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How to Plan a Guilin Tour from Hong Kong

Yulong River in Guilin

Hong Kong is a popular gateway to Mainland China. It is increasingly convenient to travel from Hong Kong to Mainland China thanks to recent rail developments.

Guilin, blessed with stunning karst scenery and rich culture, has become one of the most popular tourist destinations from Hong Kong. Here is some essential information which will help you plan a tour from Hong Kong to Guilin.

The Best Time to Go

The best time to visit Guilin is from April to October when the weather is warm/hot, and is more suitable for admiring the natural scenery and doing outdoor activities.

The low season in Guilin is from November to March, when the weather is typically cold and damp with some warm and bright spells, and it is easier to book accommodation and flight/train tickets.

See month-by-month weather and touring information on our Guilin Weather pages.

You'd better avoid Chinese public holidays, such as Labor Day (May 1 to 7) and National Day (October 1 to 7), when Guilin is always full of Chinese tourists.

Read more information about Dates You Should Avoid When Planning a China Tour.

Travel from Hong Kong to Guilin by airThe most convenient way from Hong Kong to Guilin is travelling by air.

Transportation Options

Guilin is in south China, about 500 km (300 mi) northwest of Hong Kong. The most convenient way from Hong Kong to Guilin is travelling by air, taking about 1½ hours. As flight options are limited and more expensive, high-speed trains have become a popular alternative.

By Air — the Best Option

Direct flights from Hong Kong to Guilin are available, but there are only 5 flights a week. You are suggested to book tickets in advance.

Here is the flights schedules for your reference [March 2017]:

Day Depart Arrive Duration
Sun 9:00 10:25 1h25mins
Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri 14:15 15:45 1h30mins

By High-Speed Train via Shenzhen — Limited Trains

high-speed train

Step 1: Travel from Hong Kong to Shenzhen by MTR Subway

The best way to travel from Hong Kong to Shenzhen is by MTR subway. Borders that have MTR access are Luohu (Lo Wu) or Futian (Lok Ma Chau).

Luohu is the most popular crossing point, but Futian is better for going to Guilin as Shenzhen Metro Line 4 goes direct to Shenzhen North Railway Station, and the border crossing is less busy.

  • Hours of MTR Operations: 06:30–24:00
  • Hung Hom – Lo Wu (Luohu) or Lok Ma Chau (Futian): 30–40 minutes
  • Tip: Try to avoid public holidays and rush hours (8:30am–10:30am and 4pm–9pm), when the border is quite crowded and you may need to wait for a few hours to cross the border!

Click to see more details about Shenzhen to Hong Kong Transport and Ports.

Step 2: Travel from Shenzhen to Guilin by High-Speed Train

There are 3 high-speed trains from Shenzhen North Railway Station to Guilin North Railway Station every day, taking about 3 hours. Click to check the train schedule.

By High-Speed Train via Guangzhou — More Trains

Step 1: Hong Kong to Guangzhou Through Train

There are 12 pairs of Hong Kong to Guangzhou Through Trains running direct between Kowloon and Guangzhou East Railway Station every day. It takes about 2 hours.

Step 2: Guangzhou Metro

Most bullet trains to Guilin go from Guangzhou South Station, which takes 45 minutes and 7 RMB on the subway. Take Line 1 to Gongyuanqian Station (公园前站, 7 stops) then Line 2 to Guangzhou South Station (广州南站, 11 stops). Note that these lines get packed from about 7:30–9:00am and 5–7pm.

Step 3: Guangzhou to Guilin High-Speed Train

There are more than 30 trains running from Guangzhou South Station to Guilin every day, from 7am to 8pm. The journey is about 2½ hours. Click to check the train schedule.

Hong Kong to Guilin

How Long to Stay? — At Least 3 Days Is Recommended

Longji The Longji Rice Terraces

Guilin is rich in natural scenery and minority culture. If you only want to see the karst landscapes, it is enough to stay 3 days. A recommended itinerary is as follows:

Day 1: Sightseeing in Guilin

Day 2: Li River cruise to Yangshuo

Day 3: Yangshuo's countryside

If you want to explore the ethnic culture and see terraced field scenery in Longsheng as well, you will need a day or two more.

Day 4–5: The Longji Rice Terraces

For more detailed itinerary guidance, see How to Plan a Guilin Tour.

The Highlights You Should Not Miss in Guilin

  • The Li River is one of the most beautiful rivers in the planet. The cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo is one of the most popular activities in a Guilin holiday.
  • Yangshuo is a large scenic area filled with so many gorgeous things to see and do. Bamboo rafting on the Yulong River, cycling in the countryside, and relaxing on West Street are the top things to do.
  • The Longji Terraced Fields: It is one of the world's most incredible rice terrace areas with fantastic scenery and colorful cultures of the Zhuang and Yao minorities.

How to Travel: Alone, As a Group, or Private Touring?

Private tourYou will be taken care of by our guides.

Travelling alone gives you maximum freedom and least commitment to a schedule. What you save in money you’ll spend in time planning and arranging. You should be prepared to deal with many hassles along the way.

Group travel is the quick, low-thought, money-saving option. However, travelling with a group always means lack of flexibility, big crowds, a bland experience, and limited interactions with locals. You’ll definitely be making sacrifices and compromising on quality.

Private tours are the high-value option for people who want to have a unique tour, expertly planned to individual interests and requirements. You can do what you want well, and at your own pace. We at China Highlights have been specializing in tailor-making China tours since 1998. Go with us to enjoy a hassle-free personalized tour.

Prepare Properly to Enter the Mainland

Get a Chinese Visa … Or Possibly Not

passportPrepare your passport and visa. 

Make sure that your passport has at least one blank visa page and is valid for at least six months.

Nationals of most countries do not require visas to enter Hong Kong. However, you will need a visa to travel from Hong Kong to Guilin. Learn about How to Apply for a Chinese Visa.

If on transit, i.e. going to a third non-HK destination from Guilin outside the Mainland (4 options from Guilin’s airport: Macau, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Korea), you can visit Guilin visa-free for 3 days!

Change Your Currency

Hong Kong and the mainland don't share the same currency and you'll need RMB (a.k.a. CNY or yuan) in the Mainland. You can change money in Hong Kong or in the mainland, or get yuan from ATMs supporting e.g. Visa/MasterCard. See more on our Practical Guide to Chinese Money.

Bring Adapters/Converters

The currency in the mainland is the Renminbi (RMB).The currency in the mainland is the Renminbi (RMB).

The standard electrical voltage in mainland China is 220 volts AC, 50 Hz. There are two kinds of sockets widely used in mainland China: type A (2-flat-pin) and type I (3-flat-pin). In contrast type G (British 3-wide-pin) is widely used in Hong Kong.

You may want to prepare a portable plug adapter for your electronics. They can be easily purchased at most electronic stores, travel supply stores, and airports.

Larger hotels should be able to provide an adapter, but if you don't have one it can be frustrating, for example if your laptop needs charging. See China Power Supply and Adapters for more.

Tailor-Make a Hong Kong – Guilin Tour with Us

Our clients in Longji

We are based in Guilin, and we know tourism in Guilin better than anyone else. Our travel experts are glad to help you tailor-make a Hong Kong – Guilin tour based on your interests and requirements.

Not sure what to ask for?… See some recommended Guilin itineraries for inspiration.