“Be still like a mountain and flow like a great river.”
– Lao Tzu
Guilin’s spectacular misty mountains and lush landscaping is unique both to China and to the rest of the world. It has been an inspiration to Chinese poets and artists throughout the centuries. Along every twist and turn of the beautiful Li River, mist-shrouded limestone mountains, in all shapes and sizes, rise out of the water to form one of the most dramatic settings we’ve ever seen. Guilin was without doubt the highlight of our trip to China.
Fun Guilin Attractions
Here are a few of Guilin’s top attractions that you won’t want to miss:
This popular attraction is aptly named because of its unique elephant-shaped hill. It looks like a giant elephant drinking water from the Li River. Highlights here include Water Moon Cave, Elephant Eye Cave and Puxian Pagoda.
Climb to the summit of Fubo Hill to enjoy superb views of Guilin. It’s about 320 steps up to the top… and 320 steps down again. Fubo Hill stands half on water and half on land. Its steps are quite steep and there’s no easy (or fast) way up… or down. Bring bottled water to keep you hydrated. The base of Fubo Hill houses the “Thousand-Buddha Cave” featuring extraordinary Buddhist carvings on the walls.
Li River Cruise
Guilin’s dramatic setting of misty mountains and lush landscaping seems to intensify as the boat winds its way along the scenic Li River. The River Cruise tours last for about 4-6 hours.
Longji Rice Terraces
Visit China’s most famous rice terraces. They’re magnificent!
Reed Flute Cave
Be sure to visit these incredible underground caves (pictured below). The huge subterranean cavern runs up to a quarter-of-a-mile long. Known as a “Palace of Natural Art,” it’s definitely worth taking a guided tour here if you have the time. Scenic spots along the caves include: Rising Sun over the Lion Forest, Hanging Waterfalls, Virgin Forest and Crystal Palace. The caves can be dark and slippery in places, so take care and wear comfortable flat shoes. Bring along a light jacket as it can get a bit chilly underground.
Seven Stars Park
The picturesque park is located in the Qixing district, a short distance from downtown Guilin. Named for its seven peaks, it resembles the Big Dipper constellation.
Shopping at Zhengyang Pedestrian StreetGuilin’s famous Zhengyang Pedestrian Street is popular with tourists and locals year-round. At night, the “walking” street comes alive. It’s lined with shops, restaurants and food stalls.
Tai Chi and Ballroom DancingJoin in a casual, early morning Tai Chi or Ballroom Dancing Class on Guilin’s street-lined Promenade, overlooking the Li River. Every morning, the locals come out to practice their martial art techniques. It’s a great way to start your day if you want to participate.
Yangshuo VillageThis beautiful old stone village of Yangshuo means “Bright Moon.” It is located just south of Guilin, where the Li River cruise boats end their tour.
Stroll through the streets of the old village and savor the views. Beautiful mountains of all shapes and sizes loom in the distance from every vantage point. Enjoy street shopping at the village’s vendor stalls. Don’t be shy about bargaining… it’s half the fun! Be prepared for crowds, especially during peak tourist season in Spring and Fall.
Like Guilin, its natural landscaping is stunning, with thousands of limestone mountains and bamboo trees lining the Li River. Scenic mountain spots include: Nine-Horse Painted Hill, Yellow Reflection Point, Xingping Village, Lotus Cave, Young Scholar Hill, Snow Lion Ridge, the Big Banyan Tree, Moon Hill, and Dragon River.
Xianggong MountainGet a birds-eye view of the scenic Li River. Xianggong Mountain is located in the beautiful Yangshuo countryside. Seeing this stunning landscape from a high vantage point is not to be missed.
Xicheng Night MarketXicheng Night Market is Guilin’s largest evening market. The pedestrian street is located on the Xicheng Road in downtown Guilin. Have fun browsing the stalls and bargaining with the street vendors.
Book Guilin Sightseeing Tours, Day Trips and Fun Things To Do
Enjoy a fun Li River Cruise and Full-Day Tour of Guilin and Yangshuo. Take a Classic Private Day Tour to Reed Flute Cave and Xianggong Mountain. Visit the famous Longji Rice Terraces.
Book Your Guilin Vacation
The Best Time To Visit Guilin
Guilin has a mild and rainy subtropical monsoon climate. The best months for cruising the Li River are April, May, September and October. Avoid July if you can – it’s the hottest month of the year. We visited Guilin in October and the weather was perfect. 🙂