Guilin is a city of incredible beauty, located in the lap of nature, and one of the most popular places for tourists in China. Unlike other cities visited, Guilin is surrounded by rivers and mountains, so this is where you can spend time in the fresh air. So if you are already tired of the dirty air and smog, which is so much in China, in Guilin, you can take a break from this. Explore rich culture, fascinating landscapes and delicious food with our Guilin guide.
Since Guilin is located in the southern part of the country, it is located at some distance from other major cities. But even though the city is surrounded by nature, there is a variety of public transport, where you can get anywhere. You can get to Guilin by plane, train or bus from most major cities in China.
In Guilin itself, most tourists use public transport, because, to rent a car, you will need a driver’s license obtained in China. Many parks and recreation areas along the river banks can be reached by bus, and this is ideal for budget tourists. There is also a taxi, but be sure to ask the drivers to turn on the meter.
Travel Tip: Traveling on all buses starting at 5 is free!
What you need to know before traveling:
You should be aware that many popular websites are blocked in China, which people in the rest of the world visit every day (for example, Gmail and Facebook). The only way to access these resources and websites is to use the services of a VPN service, a subscription to which must be purchased in advance. You should also be aware that not all VPNs work in China, and those that work must have servers in Asia. Check out our list of the 5 best VPN services for working in China below and make sure that your VPN service meets all the requirements so that you can upload photos as soon as you arrive in this country.
What to see:
Guilin is famous for its beautiful natural attractions. However, there are also tourist centers and museums where you can immerse yourself in the amazing local culture. Below you will find a description of the most popular attractions in Guilin.
Reed Flute Cave
Probably the most attractive place in Guilin – the Reed Flute Cave – is filled with various stalactites, stalagmites, stone pillars and other rock formations. The cave got its name thanks to the emerald reed growing outside it, from which the flutes used to be made. This 240-meter cave offers amazing views. special multi-colored lighting illuminates various rock formations, so tourists can wander through some tunnels on their own. Be sure to inspect the ink inscriptions inside the cave that date back to 792 A.D. (during the reign of the Tang Dynasty), they recorded the history of the cave from ancient times. The tour lasts from 1 to 2 hours, the floors may be slightly damp. You may also have difficulty with photographs since flash photography in the cave is prohibited.
Reed Flute Cave
Elephant Trunk Hill
Guilin’s popular attraction is the Elephant Trunk Hill, also known as Xiangbishan, which looks like an elephant that drinks water from a river. A boat tour is the best way to see this attraction, especially when you consider that you will sail through the cave “Water Moon”. From here you can climb a steep hill and visit a great picnic place – in the area near the Puxian Pagoda. In the evenings, a laser show is also held here, illuminating different parts of this attraction in a different light.
Elephant Trunk Hill
Pagodas of the Sun and Moon
These high towers are a very attractive attraction of Guilin. The pagodas of the Sun and Moon are a national treasure of the country and are located in the heart of the Riyue Shuangta Cultural Park. The 35-meter moon pagoda resembles a glass tower. The Sun Pagoda is made of 350 tons of copper and reflects yellow light with its silver, gold and copper details. It is especially nice to stroll here at night, as the towers are highlighted. A tunnel underwater connects these two buildings, on the walls of which you can see various paintings.
Pagodas of the Moon and the Sun
Folk Customs Center on the banks of the Li River
If you want to immerse yourself in the ethnic culture of Guilin, you need to be in this place. This house of culture hosts exhibitions related to folk customs, traditions and folk art of eleven nationalities of the region. It also hosts numerous dance performances and costume shows. Be sure to try the local specialties and buy some folk souvenirs.
Peach Blossom River
This river got its name because of the thousands of peach trees growing on its banks, here is exactly the place where you can relax and rest. If you want to see this river at the best time, visit Guilin in spring when the trees are in bloom, or autumn when the branches are covered with millions of red leaves.
