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As one of China's famous tourist cities, you can reach Guilin easily from major cities in China and nearby countries by international airport, and many nationalities could travel there 144 hours visa-free, and there are multiple regular train and bullet train stations.
It is also convenient to reach surrounding attractions from Guilin. A bus, taxi, or private car can take you from Guilin to nearby areas such as Yangshuo and Longsheng. Here is the information you need to get to Guilin and get around.
Flying is the most convenient way to travel to Guilin. It is possible to arrive in Guilin via direct flights from most major cities in China, such as Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Guangzhou, and Chengdu.
Guilin Liangjiang International Airport is 30 kilometers west of the city (about a 40-minute drive). Shuttle buses between the airport and the downtown area are available. If you book a tour with us, your guide and driver will pick you up with a private vehicle at the airport, which is sure to save you some trouble and will make the journey smooth and efficient.
The Guilin Liangjiang Airport has international flights connecting to Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Korea, and Thailand. There is no direct flight between Singapore and Guilin, but it is possible to transfer in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, or Bangkok. The whole journey may take 7 hours (with a transfer in Hong Kong).
Direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Guilin are available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The journey time is 4 hours.
Now you can tour the whole Guilin region visa-free! Nationals of 51 countries are afforded 72-hour (3-day) visa-free transit, and nationals of 10 ASEAN countries can be granted 144-hour (6-day) visa-free stays. So you can visit for a few days before going to a third destination such as to another country or Hong Kong or Macau.
For details, see: Guilin Visa-Free Travel — How to Make the Most of It
There are three railway stations in the city of Guilin. With the addition of nearby Yangshuo Railway Station, which opened in 2016, there are now four train stations you can choose from in the area.
It is popular to book train tickets online for Chinese people. This is a hard job, however, if you can’t read Chinese. Our train ticket booking service can help you.
It is convenient to travel to Guilin from many of China's cities. However, for overseas travelers who are't familiar with rail/road travel in China, arranging transportation in China is time-consuming and laborious (though booking flights is easy enough online). It may also require a lot of searching and reading on the Internet, but our travel experts could help with advice or booking if you contact us.
Since September 23rd, 2018, direct high-speed trains have been taking travelers from Hong Kong to Guilin in 3 hours and 16 minutes.
At present , there are two pairs of direct high-speed trains between Hong Kong and Guilin. A flight from Hong Kong to Guilin will take about 1½ hours.
There are no direct flights or trains between Zhangjiajie and Guilin, so travelers must make a transfer during the journey. The most direct route is to fly or travel by train from Zhangjiajie to Changsha, and then take a bullet train to Guilin.
Alternatively, take an overnight train from Zhangjiajie to Liuzhou (180 km south of Guilin) and then a bullet train to Guilin.
Now with China's bullet train system, you can get to Guilin within a few hours from as far away as Shenzhen and Guiyang. You could do a day trip in a train journey that until a few years ago required a hard overnight trip.
Guiyang West Station (桂林西站 Guìlín Xī Zhàn) to Guilin Station (about 2 hours and 50 minutes, 24 USD second class ticket). See more on the Guiyang-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway.
It is a good option to arrive in Guilin from these nearest large cities.
Guangzhou has a few flights daily to Guilin, which only take an hour and are good for combining with international flights. However, there are no direct flights from Shenzhen (next to Hong Kong) so taking a train is a fast and convenient choice.
There are now two G trains traveling between Kunming and Guilin daily in about 4 hours. The D trains take about 8 hours. A flight from Kunming to Guilin takes about 1 hour 40 minutes.
There are about 12 pairs of bullet trains between Chengdu and Guilin, and one journey may take 6½ to 7½ hours. A flight from Kunming to Guilin will take about 2 hours.
Xi’an is a highly recommended destination for your first trip in China, and many travelers choose Guilin as their next stop after Xi’an. It takes about 2 hours to travel by air and about 11 hours by train, which is not recommended.
For Shanghai Hongqiao Station, there is one G-class train from Guilin Station daily (about 9½ hours, 99 USD second class). A flight takes 3 hours.
For Beijing West Station, there are two G-class trains to/from Guilin Station daily (about 10 or 10½ hours, 121 USD second class). Direct flights take just over 3 hours.
We can assist you with booking tickets — just 3 easy steps (search trains, book tickets, and quick pay), 10,000+ customers/year, 24/7 service, and express delivery.
Yangshuo is about 70 km (40 miles) from downtown Guilin. You can travel by bus, taxi, or use private transport. There are direct buses from the airport or the long-distance bus station. Taking a taxi is a more comfortable option but you may face problems with the language barrier and it costs more money. The peace-of-mind choice is to use private transport provided by a local tour service. The journey may take about 1½ to 2 hours.
