Guilin Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Guilin

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    Reed Flute Cave

    by mikelisaanna Updated Aug 21, 2012

    The Reed Flute Cave, located about 5 miles outside of Guilin, is the most impressive cave in the Guilin area. The cave is full of interesting rock formations, including stalactities, stalagmites and curtains. It takes about an hour to tour the cave. You enter with a guided tour, but can separate from the tour and proceed on your own once you are in the cave.

    Many of the more interesting rock formations are lit up with various colors of light. In the middle of cave, there is a large room in which they do a laser light show about every 15 minutes. After that, there is a section that you can pay a few RMB extra to visit, which has a mixture of interesting rock formations and turtles. Our daughter enjoyed petting one of the turtles.

    After you leave the cave, you have to run a gauntlet of souvenir vendors. If you want to buy something, hold out and drive a hard bargain. We were able to buy a book about Guilin's caves for about 20% of what the first vendor offer to sell it to us for.

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    Great Chinese Language Program in China

    by aattreyu92 Updated Aug 18, 2012

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    I took a Chinese language class back home in 2009 and I really enjoyed it. Since then, I was looking for a good language school to continue studying Chinese in China, with the following search criteria: (1) a small classroom of 4 students or less, (2) located in a smaller city, where I could immerse myself in the Chinese language without being able to get away with speaking much English - i.e. not in Shanghai where all the locals will try to speak to you in English - and (3) somewhere that is not too polluted and where I can actually enjoy blue skies during my summer months in China.

    After reading a few articles online and browsing through forums, I found the Chinese Language Institute (CLI) in Guilin. I decided to spend my whole summer vacation here to learn Chinese. It was a leap of faith, but I've been here for 2 months so far and I couldn't be happier! My classes are actually private 1on1 lessons, which surpassed what I was looking for, and it’s really well organized as the school is run by a private American company that has ties to the local University GXNU. Also, being in a smaller city in the South of China, these private classes, as well as the cost of living, are quite affordable compared to what you would find in a big city. The immersion program is great. The teachers are professional and experienced at teaching Chinese to foreigners. There is a friendly atmosphere within the CLI community and I’ve made friends with students from all over the U.S., Canada, Spain, Italy, Israel, Netherlands, etc.

    To be face to face with 1 teacher who can focus all their attention on you when learning a language is amazing because your teacher can tailor the class to suit your needs and your learning speed. I only had the equivalent of some very basic Chinese before coming to CLI and now I am actually quite conversational. What's more, Guilin and its neighboring towns are truly beautiful places to visit! It’s a tourist destination and it also feels very safe.

    I would definitely recommend this school if you're interested in learning Chinese, whether it be for long-term studies or just for a few weeks.

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    Stroll along the lakes in the evening

    by mikelisaanna Updated Jul 22, 2012

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    Guilin's downtown lakes are ringed with parks whose footpaths and trees are beautifully lit up at night. Many of the larger buildings around the lakes are also lit up. The lakefronts also contain two pagodas, as well as a number of restaurants and teahouses where you can stop and eat or have a snack. Some also feature live music.

    A more expensive, but easier, alternative to walking around the lakes is to take a boat tour that travels around them.

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    Guilin Zoo

    by mikelisaanna Updated Jul 22, 2012

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    Guilin's small zoo is located in Qi Xing Gongyuan (Seven Star Park) about 1 km east of the Li River. The zoo features giant pandas, red pandas, monkees, kangaroos, peacocks, emus, a camel and a yak, among others. Give yourself about 1 hour to tour it.

    The pandas are what the westerners come to see. They are in two enclosures (one for the black and white ginat pandas and one for the smaller red pandas). In the summertime, the pandas are housed in air-conditioned builings with glass windows to protect them from Guilin's hot and humid weather.

    To enter the zoo, enter Seven Star Park on the south side, off of Longyin/Qixing Road (it changes names near the entrance to the park). It is about 35 RMB for adults to enter the zoo, and costs additional (60 RMB) if you also want to tour the park.

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    Seven Star Park (Qi Xing Gongyuan)

    by mikelisaanna Written Jul 22, 2012

    Seven Star Park (Qi Xing Gongyuan in Chinese) is Guilin's largest park (120 hectares) and is a pleasant place to spend and afternoon or morning. The park contains seven small mountains with numerous hiking paths and viewpoints. One of them contains a cave that is open to tourists. The park also has a large flat section, with walking paths, ponds, and restaurants. In addition, it contains Guilin's zoo, which features pandas, red pandas, monkeys, and a yak.

    There is an admission charge to enter the park, which is a bit steep (about 100 RMB if you want to see the zoo or the cave in addition to exploring the park). If you just want to see the zoo, you have to enter the park from the southern side (Longyin/Qixing Road).

