filled with various kinds of handicrafts, local specialties, trinkets, and snacks.
It is a good place to have a leisurely stroll and maybe pick up some souvenirs and enjoy the experience of haggling with the locals.
Souvenirs for sale:
- Handicrafts (e.g. embroidery, brocade, furnishings)
- Local products (e.g. flutes, snacks, pickles)
- Porcelain and ceramics (e.g. tableware, smoking pipes)
- Chinese seals, paintings, calligraphy
- Accessories (e.g. scarves, jade, pearls, trinkets)
- …And much more!
- Tips: Beware of pickpockets, and remember to bargain, no matter what the stall owner asks.
- Opening hours: 7:30–11:00pm daily
- Nearby sights: Banyan Lake and Cedar Lake, Sun and Moon Towers
Underground Market — "Little Hong Kong"
"Little Hong Kong" is an underground market below the central square. It is a maze of alleys with stalls selling relatively low-quality clothes, bags, shoes, and trinkets at equally low prices.
Wholesale Market — Wa Yao Wholesale Market
Wa Yao Wholesale Market is the largest wholesale and retail market of arts and handicrafts in Southwest China. Almost anything can be found there, from clothing, house wares, and stationery to antiques, souvenirs, and crafts. If you are looking for quality brands, this is not the place to go.
Bagui Building opposite the central square is very popular among local girls, as the clothes and bags are reasonably priced.
Up-Market Department Stores
Guilin Department Store, Dream Island Department Store and Niko Niko Do along the Zhongshan Road have good quality clothes, shoes, and bags. They all have food markets on the underground floors. At Niko Niko Do, there is a small section selling imported foods, such as candy, chocolate, and cheese.
Shopping with China Highlights in Guilin
Our Guilin tours have no forced shopping. The shops that are in the itineraries represent some of the best places to buy souvenirs in Guilin, but you are welcome to customize your tour to your requirements.
Evenings are typically left free, but we are here to help when it comes to finding your way to the shops you want to go to. Your guide can also help with bargaining!
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.