5-Day Ancient and Scenic Guilin tour

Ancient and Scenic Guilin

5-Day Guilin, Ling Canal, Xingping and Yangshuo Tour

Visit the main attractions of Guilin city with our 5 Days Guilin, Xingping and Yangshuo tour. Discover the old town of Daxu and watch local people do traditional handcrafts such as lantern-making or painting lion head-used for ceremonial dancing. Explore an ancient waterway, the Ling Canal in Xing'an, and learn about how it connected the Yangtze and Pearl rivers as early as 214 BC.

Take a Li River cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo, view the spectacular beauty of karst mountain peaks. Enjoy sunset over the Li River, and take photos of a local fisherman.


  • Discover the old town of Daxu and visit its nearby rural market (depending on when the market day falls).
  • Explore the Ling Canal and enjoy a leisurely boat ride, passing through the water-streets accompanied by the sound of the zither, playing on the boat.
  • Enjoy the beautiful rose sunset over the Li River and take photos of a local fisherman.
  • Relax and stay overnight on a fishing island in Xingping, surrounded by the Li River and green mountains

About China Highlights

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Since 1998 we've guided everyone ranging from US presidents, Australian Geographic and retired backpackers. Our goal is to create unique trips that take you off-the-beaten path, helping you discover China in a more authentic way. Our motto: "Discovery Your Way!"

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1Arrival in Guilin

Upon arrival at the arrivals hall of the airport or the exit of the train station, your private guide will meet you with a name plate. He/she will then escort you by private vehicle to your hotel.

Day 2Classic Guilin — City Highlights Plus an Ancient Town
Breakfast and lunch

Daxu Ancient Town

  • Daxu is about 18 kilometers southeast of Guilin, near the bank of the Li River.It was the richest and busiest town of Guilin in old times.
  • Lots of craftsmen and businessmen lived there, having started their businesses on shoestring budgets. With the development of road-networks, Daxu's glory-days faded away. But we still can see well preserved ancient buildings and the older generation living there.
  • There is a rural market near Daxu. Local people from nearby villages trade there. If your travel dates happen to coincide with a rural market day, your guide will accompany you to visit the market.


This morning, let's knock on the door of the older generation, to discover something more about the history of Daxu. You will then have a chance to visit a local crafts workshop and see how local people make Chinese lanterns, paint the monkey mask or lion head. And also you will hear from local family about their life and work. Exploration of the old town lasts about 2 or 3 hours.

We will arrange an organic lunch in a local farmer's courtyard, near Daxu ancient town. You could visit the farmer's vegetable fields and even pick the fresh local vegetables for cooking.

After lunch, visit Guilin's iconic Elephant Trunk Hill, so named because its shape resembles an elephant drinking from the Li River. Also explore Reed Flute Cave, one of the largest and most impressive caves in Guilin, named after the reeds growing around the cave entrance. Inside, you will see some magnificent rock formations.

Daxu Ancient Town Daxu Ancient Town
Day 3Ancient Waterway — the Ling Canal in Xing'an County
Breakfast and lunch

Ling Canal

  • As one of the oldest canals in the world, the Ling Canal is located about 70 kilometers north of Guilin.
  • The canal-building project was completed 8 years before the Terracotta Amy, and it was constructed by the same emperor Qin Shihuang who built the Terracotta Amy .
  • The canal played a very important role when emperor Qin Shihuang unified China, as it links Central China with the Lingnan region (of southern China). You could find out more details from our local guide in Guilin.


Driving from Guilin to Xing'an County takes about 1.5 hours. Then enjoy a boat ride, passing under ancient bridges, and discovering the ancient canal transport system. Relax to music from the guzheng (Chinese harp), played while you float through this beautiful town. After lunch, your guide and driver will transfer you back to Guilin in the afternoon.

After you return to Guilin, you could enjoy the free time to walk around the lakeside and riverside in the city center. Or your guide will go with you to visit the 'East-West Lane' if you would like to discover more historical sights of Guilin.

'East-West Lane' (Dongxi Xiang) is a restored historical and cultural street in Guilin. It was the main street in Guilin during the Ming (1368–1644 AD) and Qing (1644–1911 AD) dynasties.

Nowadays, East-West Lane is a good place for local people and tourists to relax, shop, and sightsee. Explore a well–preserved ancient city wall, restored historic buildings, and all kinds of traditional local stores and snacks.

The Ling Canal The Ling Canal
Day 4Scenic Guilin — Li River Cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo, with an Overnight Stay at a Beautiful Location Beside the Li River
Breakfast and lunch

Accommodation in Xingping: Yangshuo Xingping Island Resort (a boutique hotel, with standards equivalent to a domestic 4-star hotel)


  • 25 km (15.5 miles) from Yangshuo, on the east bank of the Li River, Xingping is one of the best photographic locations in Guilin.
  • Photographers go there to take photos of the Yellow Cloth Shoal, one of the best-known attractions on the Li River, depicted on the 20 RMB bank note; the karst hills reflected in the waters of the Li River; the sunrise and sunset over the river; and cormorant fishing.
  • An iconic image of Guilin – an old fisherman in his coir raincoat, on a bamboo raft with his cormorants – can be seen here.


After breakfast, your private guide and driver will transfer you to the pier (about 1 hour's drive) to take the Li River cruise. A Li River cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo (about 4hours) is an unforgettable experience. As you take in the stunning scenery, there's something interesting to see at almost every bend in the river.

Among the spectacular limestone peaks you'll see graceful bamboo groves, farmers tending rice paddies, and lumbering water buffaloes pulling carts or cooling off in the river.

A Chinese buffet lunch is served on board. The boat arrives in Yangshuo sometime between 1.30 and 2.30 pm (depending on water-flow), and then you can walk around West Street, the main street in the downtown Yangshuo area.

In the afternoon, your guide and driver will transfer you to Xingping (about 40 minutes' drive), an ancient town of Yangshuo. Take a ferry for 5 minutes to the island where your hotel is located.

After check-in, you can walk around the island on foot or by bike, lie on a beach chair and relax, or have a cup of coffee while appreciating the wonderful scenery from your hotel. Help local farmers with their farming work such as pollinate the pomelo tree flowers, fruit picking…

In the late afternoon around 6 pm (depending on the season), your guide will go with you to the Li River to photograph another Guilin highlight: the beautiful rose sunset (pray for cooperative weather), with a Li River fisherman on his bamboo raft, with gas lamp and cormorants, and the fisherman fishing by the riverside. This whole process will last 1 to 1.5 hours.

The Fisherman on the Li River The Fisherman on the Li River
Day 5Bamboo Rafting on the Yulong River; Departure from Guilin
Breakfast and lunch


After hotel check-out, your guide and driver will take you by private vehicle to the Yulong River valley to ride on a bamboo raft. The scenery along the river is breathtakingly beautiful, with karst peaks, rice fields, clear waters, and green bamboo.

The river's current is gentle, meaning even first-time rafters have no trouble navigating. After a while, all signs of the modern world gradually melt away. Every bend in the river reveals different wonders, and it is easy to focus solely on the scenery. The rafting will take about 1 to 1.5 hours.

After lunch, your private vehicle and tour guide will transfer you (in about 1.5 hours' drive) to Guilin Airport for your departure flight.

The Yulong River The Yulong River

Tour Price

FromUSD 789p/p Based on a private tour for 2 people. Price varies depending on program, travel date, number of people and chosen hotel

Price includes:

  • Private air-conditioned business car with big windows and ample space
  • English speaking local guide
  • Activities, hotels, and meals listed in the itinerary
  • 24/7 helpline for while you are traveling


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