Top 10 Things to Do in Guilin

You can see how beautiful the Guilin’s scenery is from an old saying in China, “Guilin's scenery is the best in the world”. Whether is it true? You can confirm it on your own. As one of the China's best tourist cities, Guilin is famous for its natural scenery. Most of the top 10 things to do in Guilin are about enjoying the landscape with mountains and rivers. So what are the top attractions to visit on earth? Wait and see.


Cruising on Li River

Li River Cruise, Guilin
Cruising from Guilin to Yangshuo, a water way around 80 km (50 miles), is also called Li River Essence Tour. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Guilin. Along the way, the blue sky, green mountains with strange rocks and the clear water compose a beautiful painting. Boarding on a comfortable cruise to appreciate the attractions like Yellow Cloth Shoal which was printed on the note CNY 20 will really be an unforgettable experience.

 Recommended Tour:  3 Days Guilin Tour from $409

 Book a 3 Star Li River Cruise.
 Book a 4 Star Li River Cruise.

Elephant Trunk Hill – Landmark of Downtown Guilin

Elephant Trunk Hill, Guilin
Elephant Trunk Hill is located in the center of Guilin City and it is one of the most famous landmark sceneries. The shape of the hill is like a giant elephant sucking the water from Li River with its nose. That’s why its name is Elephant Trunk Hill. On the hill, there is a brick tower Puxian Pagoda which was built in Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). Another good place to see the Hill is Love Island which is to the north of the Hill. You cannot miss the interesting Elephant Trunk Hill and it deserves one of the best places to visit in Guilin.  

 Recommended Tour with the Hill:  Guilin 1 Day Tour

 Book an Elephant Trunk Hill ticket.

Longji Rice Terraces, Longsheng

Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces, Longsheng
Longji Rice Terraces is a large-scale terraced field group in Longsheng, about 90 km (56 miles) from Guilin, which definitely is one of best places to visit. Many people come here to enjoy the landscape and the sunrise view. In addition, several ancient minority villages consist of Zhuang and Yao nationalities inhabited here for hundreds of years. Thus you can appreciate the landscape while experiencing the customs of ethnic minorities.

In fact, you can enjoy different landscape in different seasons. In spring, people start to irrigate, you can see the terraces are like mirrors. In summer, green pictures make you feel the vigor. In autumn, the golden terraces shining in the sunlight can be a really beautiful painting. In winter, the white winding terraces in snowy days will give you a different impression.

 Recommended Tour:  4 Days Guilin Tour to Longsheng and Yangshuo from $549

 Book a Longji Rice Terraces ticket.

Hiking along the Li River

Li River Hiking, Guilin
To enjoy the best landscape of Li River, hiking along the river is certainly one of top things to do in Guilin. The most popular hiking route is start off from Yangdi Village to Xingping Town. Via this way, you can enjoy most of the beauty from different angles. Besides, you can also enjoy the Li River by bamboo raft in some sections. However, not everyone can choose this way. The physical requirements are a little high since the whole journey may take around 5 hours. For those outdoor enthusiasts, you cannot miss it.

 Recommended Tour:   5 Days Hiking Tour around Guilin, Longsheng, Yangshuo

Enjoying the Panorama on Xianggong Mountain

Xianggong Mountain, Yangshuo
Referring to the top things to do in Guilin, enjoying an impressive view of Li River must be on the list. Xianggong Mountain near Yangshuo is no doubt an excellent position to overlook the First Bay of the Li River. You can see the limpid Li River winding through the mountains, which is very magnificent. The sunrise and sunset views here are also very impressive, which attract a lot of shutterbugs.

The Xianggong Moutain is not very high and it takes about 20 minutes to climb up. However, the road condition is not very well, so take care when climbing and going down. 

Cycling around Yangshuo

Cycling in Yangshuo
If we say the scenery of Guilin is the best, then Yangshuo will be the highlight of it. One of the top things to do in Yangshuo is cycling in the countryside. You will have an opportunity to enjoy the Ten-Mile Gallery, which is a section of the picturesque road in south of the town. Along the way, you can appreciate the endless mountains with pure rural landscape. Some particular scenic spots along the way are also worth visiting like Totem Ancient Path and Butterfly Spring Park. 

 Recommended Tour:   Guilin Yangshuo 4 Days Tour Itinerary from $509

Drifting on Yulong River

Yulong River Rafting
Yulong River, near the Ten-Mile Gallery in Yangshuo is one section of Li River, which contains some essence landscapes. Drifting on Yulong River is one of the fun things to do in Yangshuo, because through this way you can greatly view the pastoral scenery on both sides of the river. In general, cycling to enjoy the Ten-Mile Gallery and drifting to view Yulong River are the best way to sightsee around Yangshuo.

In the process of raft drifting, it is better to raise the feet while going through some embankments to avoid the water spattering, and pay attention to your cameras and mobile phones in case of dropping in water.

Strolling around Yangshuo West Street

Yangshuo West Street
Speaking of the free things to do in Guilin, you cannot miss strolling around the West Street in Yangshuo. The West Street has a long history with more than 1,400 years and is a “Global Village” in China. There are so many foreigners living there, nearly tripling as the local people. So it’s easy for you to see the buildings combining Chinese and exotic characteristics. Some fantastic stores stand on both sides of the street and you can purchase some souvenirs. What’s more, tasting some food or drinking with your friends here will be awesome. 

Outdoor Performance: Impression Sanjie Liu

Impression Sanjie Liu
One of the must things to do in Guilin at night is to enjoy the performance of Impression of Sanjie Liu, which is played in the world's largest landscape theater in Yangshuo. The stage is a two square kilometers area of Li River with the background of 12 peaks. The performance consists of seven chapters based on a folk legend of Sanjie Liu, a legendary female folk singer. You can enjoy the classical folk songs and watch the ethnic customs and locals’ life, which will definitely leave you a deep impression.

 Recommended Tour with the Show:
 12 Days Luxury China Tour of Beijing, Xi'an, Guilin, Shanghai from $3338

Reed Flute Cave

Reed Flute Cave, Guilin
Guilin is a beautiful city with typical karst landform and there are a lot of karst caves to explore. Among them, Reed Flute Cave is the most splendid one. As one of the must-see places in Guilin, the cave is like a magnificent underground palace containing a large number of exquisite stalagmites, stone pillars, stone mantles and stone flowers. Especially in the deep of cave, the Crystal Palace is like a fairyland under the colorful lights.

 Recommended Tour with the Cave:  Guilin 2 Days Tour

 Book a Reed Flute Cave ticket.
- Last updated on Apr. 21, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Top 10 Things to Do in Guilin
Asked by William from SOUTH AFRICA | Nov. 07, 2020 07:48Reply
Hello. We are thinking of staying in Guilin for 4 days.
What would you recommend? Is it better to start in Guillin and then go to Yangshuo. I was thinking of spending a whole day in Guilin and night in Guilin, going to the elephant trunk hill and the pagodas and walking around. Then taking the cruise to Yanshuo to the next day and then spending the next 2 days there. Would you recommend doing the trip like this? And is it possible to take your baggage on the river cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo. Last question, where is the Reed Flute Cave situated?
Answers (1)
Answered by Alyssa | Nov. 12, 2020 17:52

1. Yes, your travel route will be ok. And you will have enough time to tour around. Don't worry.
2. Yes, you can take your baggage on the river cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo.
3. Reed Flute Cave is located about 5 kilometers (3 miles) northwest of downtown Guilin.

Hope helpful!
Asked by Lee from MALAYSIA | Nov. 06, 2019 05:08Reply
Hi, we are thinking of going to Guilin from Guangzhou in the afternoon by train for 2 days 1 night.
I understand that it will be winter. Is it advisable to go for this short time? If so, where should overnight? In Guilin/Yangshuo? Thanks.
Answers (1)
Answered by Luke from DENMARK | Nov. 08, 2019 00:01

Yes, it is still advised to go there. The weather condition would be good. Don't worry. You are suggested to find a hotel in Guilin.
Asked by Edward Ben Woo from UNITED STATES | Oct. 27, 2019 15:21Reply
Where do you suggest to eat breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner that is not spicy in Guilin?
Answers (2)
Answered by Bobby from CANADA | Oct. 29, 2019 02:34

Guilin cuisine is famous for its spicy and fresh flavours. Maybe you can try Xiaonanguo, a popular restaurant chains.
Answered by Edward Ben Woo from U.S.A. | Oct. 30, 2019 10:39

Thank-you very much for your quick response! Looking forward to visiting beautiful Guilan this February!
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