Guilin Travel Guide, Guangxi
Located in the northeast of Guangxi Province along the Li River, Guilin is famous for its wonderful scenery of Li River and the karst peaks around covered in lush greenery.
Guilin is one of China's worst tourist traps, entirely dependent on visitors for its income and flaunting an expensive service industry tailored to the well-heeled tour groups that are forever passing through.
Well planted with trees and laden with bizarrely shaped, legend-ridden outcrops, the city is an attractive enough place to linger before embarking on the more interesting Li River cruise , but there are downsides - especially if you're on a budget.
Most obviously, locals unable to tap the tourist dollar have to suffer spiralling living costs, and most independent travellers detest the mercenary attitudes of Guilin's all too worldly inhabitants - avoid letting students guide you around, unless you want to end up footing the bill at the most expensive restaurant they can find. If all this sounds daunting, it's quite simple to abandon Guilin's high prices for the more mellow town of Yangshuo or for the spectacular Bragon's Backbone Terrace in Longsheng.
Today, Guilin is not much more than a traffic hub to Yangshuo or Longsheng for most of the backpackers.
How long? - As short as you can.
Getting there & away
Guilin Liangjiang International Airport is 30km to Guilin city, having more than 60 flights connecting to most of the major cities within China. There are also direct iternational flights to Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Thailand and Japan.
Shuttle buses from the airport to the city terminating at Minhang Skyscraper (Minhang Dasha 民航大厦), with a ticket of Y25 and 40 minutes' drive. From Minhang Dasha, there is a shuttle bus to the airport every 30 minutes, the latest departing at 20:00.
A taxi ride to the airport costs Y80.
It is convenient to reach other major cities by train from Guilin. There are two main railway stations-North Guilin Railway station and South Guilin Railway Station (Guilin Railway Station).
Guilin South Railway station is at the crossroad of Shanghai Road and South Zhongshan Road. This is the main railway station in the city center.
North Guilin Railway Station is in the outskirts of Guilin, and tourists can take Bus No. 18 and 99 to arrive at this station.
Note: Guilin is a route stop of long distance trains, so it is very hard to buy sleeper tickets on the trains traveling northwards. Anyhow it is always convenient to reach Nanjing and Liuzhou. There is a very comfortable sleeper train between Shenzhen-Guilin passing by Guangzhou, about 15hrs journey.
There are 3 bus stations in Guilin: Main Bus Station (Qiche Zongzhan), South Bus Station (Chengnan Qiche Zhan) and North Gate bus station (Beimen Qiche zhan).
Main Bus Station (Qiche Zhongzhan): 427 South Zhongshan Road, Guilin city. There are buses to Guangxi/ Guangdong Province.
How to get there: Take sightseeing bus No. 100, Bus No. 99, 2, 3, 10, 11.
Buses to Yangshuo leave from South Railway Station. In case you miss the bus, you can go to the Main Bus Station and take the long distance shuttle bus heading for Guangdong Province and get off at Yangshuo
Main routes by boat are along Xiangjiang and Li River. Traveling along Li River, besides destination Yangshuo, tourists can pass Wuzhou and reach Zhujiang directly, where they can take a ferry to Hongkong, Shenzhen and Macau.
As a tourist city, Guilin has a convenient transportation network. The free buses bring much convenience and benefit to tourists. These buses depart between 9:00-17:00 although you will need to wait longer to take a free bus.
Guilin City 4A scenic area free tourist buses - when tourists travel on 4A scenic spots, as long as they buy the ticket from the appointed ticket sales office, then tourists can travel by the tourist buses for free provided by tourism development company. The tourist buses depart from Qixingyuan every 15 minutes and stop at each attraction for three minutes.
In day time (6:30-23:00): Within 2km RMB 7, 2-4km Y1.6/km, exceeding 4km, Y2.-/km. In the evening (23:00-6:30): Starting price Y7.8, 2-4km: Y1.80/km, exceeding 4 km:Y2.4/km.
Bike rental is available in hotels and the main streets. Rent can be calculated by day or by the hour.
Try to avoid spending overnight in Guilin.
- The karst Peak
Guilin's most prominent karst peak are Wave Subduing Hill and Elephant Trunk Hill, each proudly showing off Guilin's unique scenery. Elsewhere in the city is the immense Seven Star Park with seven peaks and six caves as well as pavilions and gardens. On the northwest outskirts of the city lies the Reed Flute Cave, one of the most wonderful underground sights in the area.
- Li River Cruise
Few people coming to Guilin will skip a your in the Li River which bends all around the karst peaks. Withstanding the exorbitant cost, thousands of people still take the Li River cruise, which offers an amazing view of those beautiful yet strange hills as you glide your way downstream or upstream. You can also take the cruise to Yangshuo directly.