Guilin Travel Guide

  • Li River
    Li River
    by Cristian_Uluru
  • Introduction pic --
    Introduction pic --...
    by sylina
  • Guilin
    by Lunasia

Guilin Things to Do

  • Fir Lake

    Water plays an important role in Guilin. A couple of lakes meandering in town complement the river: Fir Lake, edged by a small and cool garden, with its two pagodas, is really nice, and one of the most photogenic points of Guilin.

  • Elephant's Trunk Park

    Though the elephant’s trunk it is not a remarkable spot, it's easy to understand what it means to locals, enough to justify the arrangement of all the area. The small park is well maintained, and it allows some beautiful sights.

  • Reed Flute Cave

    After a couple of days listening to the guides attaching names to everything that could be promoted for the tourists, I confess that I was expecting a small cave with a few stalactites seeming... bamboo.I was positively surprised by the size and beauty of the caves. Of course, each rock and formation won a name and a story, but the cave is very...


Guilin Hotels

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Guilin Restaurants

  • With feet in the water

    In the Elephant’s Trunk park, there’s a small esplanade… IN the water. People prepare some food by the river, and you may try the fun of eating or drinking, with your feet in the water. I didn’t check the prices, but, as we only saw locals using it, they must be a pleasant surprise

  • Not so bad

    We were warned by our guide that the lunch in the boat “couldn’t reach our expectations” so we should be prepared to… starve.Well, it was not a great event, but we ate enough, and the quality was not that bad. One thing I was sorrow: I missed the turtle soup, because they took it away sooner than I expected. Be aware of that: the plates go back...

  • Good pizza and coffee

    Yumi Coffee is a coffeehouse in eastern Guilin that also has great baked goods and good pizza. Yumi's menu features a wide range of Western and Chinese food. Western dishes include pizza and spaghetti, as well as ice cream and milkshakes. Their baked goods include croissants, cakes, danishes and various types of bread. The restaurant's seating is...


Guilin Nightlife

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  • Night stroll

    The streets in central Guilin are lively, with hundreds of people walking around, ant stopping here and there in the many shops and bars. Darkness is thing of the past (at least in central area), and advertising challenges the illuminated touristy attractions. I noticed that I couldn't leave Fernanda further than 10 meters to make a picture,...

  • Minorities Show

    Close to the hotel we had, included in our travelling package, a show of the ethnic minorities. It was totally different from the previous shows in Beijing and Xi’an. We were in a common theatre, with a popular audience, talking and laughing during the show, only missing… the popcorn. More visual and varied than the other, with simpler means, the...

  • Best bar in Guilin

    Le Feitz Irish Pub is one of the most popular place in Guilin among expats community.Live music, themed parties every week-end.Close to the universities, foreign students from all over the world.


Guilin Transportation

  • Progress against cliches

    Descending Li River all the tourists, camera in hand, waited anxiously for the cliche: a raft standing in the river, with a fisherman covered by the traditional hat. Everybody failed. Now, life depends on tourism, and fishing is less rewarding than travelling tourists. The rafts were there but with colourful umbrellas over a comfortable chair.

  • 70 000

    I don’t know if the announced number of 70 000 people descending Li river each day is correct or not. What I know is that we feel like being part of a long caravan, always with a couple of boats ahead and behind us. 70 000, with 100 people per boat makes 7000 boats, which seems too exaggerated, but, anyway, you do never count on a calm and lonely...

  • Guilin Taxis

    Taxis are plentiful in Guilin and are the most convenient way to get around the city. The minimum fare is 9 RMB, which is about $1.50. It is hard to run up a fare above $5 unless you are going well outside the city, such as a trip to the airport. The vast majority of Guilin's taxi drivers do not speak English. Therefore, you will need to have your...


Guilin Shopping

See all 22 Shopping in Guilin
  • Shopping Centre

    We were very nearby this shopping centre, across from the Botanic Gardens...they had a supermarket, department store and 3 floors - one mostly dedicated to womens wear, one to mens wear and one to childrens.

  • Pearls

    HELP!The word came to my mind, but didn't reach the mouth, when we were received by 5 elegant girls, modeling... pearls. A rational analysis gave me some tranquility:" I'm with Americans, so, THIS TIME, someone else will pay the show. I will escape!"Pure illusion! THAT necklace was... inevitable.Hope again: the employee, in her diligence to sell...

  • Vendors in Li River

    In Li River cruise, one raft - just one raft – approached, paddling, to the boat and offered some crafts to the tourists. That was something we should expect, but the surprise was… only one? Funny! China is really different!


Guilin Local Customs

  • Stalls in the Water

    It was hot, very hot, when we went to the Elephant’s Trunk park. We envied the lucky guys that were lazing in the shade, with the feet in the water. That was the true image of serenity and easy comfort.

  • Cards

    One common detail in China’s way of life is the way people gather in the streets to play, or to dance. Mahjong or cards were played everywhere, but the funniest thing that I saw was the contrast between the lined employees in the modern malls, and the ease of the workers in the public underground market, in the absence of clients…

  • Organization

    Atten-hut!Stand at ease!Li, you wash the dishesXi, you pass the dishes to the roomPi, you take care of the costumer’s requestsTi, you take care of the drinks.Di, you smile at everybody, and help the other if needed.Is that understood? Let’s move inside and work.Atten-ut!Right face!Forward… march!


Guilin Warnings and Dangers

  • The long last hour

    The best of the trip in Li River is in the middle, so we may split it in three parts: the first one, when we “go to the party”, the second one, when we “enjoy the party”, and the third one, when we ”come from the party”. This means that the final part gets a little boring, turning the arrival in Yangshuo in a pleasant relief. If you decide to use...

  • Shallow Waters

    In summer the water is so shallow that, here and there it is hard to believe that the big boat will pass. I heard that sometimes it gets so shallow that is absolutely impossible to pass. So, since that descent is the great reason to a trip to Guilin or Yangshuo, if you go in the end of summer you better check out in advance how are the things, or...

  • Haze

    “A good photo” is the dream of every tourist descending the Li River,but nature has its last word. We left Guilin with rain, the guide saying that it was good for photo because it would open at any minute, probably without haze. Well, we had rain, haze, and no open sun. Different looks, different ambiences, provided several different results. Banu...


Guilin Tourist Traps

  • 7 Horses

    While you descend Li river the loudspeaker (and the supplied brochure), are putting names in everything that justifies a look. A large mountain with stripes in its slopes is said to be “the 7 horses”. OK. It's there! Don’t try to find the horses: one is out for a race in Hong Kong, two are mating in the other side of the mountain, and the other...

  • Local Wine

    After lunch we were invited to taste a local wine on board. Some people thought that it was included, but not, they charged 50 RMB. I did taste it. It was a sweet wine, smelling like flowers, but… fresh and balanced. Not bad! No need to say! I know that they charged the price of a couple of bottles, but... we were tourists, weren't we?

  • Girls of Guilin

    Girls who dress up in traditional local costumes are everywhere in Guilin. These particular girls were at Fubo Shan by the "Sword Testing Rock" and, as I had only been in China for a few days, at the time, to me were a bit of a novelty and so I parted with some cash in order to have my photo taken with them. Some might say I've been had but others...


Guilin What to Pack

  • Packing Tips

    If you are flying within China, there is a weight restriction of 20 kilos per person for checked luggage. You can carry up to 150 kilos, but you will be charged extra (not a lot) for the overage. Kleenex and anti-bacterial wipes. For restroom use. A must take! Our family doctor also gave us Rx's for Lomotil and Cipro in case we contracted a...

  • All the gears you need ;-)

    I had 3 cameras with me. A basic (28 mm) for strangers (if you'd like photos of yourself from the trip); this works best for anyone you can find in the vicinity. An SLR (25mm - 150 mm) for majority of the shots. A digital camera for easy uploading & cheaper alternative to trial shots. I had 260 mb of disk space but still not enough!In addition,...

  • Packing List

    PACK LIGHT! You'll pick up more stuff as you travel and buy things, and it'll just get crazier trying to keep track of everything and lug it around. Best advice is to take one backpack with minimal amounts of stuff. I made the mistake of having 2 packs, which ended up being a pain in the butt since they were so full at the end! It's very hot and...


Guilin Off The Beaten Path

  • Investment

    It was a simple and nice idea, the installation of some statues of elephants playing in the water, in Elephant's Trunk park. It gave expression to the shallow and calm borders of the river, and integrates well in the landscape and touristy attraction.

  • Raft Trips

    For those without time to descend the Li river (will it be anyone that goes to Guilin without descending the river ?), it’s possible to make a small trip around the elephant’s trunk in a typical raft, protected from the sun and rain. We had no time to approach the sailors, and check the prices (well... we descended the river…).

  • Crystal Bridge

    I wrote in my Tacoma page about the disappointment that was my visit to its glass bridge, by Chihuli. Maybe because of it (and because I couldn’t read any special reference to this one, in Guilin), I didn’t approach the Crystal Bridge in Banyan Lake. Maybe glass, maybe plastic, maybe both, it surely stands closer to what I was expecting from a so...


Guilin Sports & Outdoors

  • Swimming in Li River

    Most local folks who live nearby the Li River know how to swim. By wearing just an underwear, they will just swim to their heart's content. Water is clean and calm and most of all it's free and you won't be caught by police. There's even a swimming competition held during winter.

  • Waterfall Climbing

    There are six waterfalls in Gudong National Park and all are suitable for climbing. You don't need any climbing gear just a pair of shoes made from grass will do. It only costs RMB5 per pair and is non-slippery. Along the way, there's a metal chain hanging on all the waterfalls. Use it as a guide and also for support in climbing.I'm a bit doubtful...

  • Bumper Cars

    Check out the Bumper Cars. They were fun to watch people enjoying themselves. It was mostly dads riding the cars with their young children.


Guilin Favorites

See all 32 Favorites in Guilin
  • Selected sights

    In the fast developing cities, it's easy to loose the image of China. Big buildings, large avenues, compose quarters that could be...everywhere else in the world. However, here and there, even in the most transformed cities, it's possible to see the views that filled our imaginary. Fir Lake in Guilin is one of those places.

  • Shopping

    I couldn’t see any difference between the ambiance and social conditions of Guilin, and any touristy city in the west. Modernity, mass consummation, expansive youth, safety in the streets, only one warning: pickpockets! Once again, as in most western cities… All the times that I separated some meters from Fernanda, a new kind girl offered to be my...

  • Night Market

    Half of the main street, in central Guilin, is closed each night for the night market (at least while we were there!). For several hundred meters, three row of stalls sell all kind of crafts, for locals and tourists.Next morning the traffic flows normally, without signs of the crowds and huge deals of... a few hours before.


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Map of Guilin

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