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    Guilin's Main Square

    by mikelisaanna Written Jul 22, 2012

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    In the middle of Guiin's downtown area is a huge open square that is at least 100 meters on each side in terms of size. The square hosts numerous public activities throughout the year, including concerts. It is also where people go to watch the nightly waterfall that gushes down the back of the Waterfall Hotel. At night, the buildings surrounding the square are lit up, with video billboards located on top of some of them.

    The square's pavement features a huge world map, which is drawn Chinese-style, with Asia in the middle and Europe and the Americas on the edge. It is always fun to try to find your hometown on the map.

    Adjacent to the square are stands selling souvenirs and toys, as well as a small children's amusement area with rides for toddlers. Another fun thing next to the square is a stall that sells you bottles of fish food with which you can feed a tank full of koifish. That was one of our daughter's favorite activities in Guilin.

    The main square during the day The main square as seen from above The world map on the pavement in the main sqare The waterfall as seen from the main square at nigh
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    Downtown Walking Street

    by mikelisaanna Written Jul 22, 2012

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    The Zheng Yang Pedestrian Street (called the Downtown Walking Street by the locals) is the main pedestrian shopping street in downtown Guilin. It is lined with dozens of shops, restaurants and bars. Its sidestreets also contain numerous smaller shops and stalls selling clothing and souvenirs. While it gets numerous tourists frequenting its bars and restaurants, the vast majority of the people strolling the walking street on any given night are Chinese.

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    Evening Musical Performances in the Main Square

    by mikelisaanna Written Jul 22, 2012

    On weekend evenings, we watched some musical performances on a stage in Guilin's main square. The performances were free, and featured songs and dances from Chinese opera, with the perfomers dressed in lavish costumes. While we only understood a fraction of the words and the plots were sometimes tough to follow, it was fun to watch something so different from our western musicals and opera.

    There are no seats, so you either have to stand up through the performance or sit on a railing or bench away from the stage.

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    Watch the Waterfall in the Evening

    by mikelisaanna Updated Jul 20, 2012

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    Every evening, the facade of the Lijiang Waterfall Hotel in downtown Guilin is turned into a giant waterfall for about 10 minutes, with tons of water cascading down the building from the rooftop. The best place to watch it from is the main square in front of the hotel.

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    Li River Cruises

    by mikelisaanna Written Jul 20, 2012

    The most popular tourist activity in and around Guilin is to take a cruise down the Li River to Yangshuo, a smaller tourist city located about 70km from Guilin. The scenery along the way is some of the best in the world, with hundreds of jagged limestone karst mountains jutting up sharply from the surrounding rice fields and towns. The cruise takes about three hours, with the best scenery in the middle hour. One of the sights to look out for is the set of mountains that are featured on the back of the 20 yuan bill. Most of the tour boats have food and drinks, for which you may have to pay extra.

    Most people take the cruise in one direction and then return to Guilin by bus. Allot most of the day for the round-trip, since you will probably want to spend an hour or two exploring Yangshuo while you are there. If you like to party, you should stay in Yangshuo overnight, sinc Yangshuo's doens of bars and clubs make Bourbon Street in New Orleans look quiet.

    Beautiful Li River scenery More mountains
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    Trek in the Rice Terraces

    by Poling Written Jun 28, 2012

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    I recommend you to go to the Longsheng Rice Terraces. October is the harvest season and you see golden field throughout the mountain. Noramlly you could catch the bus provided by the inn on the rice terrace, stay one night there, see the sun rise. Would be a very good experience.

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    Longsheng Rice Terraces

    by wilocrek Updated Jun 15, 2012

    Although it would seem impossible to top the beauty and magnificence Guilin, amazingly enough there is such place, and even better its a next door neighbor. The Longsheng Rice Terraces are arguably the most beautiful and awe inspiring place in the entire region and thats saying quite a bit. The rice terraces are about three and half hours from Guilin and then seemingly straight up into the mountains from there. The rice terraces cling to the mountaintop in a almost impossible fashion, like a tight fitting dress that hugs and showcases every curve. The essence of China is hidden among the rice fields from the intoxicating smell of fresh rice and chili peppers to the picturesque pointy hats the locals wear.

    Your visit will start and the bottom of a village that winds its way up the mountainside to the rice terraces. The houses are built on stilts that run up right against the steep crevices and mesh perfectly with the mountain. There are many different vendors along the way offering everything from fresh chili peppers to cold Coca Cola. Don't miss out on eating at any of the amazing restaurants that serve freshly prepared bamboo chicken and sticky rice, you will never taste any fresher than here. Eventually the path up will lead to the crown jewel of the region, the rice terraces, and the dragons backbone. You will wander among the terraces and take in the literally intoxicating views from above. Its as close to heaven as most people will ever get.

