Things to do in Guilin

Top 12 Best Things to Do in Guilin and Yangshuo: Cooking, Hiking, Rafting...

Lenn Liu
1898 Words/8 Minutes, By Lenn Liu, Updated June 26, 2024

When traveling to Guilin, besides visiting the top 10 attractions, we have compiled a list of things to do in Guilin that are worth experiencing. 

Top 1: Cruising & Bamboo Rafting on Li River

Cruising on Li RiverCruising on Li River

The Li River is one of the most beautiful rivers in Guilin. The best way to experience the beauty of Guilin’s landscape up close and adequately is cruising. A typical cruise route takes about four to five hours. When you visit the Li River along the way, you will see many scenic spots, such as Ten-mile Gallery, Huangbu Reflection and so on. On the cruise boat, you can enjoy the scenery, shopping and rest. You can cruise from Mopanshan Pier /Zhujiang Pier in Guilin to Longtoushan Pier in Yangshuo for the best experience.

Another way to visit Li River is by bamboo raft. Bamboo rafting is a better and traditional way to get closer to the Li River than a cruise boat. You can take the raft smoothly on the river, feeling the breeze around, and reach out your hand to touch the cool water. You will have a shorter and more adventurous route on a bamboo raft. It is recommended to take a bamboo raft in Li River within Yangshuo section or Xingping Ancient Town section.

Top 2: Li River Hiking

Except for visiting the Li River by boat, there is an increasingly popular way to appreciate the beauty of the landscape, that is, hiking, while the beauty of the Li River may not be fully appreciated from taking a boat. You can take a bamboo raft drifting from Yangdi Pier to Quanjiazhou, then hike slowly along the river, follow the path through the bamboo forest, and walk from Xingping Ancient town to Nine Horses Mountain scenic, enjoying the natural scenery along the way, which may take 4-5 hours. When walking through some village and garden, you may see some buffalo grazing and flocks of egrets roosting. You can also camp one night by the river, experience the sunrise and sunset, and fully appreciate the beauty of the Li River.

Top 3: Bamboo Rafting on Yulong River

Bamboo Rafting on Yulogn RiverBamboo Rafting on Yulogn River

Rafting is also a recommended way to enjoy the Yulong River. Rafting with a bamboo raft on the Yulong River, both sides of the picturesque landscape can be very enjoyable. Sitting on a leisurely bamboo raft, you can watch the rolling mountains and pastoral scenery along the banks. Along the way, you will pass the ancient town and many ancient bridges. Compared with Li River, Yulong River have a more flavor of rural life, through which you can watch women washing clothes, ducks swimming and farmers working in the fields. The most advisable route to visit Yulong River is from Jima Pier to Gongnong Bridge, which will take you around 1.5 hours.

Top 4: Yangshuo Cycling

Cycling in YangshuoCycling in Yangshuo

The world-famous Yangshuo, in addition to taking a cruise or a bamboo raft to visit the Li River, there is another way to experience Yangshuo, that is, cycling. Explore charming Yangshuo countryside from the town area to Moon Hill with a hired bike around the Ten-Mile Gallery or rent a bike from one of the many bicycles hire points in town, and head towards Guilin alone the Highway G321 to take in the breathtaking views and stunning scenery, enjoying the beautiful landscape idyllic scenery while enjoying the warm sunshine bath comfortably.

Top 5: Longji Terraces Hiking

Hiking in LongjiHiking in Longji

The Longji Terraces boast unique and stunning landscapes, resembling a magnificent painting co-created by nature and humanity. If you long to breathe the purest natural air, feel the gentle mountain breeze, and immerse yourself in nature, hiking the Longji Terraces is an ideal choice. There are three main recommended hiking routes in the Longji Terraces:

Ping'an Village to Guzhuang Village Route: This route spans approximately 15 kilometers. Hiking along the mountain path, you can enjoy natural sceneries such as terraces, bamboo forests, and streams. Upon reaching Guzhuang Village, you will find the famous Longji Terraces, which offer exceptional views of the terraced fields.

Ping'an Village to Dazhai Village Route: This route is about 10 kilometers long. Following the winding mountain roads, you will pass through the Jinkeng Scenic Area, where you can marvel at the spectacular terrace views. Upon arriving at Dazhai Village, the settlement of the Yao people, you can experience rich ethnic customs.

Ping'an Village to Jiulong Wuhu Route: This route covers about 8 kilometers. Along the way, you can appreciate famous spots such as the Seven Stars with the Moon and Jiulong Wuhu (Nine Dragons and Five Tigers).

Hiking any of these routes allows you to fully experience the beauty and cultural richness of the Longji Terraces.

Top 6: Watching the sunrise on Xianggong Hill

Xianggong Hill, it possesses the most beautiful sunrise in Guilin. Every sunrise, the viewing platform on the mountain is filled with photographers and tourists. It is easy to reach the top of Xianggong Hill in 10 minutes because the mountain is not very high. You can climb it at 5 am to grab off a good seat. Facing the nearly 360° bend, you will see a line of dawn slowly emerging in the horizon. The moon and stars slowly fade in the gradually clear light. Without exception, there was an exclamation from the crowd.

