One of Southern China's most popular tourist destinations, Guilin is located along the Li River, the latter of which is considered one of the world's most picturesque bodies of water. With a diverse plant life that includes far more than the area's dominant Sweet Osmanthus, after which the city was named, Guilin has much to offer travellers of all ages and from all walks of life. Guilin is part of China's Guangxi autonomous region, and approximately 12 small ethnic groups call this area home.
Third behind Nanning and Liuzhou, Guilin is one of the three largest areas in the Guangxi region. Below are some must-see attractions and additional information about this beautiful, enchanting part of the world:
Featured Guilin Hotels
The Karst Mountains and Caves
The Karst Mountains and Caves showcase China's natural beauty, and this region's glorious landscape has drawn visitors since the Tang Dynasty in 729 A.D. The area's imposing structures and lovely topography have given it a reputation as a place in which to enjoy spiritual experiences. More and more people visit the mountains and caves each year, as news of their beauty continues to spread across the globe. Guided tours are available, but visitors can also choose to explore the entire Karst region independently, provided they follow local rules and ordinances.
In nearby Yangshuo, holidaymakers can rent bicycles and enjoy an excursion through the Guilin countryside. Cycling alongside orchards and paddy fields surrounded by the area's famous mountains is an activity that offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into rural China and its indigenous peoples. Many tourists stop along the bicycle route to chat to families and other travellers, and local residents are almost always willing to speak to visitors whenever possible. If language barriers are not a problem, such communication provides a one-of-a-kind experience with southern China natives.
Rock Climbing Excursions
Rock climbing in Guilin's Karst Mountains is another activity in which holidaymakers may wish to indulge when visiting this impressive area of China. Various clubs offer excursions for novices, expert climbers, and anyone in between. Therefore, essentially any visitor can enjoy this fun and interesting sport.
Chinese Calligraphy and Painting
Another highly popular activity in Guilin is Chinese painting and calligraphy. Classes typically run an hour in length, and participants are taught to paint simple pictures or use calligraphy tools to etch famous prayers or sayings on parchment paper. All tools are provided in such classes, including an ink grind, parchment paper, ink and a brush. Perfect for families with youngsters or individuals who simply want to indulge in a relaxing and unique activity, such classes have always been popular among Guilin tourists.
Chinese Cooking Class
Cooking classes are a favourite activity in the region as well, and most classes begin with a trip to one of the area's many local markets. At this time, participants choose and purchase the ingredients they will use in class. In most cases, those who participate are given the opportunity to make up to three meals, and the classes are generally held on rooftop patios that are shaded from the sun. At the end of the class, participants all sit down together to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Wild Nature Hikes Along the Li River
No trip to Guilin is complete without a nature hike along the lovely, unforgettable Li River. Excursions of this type offer a terrific opportunity for holidaymakers to enjoy an up close and personal look at the famous River itself, as well as the chance speak to one or more of the many farmers who live on it shore. The starting point is Yangdi, which is approximately a 45 minute drive from the centre of Guilin, and the entire hike is about five hours in length when taken at a medium pace.
Glorious Photo Opportunities
Guilin is home to some of the best photo opportunities in China, as its remarkable landscape offers more diversity than almost any other area in the country. The incomparable Karst landscape has attracted hundreds of thousands of photographers from around the world for the last five decades and this trend is likely to continue for many future years. Anyone who visits this area of China can anticipate an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience.