Guilin, China, is a breathtaking destination that has captivated travelers for centuries with its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and historical charm.
Nestled in the southern part of the country, Guilin is renowned for its majestic karst mountains, meandering rivers, and lush greenery. Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or a cultural explorer, Guilin has something to offer for everyone.
Keep reading for a list of top things to do in Guilin for an unforgettable visit!
Here are the top 10 things to do in Guilin, China
Ready to explore Guilin? Check out these activities.
1. Li River Cruise
Embark on a mesmerizing Li River cruise to witness the surreal beauty of the karst mountains that rise dramatically from the water’s edge. The journey takes you through a picturesque landscape of limestone peaks, tranquil villages, and emerald rice paddies.
The most popular stretch is between Guilin and Yangshuo, where the river unveils its most breathtaking scenery. Bask in the tranquil ambiance as you cruise along the crystal-clear waters, immersing yourself in the serene surroundings.
2. Reed Flute Cave
Step into a mystical underground world at the Reed Flute Cave, a natural limestone cave that dates back over 180 million years. The cave’s unique name comes from the reeds that grow near its entrance, which were once used to make flutes.
Inside, you’ll be awestruck by a kaleidoscope of colorful stalactites, stalagmites, and rock formations, all magically illuminated by colorful lights. The cave’s natural beauty combined with the artistic lighting creates a surreal experience that will leave you in awe.
3. Elephant Trunk Hill
Embrace the iconic symbol of Guilin at Elephant Trunk Hill, a rock formation resembling an elephant drinking from the Li River. The hill is located at the confluence of the Li River and Peach Blossom River, and its unique shape has made it a must-visit spot for travelers.
Take a leisurely stroll through the park surrounding the hill, and climb to the top for an impressive panoramic view of Guilin’s skyline and the rivers below.
4. Longsheng Rice Terraces
Venture beyond Guilin to the Longsheng Rice Terraces, also known as the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces. Carved into the hillsides by the Zhuang and Yao ethnic minorities over 700 years ago, these terraces resemble the scales on a dragon’s back when filled with water.
The best time to visit is during the planting and harvest seasons when the terraces turn vibrant green and golden yellow, respectively. Trek through the terraces, interact with the locals, and immerse yourself in the rural charm of this awe-inspiring landscape.
5. Seven Star Park
Embrace the beauty of nature at Seven Star Park, Guilin’s largest comprehensive park, offering a myriad of attractions for visitors. Stroll through the verdant gardens, explore the mysterious Seven Star Cave, and encounter the park’s most famous residents, the adorable giant pandas, at the Panda House.
The park is also home to cultural relics, including the Camel Hill, Seven Star Rock, and Flower Bridge, making it a perfect blend of nature and history.
6. Sun and Moon Twin Pagodas
Marvel at the architectural marvel of the Sun and Moon Twin Pagodas, standing elegantly on the banks of Shanhu Lake. These two pagodas are connected by an underground tunnel and rise gracefully into the sky. The Sun Pagoda is octagonal and symbolizes brightness, while the Moon Pagoda is round and represents softness.
Climb to the top for a breathtaking view of Guilin’s cityscape and the sparkling waters of Shanhu Lake.
7. Fubo Hill
Discover the historical significance and natural beauty of Fubo Hill, a prominent karst hill located on the western bank of the Li River. The hill is adorned with intricate carvings, inscriptions, and ancient stone Buddhas dating back to the Tang Dynasty.
Explore the numerous caves and grottoes within the hill, such as the Thousand Buddha Cave and the Pearl-Returning Cave. The highlight is the panoramic view of Guilin and the Li River from the hill’s summit.
8. Yao Mountain
Embark on an adventure to Yao Mountain, the highest and most renowned mountain in Guilin. Accessible by a cable car ride, this mountain offers breathtaking vistas of the city and its surrounding landscapes.
Visit the iconic Love Peach Garden and experience the vibrant Yao culture at the Yao Ethnic Village. For the more adventurous, hiking to the summit is a rewarding and scenic experience, especially during the autumn season when the foliage turns a splendid array of colors.
9. Guilin Tea Plantations
Delve into the tea culture of Guilin by visiting its lush tea plantations. Longjing, green tea, and jasmine tea are some of the local specialties. Take a guided tour to learn about the tea-making process, from cultivation to the final cup. You can even participate in a traditional tea ceremony and savor the delicate flavors of freshly brewed tea amid the serene surroundings of the plantations.
10. Nightlife at Zhengyang Pedestrian Street
Experience the vibrant nightlife of Guilin at Zhengyang Pedestrian Street, a bustling hub of entertainment, shopping, and dining. The street comes alive after sunset with neon lights, street performances, and a variety of delicious local delicacies. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere as you shop for souvenirs, taste street food, and interact with the friendly locals.
Travel visa for China
Most foreign travelers intending to visit China, including Guilin, require a visa. China has different visa categories, such as tourist visas (L-visas), business visas (M-visas), and others, depending on the purpose of your visit. The specific requirements and application process can vary based on your nationality and the type of visa you are applying for.
To ensure accurate and up-to-date visa information, please consult the official website of the Chinese embassy or consulate in your country or contact them directly for the most current China visa requirements and application procedures.
It is essential to start the visa application process well in advance of your planned travel dates to allow for any potential processing delays.
Pack your bags and explore Guilin!
Guilin, with its enchanting landscapes and rich cultural heritage, promises a journey of wonder and discovery. Whether you’re cruising along the Li River, exploring ancient caves, or hiking through terraced fields, the top 10 things to do in Guilin offer a perfect blend of natural beauty, historical charm, and immersive experiences that will create cherished memories for a lifetime.
So, pack your bags, and set out to explore the mesmerizing beauty of Guilin, China.