Guilin goes by many descriptions, one being the “world’s art show.” It is a city of scenic villages, sparkling rivers, canopied tropical mountains, hidden caves, carved rock formations, sculpted gardens, and a rich culture and colorful lore, which thrive in the midst of progress. There is every reason to linger, so allow enough time to appreciate each place and site. Guilin’s landmarks and breathtaking sights will remind you that life is not a race to the finish line; it involves meaningful stops and slowing down along turns. If life seemed to be an endless chase to you, take your breath and slow down. It is time to go to Guilin.
Best Time to Visit
The seasons in Guilin are always gentle. The humid climate is generally pleasant all through the year. Guilin is at its best from the spring months like April, onto summer and the very first weeks of autumn. As autumn comes to an end the temperature starts dropping and the winter can be quite cold. No matter when you choose to travel to Guilin, you will always find something special and return home refreshed and restored by your experience.
Due to the growth of tourism in the area, Guilin now counts on several buses specifically targeted for tourism. The buses ply most destinations and routes to the spots you might want to visit. And best of all, the ride on the buses is free of charge. They run through the day until 5 in the afternoon. Free bus transport is not something you would enjoy in other parts of the world. If you want to travel beyond the hours of the last bus trip, you can take a taxi or rent a bike. Riding a bicycle is a special way of exploring nature. Biking trails ply Guilin’s natural attractions such as the Li River and the famous Elephant Trunk hill. Walking around is also a great way to explore the streets, especially in the city. Walking allows you to wander to find little shops and hidden spots that aren’t as popular. Make sure to bring a map with you. Despite the growing tourism, few people speak English.
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations in Guilin are diverse and plentiful. The Fireworks Festival is a huge ethnic celebration and is a great spectacle to witness. There is no fixed date, however, and it can take place any time during the chilly winter up until October. The Song Festival, on the other hand, is celebrated every 3rd of March. People sing all kinds of melodies together, making the festival a truly genuine experience. Traditional Chinese holidays are also celebrated.
What to Do
The City of Guilin is a well-developed city sitting on natural marvels. This makes for urban comforts and busy streets, yet with just several rides or hikes, you will find scenic landscapes to enjoy and plenty of nature adventure to engage in. Here are some of the activities which we suggest you shouldn’t miss while in Guilin.
1) Hike by the Li River
The sloshing sound and verdant greens will refresh your spirit while you hike along the banks of Li River. A guided tour will not only allow you to pick the best sights but also give you a recount of the river’s history and traditional lore that have been retold countless times. Sling a camera and indulge in the bountiful scenes, there is no better way to capture the moment.
2) Bamboo Rafting
You might have had cruises, boat rides and ferry rides. But it is likelier that you haven’t been to a raft ride before. This is your chance; so hop on a bamboo raft and flow downstream to Yangshou. The ride will glide through a small section of the majestic river and allow you to quietly observe China’s serene natural splendor. The rafts are mostly motorized. You can also opt to move to one of the tributaries in the area, pole down and just enjoy the surroundings.
3) Watch the show called “The Impression Sanjie Liu”
The Impression Sanjie Liu is a fantastic show that runs for an hour. There is no need to brush up on Chinese; all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the quality of this evening show. Most hotels and tour guides sell the tickets, so they are very easy to find no matter where you are. The costumes, lighting, scenery and the skill of the performers amaze tourists no end.
Address: No.1 Tianyuan Road, Yangshuo County, China
4) Buy Local Goods
In Guilin you will encounter all kinds of intricate crafts and locally made products. You can shop for embroidered memorabilia, jade jewelry, bamboo carvings, art work, and other locally-made products. This is a great place to buy tea so make sure to bring home some local tea. Fancy drawing fans are also popular souvenir items.