Take the direct bus from Guilin Liangjiang International Airport to Yangshuo Bus Station. The coaches depart every 1 or 2 hours from about 7am to 9pm. You can check the schedule and book your ticket at the airport.
Getting to Yangshuo from downtown Guilin is easiest by getting a direct bus from the long-distance bus station 10 minutes’ walk north of the main Guilin Train Station. They leave every ten minutes or so for about 25 RMB (about 4 USD) and get there in 80 or 90 minutes. The Yangshuo long-distance bus station is about 15 minutes north from West Street by golf cart.
Lack of English is the challenge here. Private multi-stop buses are probably not worth your hassle — a locals option.
Taxis from Guilin to Yangshuo cost about 200 yuan, except at night or during public holidays when rates are higher. Chinese language or ingenuity will be needed to get exactly where you want to go.
We provide comfortable transport with a knowledgeable driver who you can speak to in English for no hassles door-to-door Guilin-to-Yangshuo transport.
A Li River cruise is a wonderful option to travel to Yangshuo, as you can travel alongside the picturesque scenery.
For further information, see our one-day Li River cruise to Yangshuo.
Longji Terraced Fields Scenic Area is 95 km (60 miles) from Guilin. There are no public buses from Guilin to the Longji Rice Terraces but it is possible to take a direct private bus from Guilin Railway Station or to take a direct bus to Longsheng Town and then transfer to another bus. However, the long-distance buses require pre-booking and cannot offer a service in English. Going on a private tour with a local tour service is often the best choice for overseas travelers.
The long-distance buses are potentially difficult due to the lack of English, and you need to book the ticket in advance.
Direct private buses to Ping’an/Dazhai run from the Guilin railway stations about every 2 hours (see schedules at the stations). They’re about 2½ hours and 50 yuan.
For more frequent services, you can take the direct bus from Guilin Long Distance Bus Station to Longsheng town and then transfer to another bus to get to the Longji Rice Terraces. It takes about 3 hours.
The most convenient and time-saving way to get there is to take a private tour with a local tour service, like China Highlights.
A private tour with an English-speaking guide, a professional driver and a Private car can help you avoid these difficulties. Contact us if you would like us to make the arrangements for you.
Guilin city buses may be single- or double-decker, and have been upgraded in recent years. A bus journey usually costs 2 yuan and some routes only cost 1 yuan, no matter how long you ride on the bus for.
Most of the bus stops have clear English signs and the broadcasts are also given in English on the buses.
During rush hours, the buses will be overcrowded, even the double-decker ones.
Taxis in Guilin are relatively inexpensive compared with other cities. You may flag one down in just the same way as you would in your own country. But note that most of the taxi drivers cannot speak English.
If you are going to take a taxi on your own, you can inform the hotel staff or your guide about where you are going. Ask them to write down the information for you to show the driver. Alternatively, just let your guide take you around instead.
Some people praise the bike sharing system as a new Chinese invention, which it is. Walking along the streets in Guilin, you will find a number of colorful bikes belonging to the sharing system parked on the side.
Use a smartphone to scan the QR code on the lock after downloading the app and pay the deposit (this can be refunded) to use the bike. The charge may be different from supplier to supplier.
You may also ask your guide for help if you are interested in this experience.
Walking is a good idea: It might surprise you, but the inner city area is small enough and scenic enough, with plenty of interesting places to see, eat and dine in as you go, that simply walking from your hotels in the inner city or from the central Guilin Station to interesting famous hills, the 7 Star Park zoo and amusement park, and other places inside the city is not only doable, but maybe preferable if you have the time.
For example, it would take about half an hour to walk from Guilin Station (桂林站 Guìlín Zhàn) to Elephant Trunk Hill Park.
Walking to Fubo Hill: Fubo Hill is one of the popular small hill parks you can easily walk to. It is about a 35 minute walk to/from the Sheraton Hotel, the Waterfall Hotel, and Central Square.
A good hiking for walking around Guilin is Guilin Hiking. In it, you'll find several route descriptions including going between 7 Star Park and Elephant Trunk Hill.
If you would prefer not to take public transport and to avoid waiting for buses and walking to/from buses, then consider contacting us for private transport. Buses don't go to many beautiful places in Guilin. We are based in Guilin and know every nook and cranny and all the ins and outs of the local infrastructure. Our drivers can get you to places around the region, quickly, comfortably, and in style and travel at your pace.
If you are planning on coming to Guilin or Yangshuo, you can contact our local travel guides easily by phone or online. We can provide free travel advice or help you arrange a trip. See more about our private transport services.
Are you considering visiting Guilin and find all the options for traveling around the city rather daunting? Or are you in the city already and have had enough of trying to work everything out for yourself?
We, China Highlights, are based in Guilin and can offer you the option of having private transport with an English-speaking guide on a customized tour, which will be tailored to your own specifications.
You may check some of our Guilin tours for inspiration: