Catch the Exclusive Beauties of Guilin
6-Day Guilin Photography Tour
This Guilin photography tour is designed for shutterbugs, catching scenery only otherwise found on postcards or magazines. Climb to the top of a mountain to photograph the great bend on the Li River, take a ferry to the most beautiful section of the river in the early hours of morning to shoot the picturesque scenery, capture an old fisherman and his ospreys, and take candid photos of minority people living near the Longji rice terraces.
- Specialized English-speaking guide with professional photography experience
- Professional guiding to Guilin's photography locations
- Attractions around Guilin that only serious travelers and shutterbugs can find
- The beautiful nature and idyllic life around the Li River
98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+
China Highlights for all your China trips
Since August 2022 Sharon Huang is my Travel Advisor at China Highlights #chinahighlights. I have booked several trips and was always extremely happy with our customized itinerary based on my interest. Sharon is always immediately responding and is happy to assist with creating an unforgettable trip. I can only highly recommend Sharon and China Highlights for your travel within China. You should not look further and trust their experience and expertise. For my part, I’m already looking forward to discover more of this amazing and diverse country.more
May 2023, Adriana
April 2023 Tours in China, Carol Wang Advisor, China Highlights
I highly recommend the Company #china highlights and their guides Ryan/Shanghai-Suzhou, Lulu/ Hangzhou, Li or Lee/Zhangjiajie, Jenny/ Guilin, Adam/ Quanzhou, Gerry/ Hengdian-Hangzhoumore
May 2023, JeanneC
Guilin Tour with China Highlights
We had a really nice tour with China Highlights and our Tourguide Chase in Guilin. The unique mountain landscape is a must-see when visiting China and a welcoming change to the big city life. We also went to Yuangshuo with the li river cruise and stayed at a cozy hotel. The tour was very well planned and they made sure that we had a great time.more
May 2023, Valentin B
Guilin area and rice terraces
We just returned from a trip to Guilin, the mountain rice terraces, the Li River, and a tour of local markets and farms. Roger Li was helpful setting up the trip, and Jenny Zheng was a fantastic tour guide. Very knowledgeable and fun to be with. Ms. Tao was a safe diver as well. Beautiful scenery and a worthwhile trip. Accommodations were good and we loved the food. Highly recommended!more
May 2023, Ken Smith
Guilin to Longsheng Rice Terraced Fields/ Minority Village at Guilin
My first tour was to drive to the rice terraced fields of Longsheng. I have only seen pictures before so it was truly amazing to see this in person. My guide Jenny #chinahighlights, did an excellent job of watching me as I walked and pointing out everything along the way. Insects, plants, explanations of what is going on with the plantings of rice, in particular. I had no idea at all about those details. We ended by climbing down and up into the village which you see down below at the beginning. Jenny brought me to a local house and our hostess had already prepared the sticky rice and smoked pork in bamboo, a fresh pickled cucumber salad, plus some home made sticky rice wine. All were very new and all very good! I recommend this trip as a learning experience! It is a lot of walking but it's worth it.more
May 2023, Jeanne Christine
Private Tour with China Highlights
This was a private tour with China Highlights for 8 of us (6 adults and 2 children aged 10 and 6) as part of a larger tour taking in Beijing and Wuhan. Our guide, Jenny, was fantastic and helped us to get the most out of the trip. She took us to some lovely, off the beaten track, restaurants and took care to plan the itinerary around our needs. We required a minibus for transport and the driver too was excelent. The weather wasn't kind to us as it was very humid and misty and there was some rain, but the trip to the rice fields and the boat trip through the Karst mountain scenery were both great. Some of us also went on the bamboo rafting trip which was well organised and very safe.more
Apr 2023, Alan H
Had een amazing six day trip in Guilin…
The guide, Chase, was very friendly, helpful and thoughtful. He showed up extra early or stayed later than planned just to help me order food in Chinese at a local restaurant or show me around an amazing park as a bonus to the activities of the day. He has a lot of knowledge of the area, speaks excellent English and is experienced enough to know what a western tourist needs to navigate such a unique area and culture. Guilin is amazing and I feel that China Highlights and my guide Chase helped me get the max out of a six day stay.more
Apr 2023, F. H.
Guillin and Yangshuo - Beautiful and Serene Must-See Landscape
We went on a private two-day tour of Guillin and Yangshuo with China Highlights during the Qingming spring break holiday. Chase was our guide and we will definitely recommend him to others. He made the whole trip run smoothly so we could just enjoy and relax. He was very patient, kind, and helpful with us and our two small children. We enjoyed talking with him about Chinese culture and his own life experiences. We loved our stay at The Moondance Hotel. The home style tofu dish and waffles they made were delicious! The highlights for our family were the Reed Flute Cave, Li River cruise, and bike ride through the countryside of Yangshuo. We wish we had a few more days in Yangshuo to explore more of the breathtaking natural landscape. Thank you Chase and China Highlights for an unforgettable time in such a beautiful place!more
Apr 2023, Leah
An Awesome Trip to Yangshuo Guilin
And our luck doesn’t just end there, it continues with our guide, Jay. Jay was very caring and observant. He anticipated our needs and looked after us. He was also very knowledgeable about the history and the geography of Guilin and Yangshuo. However, he would never bore us with too much details; he knew when to stop, but if we showed interest, and wanted to hear more, Jay always had more to share. And knowing my kids didn’t speak good Chinese, he would repeat in English again, making sure my kids didn’t miss out the important stuffs. Another good thing about having private tour is the flexibility. The rainy season started already in April, and there was this one day we were supposed to go to the bamboo rafting, but Jay was quick to suggest about swapping our program, so that we went first to the fan workshop, then the bamboo rafting and dodged the rain. Jay was kind and pleasant to be with. I would highly recommend him to anyone who is planning a trip to the Guilin / Yangshuo area. I once had doubts about Yangshuo being a boring scenic place, but now I am mesmerized by its beauty and the exciting activities it offers.more
Apr 2023, dingsmama
Stunning landscape rich in history and culture
Very well organised and professional service from start to finish. We had an amazing tour guide (Gary) who taught us so much about the culture and history of the area. His local knowledge gave us a true insight into the history of the people as we walked through the ancient villages and stunning landscape. I thoroughly recommend visiting Guilin and Yangshuo - such a magical place! I would also recommend Gary as a tour guide as he took us to some amazing hidden gems that were a little off the beaten track :)more
Apr 2023, Will M
Beautiful trip to Stunning Yangshuo and Guilin!
I had the opportunity to be in the area and, even though I was traveling solo, couldn't miss seeing Guilin and Yangshuo. I'm sure glad I didn't. Gary Wei was an excellent guide who gave me personalized attention and made sure everything went smoothly. More than that, he has such a pleasant, positive personality, I never felt alone and always had fun. And, since I was traveling solo, he took lots and lots of pictures for me! Bamboo raft cruise down the Li River, a hike along the river bank, countryside biking in Yangshuo, exploring caves and hills around the area…everything was magically beautiful. I only wish I had a couple more days to spend because there is so much to do and see. Thanks, Gary, for a wonderful three days!!more
Mar 2023, christinajeanne
Gorgeous Guilin with Gary
What made it all the better of course was the sure and steady guidance of Gary whose knowledge and love for his home was as bountiful as the greenery all about! Upon arriving in Guilin, Gary and our wonderful driver, whose knowledge of the roads and navigating skill are a credit to her, escorted me to my first hotel in Guilin proper which was not only beautiful, with its spectacular waterfall feature, but also manned by friendly and experienced staffmore
Jan 2023, Apis N
An Exceptional Tour with China Highlights - Highly Recommended!
She was knowledgeable and friendly and took care of every small detail to ensure we had a great time at every destination. She was also very considerate of our baby and made sure that we had everything we needed to make our vacation comfortable and enjoyable.more
Jan 2023, Imane
Rated 5 out of 5 stars
During Golden Week holidays we spent 7 wonderful days in Guilin, Longsheng and Yangshuo. Thanks to Carol for a well organized and stressless trip and also to our tour guide Henry who was always very knowledgeable and supportive. He did a great job making the trip comfortable and enjoyable for us.more
Oct 2022, Anja
Amazing trip to Guilin and Yangshuo
Thanks to Gary Wei and China heights for an amazing customised three day excursion in Guilin. Really enjoyed caving, the rock climbing and a relaxing afternoon with stand up paddle. Gary our tour guide was able to find paths off the beaten track and often time there were no other tourist to be seen. He also went out his way to make sure we’re well provisioned and took his own initiative to not only be our tour guide and our own photographer, providing us with many more and different memories of the trip. We would highly recommend both china highlight and especially Gary Wei as your local guide for a worry free, non stress trip.more
Oct 2022, Yujie Z
Guilin and Yangshuo
We had wonderful holidays in Guilin and Yangshuo during the golden week. Our guide Linda was able to plan the activities in a way that we manage to visit several places in short time. It was something very special to be the first person to go rafting and on the “wild” hiking to the top of the mountain to enjoy a beautiful view. Thanks to Linda we had an unforgettable holiday with many special moments.more
Oct 2022, Karla
Lovely getaway during National holidays to Yangshuo
Thanks to Sharon from China Highlights to organize such a great customized trip. A big shoutout to our amazing tour guide Gray. He made sure that traveling even during such a busy period of time was such a joy. Gary went out of his way caring for us. And his photography skills are spot on to have beautiful memories also captured in the digital way and not just in our hearts. We loved our time in beautiful Yangshuo and will be definitely back to Guilin anytime soon.more
Oct 2022, Adriana Peiris
Perfect holidays in Guanxi!
We had a wonderful experience in Guanxi. Our tour guide Henry was not only well informed about sights, history and local hotspots, he managed to make our trip to Guilin, Longcheng and Yangshuo interesting, funny and relaxing all in once. He really knows how to give interesting insights to parents and kids and took perfect care for both of our families. The tour organization was great !more
Oct 2022, Daniel
I travelled to Guilin with friends and was really amazing. China Highlights is a very professional agency that will take care of every detail. Our guide was Frank, very passionate and helpful all time. Great experiencemore
Oct 2022, Daniela G
Explore Guilin by Bike
We had 4 amazing days with China highlights in Guilin. Our Guide Steven made it a perfect experience! It was definitely one of our most memorable trips we ever had and thanks to China highlights and our guide Steven everything went so smooth that we didn’t have to worry about anything - perfect holiday!more
Sep 2022, Benedikt P
Recommended Hotel in Guilin: Guilin Park Hotel (3-star, central location and by the lakeside)
Upon arrival, you will be met by your local tour guide displaying your name at the arrivals hall of the airport. If you arrive by train, your guide will meet you at the exit of the train station.
Your guide will escort you by private vehicle to your hotel. Have a good rest and be ready for the next day's adventure!
The night scenery in Guilin is beautiful and provides a great way to unwind after a flight. The ‘Two Rivers and Four Lakes' in the downtown area offer pleasant lakeside walks and night cruises.
Meal: breakfast & lunch
Recommended Hotel in Longji : Longji Panorama House Hotel (3-star,the best hotel in the village)
Longji rice terraces are a sight not to be missed when visiting Guilin. They are one of the most impressive man-made wonders in China, built into steep mountainsides. When viewed from the mountaintops, they look like a dragon's ribs; hence the name ‘Dragon's Backbone' (Longji).
Longji is about 2½ hours' drive from Guilin. The terraces cover an area of 66 square kilometers (25 square miles). They were built 600 years ago by local minority people. There are various villages in Longji; the three most famous are Ping'an Zhuang village, Longji Ancient Zhuang village, and Dazhai Yao village.
Today you will head to Dazhai Yao village, one of the most beautiful areas around Guilin. Upon your arrival, first have lunch in a local farmer's restaurant. You will have an opportunity to taste the local food, such as rice cooked in a bamboo tube - a typical dish for local minority people - and some local fresh vegetables. After lunch, have a taste of photographing the fields, as you hike along for about 2 or 3 hours to reach your hotel. You'll snap the marvelous terraced fields from all angles, with local minority houses dotted around; especially spectacular in autumn when the harvest is ripe and golden.
Good to know:
- Longji Panorama House Hotel is at the top of a mountain and it takes about 2 or 3 hours to walk there from the parking lot. If you are not able to walk that far, please ask your advisor to substitute another hotel, nearer the cable car station.
- We tentatively arrange the overnight stay in Dazhai because from July to October the scenery there is more attractive. From November to March, however, the scenery at Ping'an is more attractive. If your trip is any time between November and June, please ask your travel advisor to arrange the overnight stay at Ping'an Zhuang village.
Meal: breakfast & lunch
Recommended Hotel in Yangshuo : Yangshuo Changfeng Green Water Resort
Your hotel is the best hotel in the vicinity, with the best location for photographing the sunrise less than 10 minutes' walk away. Get up early (if the weather is good) to shoot the stunning sunrise over the spectacular terraced rice fields. Walk down through the fields after breakfast, and you can continue to take photos from different angles. In September and October, locals hang lots of red peppers and golden corncobs under their roofs. The nearby Yao and Zhuang minority villages, with traditional wooden houses, should not be missed.
On the way, visit a local minority family and taste a local snack of minority origin, particularly popular with the Yao and Zhuang people: oil tea. This can quench thirst and cure rheumatism in humid mountain areas. You'll see how to make it and will interact with local people who have lived there for generations.
After lunch, you will go down the mountain and leave Longji for Yangshuo (about 4 hours' drive), visiting Cuiping on the way. Cuiping Five Fingers Mountain, 22 km north of Yangshuo, near the town of Putao, is a nice place for taking sunset photos. It takes around 20 minutes to climb the mountain and from there you'll photograph the karst mountain peaks, with some villages, many paddies and a river flowing by. It's a wonderful view, not to be missed, even in bad weather.
Meal: breakfast & lunch
Recommended Hotel in Xingping : Yangshuo Xingping Island Resort (a boutique hotel on a beautiful location beside the Li River)
You will rise early and transfer to Xianggong Hill, the best place for photos of the breathtaking sunrise over the bend in the Li River. After you reach the top, you'll have about 20 minutes to watch the Li River running round a right-angled bend as the sun rises in the background (the top photo of this tour).
After Xianggong Hill, you'll visit Fuli Bridge, which has a history of over 600 years. It's a special spot not so well known to travelers, located at the upper reaches of the Yulong (Meeting a Dragon) River. You can take some photos of the bridge stretching across the river, surrounded by Guilin's unique karst hills.
Later relax and take a ride on a bamboo raft. The raft drifts along for about 1.5 to 2 hours from Jinglong Bridge to Jiuxian village. The raft journey on the Yulong River is idyllic and therapeutic; watching the rice fields and water buffaloes glide by, listening to the birds and enjoying the cool gentle breeze makes everything seem worthwhile.
Lunch will be served in one of the local restaurants in Yangshuo.
In the afternoon, you will be driven to Xingping Ancient Town to photograph another highlight of the Guilin area: a Li River fisherman, on his bamboo boat and with a unique gas lamp, resplendent in the rose sunset (pray for cooperative weather). You will love the fisherman, who poses in many different yet natural ways. Your guide will make sure you get the best possible photos of the fisherman and the river.
Good to know:
1. Upon arrival in Xingping, you will take a ferry to a small, beautiful and peaceful island, where you hotel is located. Your luggage will be transferred to Xingping in advance, by private car.
2. As Yangshuo is extremely touristy and crowded, especially during festivals, we arrange for an overnight stay in Xingping, to save you all the hustle and bustle. Besides, Xingping is the best place for photographing the beautiful Li River sunrise and sunset.
Meal: breakfast & lunch
Continue to collect sunrise photos or misty-morning photos around the Li River. You'll be taken to the dock in Xingping. Enjoy the beautiful, peaceful river, as you take a ferry to sunrise spots nearby, for some fantastic photos of the sunrise. This stretch is one of the most spectacular on the river, incorporating the 20-yuan banknote view.
The next destination is Xiping Ancient Town, a time-honored town which grew from a small fishing village. The village still preserves buildings built in styles from the Ming (1368–1644 AD) and Qing (1644–1911 AD) dynasties.
Your guide will take you to the side of Xiaomian Mountain (Small Face Mountain) to capture the sunset, along with the 20-yuan banknote view. Standing there, you will see the whole banknote mountain from a different angle than usual.
1. The Best Time to Photograph Guilin
The prime time for photography in Guilin is from May to October. During these months, the daytime is longer and the light is good, and temperatures are hot or warm. November to February is the low-water season.
2. Guilin's Best Sunset Locations
Guilin: Pierced Hill (Chuanshan)
Yangshuo: Cuiping Wuzhishan, Wulong Spring village, Gongnong Bridge
Xinping: Small Face Mountain and Big Face Mountain
3. Guilin's Best Sunrise Locations
Yangshuo: Xianggong Hill
Xingping: Laozhai Mountain, Yellow Cloth Shoal, Xialong Bay
4. About Xianggong Hill
Xianggong Hill is great for sunrises and sunsets. It takes 1.5 hours to drive there from Guilin city center, and 40 minutes from Yangshuo. The sunrise is at about 05:30 hrs from June to August, 06:00 hrs from September to October, and 06:30 hrs in December. You must climb many steps to reach the viewpoint. Our guide will prepare flashlights for you.
5. Small Face Mountain
It is a great place for sunset photography at any season in Xingping. Sunset is around 17:30 in summer and 16:30 in winter. The path to the shooting area is difficut to walk in rainy days.
6. Fuli Bridge
Suitable for shooting at any time. Rarely interrupted by tourists, you can take photos of this ancient bridge with its reflection in the water. There are more chances to come across water buffalos or ducks in this fantastic karst landscape between 16:00 and17:00.
7.Sunrise comparison between Reflection of Yellow Cloth Shoal and Xialong
The Yellow Cloth Shoal is one of the highlights of the Li River and one of the best places for Guilin's karst landscape sunrise. The sunrise is much better at the Yellow Cloth Shoal than at Xialong. The morning clouds in Xialong, however, are fantastic. So we will first take you to photograph the sunrise at the Yellow Cloth Shoal, and then to enjoy the colorful morning clouds at Xialong. Reach the Yellow Cloth Shoal via a 30-minute ride on a motorized bamboo raft. Sunrise starts at 05:00 hrs in summer and 06:30 hrs in winter. September is the best time for the sunrise.
Reach Reflection of Yellow Cloth by a motorized bamboo raft for 30min. Sunrise starts at 05:00 in summer and 06:30 in winter. September is the best time for the sunrise.
8. Longji Rice Terraced Fields Photography Tips
Jinkeng (Dazhai) Terraced Fields is better preserved with more capacious views and has much less tourists and is less commercial than Ping'an Village. The golden rice is cut later than Ping'an Village during China's National Day holiday.
The end of March is the best time to shoot the many cole flowers in the terraced fields. From the end of April to the beginning of May, the fields turn a beautiful red, because of the fertilizer the farmers use.
At the beginning of June, the watered fields are like mirrors, yielding impressive photos. June 8-10 is the annual Spring Plow Festival of the local Zhuang and Yao minorities. If you are fortunate to be there for the festival, you will see many celebrations, but relatively few visitors.
July to August is the best time for viewing the terraced fields. They turn a verdant green, with some clouds in the otherwise clear blue sky.
Golden terraced fields are fabulous during China's National Day holiday. Although we don't recommend visiting China during this period, it's the best time to photograph the countless yellow rice terraces. The rice stalks don't turn golden before National Day and are quickly harvested after the holiday. Rice in Dazhai village is harvested later than in the Ping'an village area. In October, morning and dusk are better periods for photos.
Snow sometimes covers the fields during China's Spring Festival holiday. It's the best chance to obtain photos of snowy terraced fields and at the same time to experience local minority culture.
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