    Getting there is not difficult but somewhat time consuming, you can take one of several buses from Guilin to Longsheng which takes about three hours. From Longsheng you take another bus up to the rice terraces which takes about an hour. If you are going to spend a couple of days at the terraces than I would take the local transportation. However if your looking to do a daytrip like I did then it would be best to book a tour. Normally I'm not the tour type but it was reasonably price ($20 US) and very convienent. You can usually book the night before (though I would try and book at your hotel in advance as it could fill up) at the hotel desk. The tour picks you up from there and takes you to the rice terraces directly, it gives you about three hours to explore the rice terraces. I would of preferred spending much more time there but being that it was a daytrip it was about as good as it gets. Next time though I will plan on staying several days at the rice terraces, so if your planning your trip try and set aside several days! Enjoy!

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    Guilin to Yangshou via the Li River

    by wilocrek Updated Jun 8, 2012

    The best way to get to Yangshou from Guilin is not by a smelly crowded bus, one could do that anywhere in the world, without a doubt the way to get to Yangshou is by boat! There is nothing quite like drifting slowing down the gentle Li River with the towering Karst rock formations looming over you like skyscrapers. There are different ways of drifting down the Li River, you could spend a "boatload" of money on one of the many Li River Cruise options. The cruise option is the only way to see the river from a big boat with catering options, but it is expensive, anywhere from $65 to $200.

    As a budget traveler that option was out of the question and besides I hate big boats, I would much rather be as close to the river as possible. From most budget hotels you can book a smaller Li River cruise that takes you to Yangshou on small converted bamboo rafts. It cost about $25 US and was worth every penny. Its a round trip tour but if your headed to Yangshou as the next destination it will serve that purpose as well. The tour will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the small town of Yangdi. From there you will transfer in small groups of four to the converted bamboo rafts (you can take your luggage on the raft) and float down the river to the small town of Xingping. Its about a two hour trip and the views of the Karst peaks are truly marvelous, plus on the bamboo raft you can dip your toes into the cool waters. Something not quite possible from a cruise boat.

    From the town of Xingping the tour will put you on a local bus that will take you on a 40 minute journey to Yangshou. The tour will offer a seperate more expensive option of a authentic bamboo trip down the smaller Yulong River which I would highly recommend taking. The Yulong portion is smaller with far less river traffic and better views of the farmlands and Karst peaks. The raft only holds two people and you have your own boatman to wisk you down the river. You will get the chance to see and feed water buffalo and also to see the famous Dragon Bridge (which was beautifully filmed in the movie "The Painted Veil") From there the tour will take you back to Yangshou where you can end the tour if your staying there otherwise they will put you on a bus back to Guilin.

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    Longji Titian,Dragon's Spine Rice Terrace

    by SirRichard Written Jan 15, 2012

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    This a full day daytrip from Guilin. Though you can go there by public buses you'd have to change buses a few times and is complicated. So you better book one of the many tours at hotels and agencies.
    The minibus leaves early and arrives there in about 1 hour. Then you visit some ethnic minorities, see some mountain villages, have lunch and in the afternoon you visit the famous terraces taht make unbelievable landscapes of ebdless rice terraces.

    Me at he terraces Mountain villages Yao ethnic minority
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    Jingjiang Princes City

    by yipsufen Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Now it's the address for Guangxi Normal University. The Solitary Beauty Peak is just at the vicinity. Visiting this place you can see students attending classes. In the ancient days, this is the city for princes of the Ming Dynasty. Perfectly combining the natural landscape and historical sites, it is praised as a "City inside a city" since ancient time. The whole compound is vast with Solitary Beauty Peak, halls, bedrooms, gardens, lake and temple. The area is fortified with a wall of 3km in length.

    Once you entered the front gate, you will be guided into a museum with some simple introduction of this place and all the princes in the Ming Dynasty.

    At the foot hill of Solitary Beauty Peak, there's a Yueya Lake with small little bridge and a gazebo. Scholars of the olden days like to study here. There's also a monument commemorating Dr. Sun Yat Sen.

    In the Qing Dynasty, Jingjiang Princes City was converted to be the Examination Hall for scholars who wants to gain a position in the Imperial Palace. Tourist will be required to sit for a mock-up examination in seprate cubicles answering four questions. Write your answers with the chinese brush and ink provided on the yellow colour exam paper. One tip for you while visiting this place: listen attentively when the tour guide is explaining. You will be rewarded if you pass the exam. You will then be given an instruction from the emperor and become an officer in the Imperial Palace. You will have the chance to undergo the ceremony with full costumes. Enjoy and act like you are in a movie.

    Entrance fee is RMB20.

    The peaceful Yueya Lake
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