Seven Star Park
Beautiful nature reserve. Seven Star Park is an amazing mountain forest, clear water, a variety of trees and animals and valleys. Visitors can wander around the park for hours, exploring beautiful sights and landscapes. Some of the park’s most famous sights are the Seven Star Cave, Camel Hill, Peoples’ Month Mount and Flower Bridge – the oldest bridge in Guilin, which is surrounded by stunning flowers in spring and summer.
Seven Star Park
Princess Jinjiang City
This place (one of the most popular to visit in Guilin) breathes history. The city of the princess was built in the 1300s to become the residence of the niece of the first emperor of the Ming dynasty. Even though the place seems a bit distant from the palaces of the nobility, 14 emperors of 12 generations lived here. The decoration of the building is an amazing example of Chinese architecture, as well as many gates located in the nearby territory. The summit, located next to the palace, is called “The Peak of the Lonely Beauty” and it is from it that the best panoramic view of Guilin opens.
Where to eat:
Whether you want to taste rice noodles (a popular dish in Guilin) or yearn for a burger with french fries, in Guilin you will find many excellent cafes and restaurants for every taste. Here are the five most popular restaurants in Guilin:
Rice noodles pub
Tourists appreciate this place for the best rice noodles and fried rice; The Rice Noodles Pub Praised combines a modern atmosphere with excellent service. Be sure to try rice noodles – this is a local specialty.
Rice Noodles Pub, No.142 Zhengyang Pedestrian Street, Guilin, China
Zhengyang Tang Cheng
This two-story restaurant is located on the busy Zhengyang pedestrian street and offers an impressive amount of different soups – as many as 30! They specialize in Cantonese dishes and offer the perfect dinner for those who have spent the day traveling. It is not surprising that the restaurant has a reputation for being the best among restaurants offering soups in Guilin.
Zhengyang Tang Cheng, No. 8 Zhengyang Road, Guilin, China
Kali Mirch Indian Cuisine
If you are not in the mood for Chinese food, then the Kali Mirch restaurant (literally “black pepper”) offers the best Indian cuisine in the city. It is quite difficult to find, but real Indian food with spices is definitely worth the effort.
Kali Mirch Indian Cuisine, No.15 Shan Shui Street, Xiufeng District, Guilin, China
Café Nissi is a small, original café located near the Sheraton hotel. It is where you will find a secluded reading place with comfortable sofas and pillows. This is a real treasure for those who love comfort: the menu has the most popular dishes, for example, chicken burgers and milkshakes. Take food and drinks with you to the veranda to enjoy your time.
Café Nissi, 18 Binjiang Road, Xiangshan District, Guilin, China
Jin bu Huan Suan dian
Pickled vegetables are another favorite dish in China. In this small restaurant, they sell the most delicious vegetables in the area. Even though the cafe is more like a kiosk, Jin Bu Huan Suan Dian is always full of tourists and local visitors.
Jin Bu Huan Suan Dian, 30-5 Zhongshan Road, Guilin, China
Where to stay:
In Guilin, hundreds of hotels and hotels of different price categories in different areas of the city. Most are in the city center, especially on Zhongshan Street, where there are just a bunch of restaurants and hotels. Some of the most popular hotels are the Shangri-La Hotel, the Sheraton Guilin Hotel, and the Lijiang Waterfall Hotel. International Youth Hostel is also a good place for its price, but it all depends on your preferences. See where your hotel is located before booking a room.
When can I go:
Since Guilin is located in the subtropical zone, there is a rainy season, which lasts from April to October. If you are going to China at this time, it is important to bring waterproof items and an umbrella or raincoat. It is hot and humid in summer, so be sure to put light summer things in your suitcase. In winter (October to March) there is less rain. Usually, it is warm in the fall during the day, but nights can be cool, so take the appropriate items. In winter it gets quite cold, so the streets can freeze. It is best to go here in September-November and from late March to May when the weather is most favorable.