Top 7: Yangshuo Rock Climbing

As a thrilling sport, rock climbing has gained popularity among adventurous and extreme sports enthusiasts, especially the younger generation. Yangshuo, as a world-class rock climbing destination, boasts over 40 climbing venues and nearly a thousand climbing routes. With well-developed, high-quality routes, convenient transportation, and reasonable costs, it has become the preferred location for rock climbing enthusiasts nationwide. If you're interested in rock climbing, Yangshuo offers an opportunity to experience the joy of climbing. For beginners, friendly climbing venues like Swiss Cheese and Wine Bottle are recommended, while experienced climbers seeking challenges can explore the three major climbing venues in Yangshuo: White Mountain, Leipi Mountain, and Silong Mountain, which feature more difficult routes. The predominant rock type here is limestone, so climbers accustomed to granite may need some adjustment.

Top 8: Helicopter Tour in Yangshuo, Guilin

Overviewing Li RiverOverviewign Li River

Have you ever viewed the stunning landscapes of Guilin from a helicopter? If you have not had the chance before, now you can easily make it happen. Each year, Guilin's breathtaking scenery attracts numerous tourists from all over the world. Traditionally, visitors admire the landscapes either from the ground or from bamboo rafts on the river. Now, you can head to Gaotian highway intersection, Gaotian Town, Yangshuo County and take a helicopter ride, soaring up to 300 meters in the air. With trips ranging from 10 minutes to an hour, you can enjoy a bird's-eye view of the beautiful Yangshuo scenery. The scenery becomes more three-dimensional and exquisite, with highlights such as the Ten-Mile Gallery, picturesque views of Yulong River and the Li River unfolding beneath you. If you have always dreamed of viewing Guilin's landscapes from the sky, now is the perfect time to fulfill that dream.

Top 9: Impression Liu Sanjie

Impression Liu SanjieImpression Liu Sanjie

"Impression Liu Sanjie" is a grand outdoor performance that utilizes a two-kilometer section of the Li River as its stage, with a dozen of Guilin's picturesque mountains as the backdrop. The performance takes place under the open sky, with natural terraced fields serving as the audience seats. This spectacular show integrates elements such as Liu Sanjie's folk songs, the ethnic customs of Guangxi, and the scenic beauty of Guilin, which tells the story of a Zhuang ethnic girl who bravely stands up against oppressive landlords. It is so highly regarded that even the World Tourism Organization strongly recommends it. The performance typically runs twice a day, each lasting 70 minutes, and is open from 19:00 to 22:00 year-round.

Top 10: Bamboo Rice Making in Longji

Making bamboo riceMaking bamboo rice

Sticky rice or glutinous rice cooked in bamboo is a famous delicacy of ethnic groups in southwest China. During your journey, you can step onto the Longji Terrance, visit a family in Ping’an Village living in a wooden stilt house and learn how to make scented bamboo rice from them. By using the moisture and heat insulation properties of the fresh bamboo, the filling such as glutinous rice is baked for about 1 hours, and then you can get your own sweet and delicious bamboo rice from which you can experience folk wisdom of local people.

Top 11: Cooking in Yangshuo

Yangshuo cooking classYangshuo cooking class

While visiting the beautiful Yangshuo, besides admiring its stunning landscapes, you can also participate in cooking classes to personally experience the charm of Yangshuo cuisine. You can join a small cooking class at a picturesque riverside cooking school, with complimentary hotel pick-up and drop-off service. You will visit a local market with an English-speaking local instructor to select ingredients, and then prepare mouth-watering Yangshuo dishes under the instructor's guidance. This hands-on culinary experience is a delightful way to immerse yourself in the local culture and savor the authentic flavors of Yangshuo.

Top 12: Two Rivers and Four Lakes Night Cruise

Night sceneNight scene

Guilin's "Two Rivers and Four Lakes" refers to the Li River, Taohua River, Mulong Lake, Gui Lake, Rong Lake, and Shan Lake. This scenic area, originally formed during the Northern Song Dynasty, boasts a rich cultural heritage. If you visit Guilin, you must not miss the nighttime tour of the Two Rivers and Four Lakes. Taking a cruise on the water allows you to leisurely appreciate Guilin's beautiful nightscape, during which the lights reflecting on the river create shimmering ribbons of color, forming a picturesque scene. You'll see famous mountains like Elephant Trunk Hill, Fubo Hill, and Diecai Hill, as well as historical landmarks like Rainbow Bridge and the Sun and Moon Pagodas. For a perfect experience in the Two Rivers and Four Lakes, a 90-minute night cruise is highly recommended.

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Lenn Liu

Hi, I’m Lenn Liu, if you like my article, please share it with your friends. Any sugguestions on this article, please contact me. Thanks!

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