Guilin, located in the northeast tip of the Guangxi province, is a hidden gem that offers breathtaking natural landscapes and rich cultural experiences.
With its scenic Karst mountains, historic sites, and vibrant river trails, Guilin has become a popular tourist destination for both locals and foreigners alike.
Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a unique travel experience, Guilin has something to offer everyone.
In this blog post, we will explore the 15 best things to do in Guilin, China, ensuring that your visit to this enchanting city is nothing short of extraordinary.
Admire the Gorgeous Limestones at Reed Flute Cave
One of the top attractions in Guilin is the Reed Flute Cave, known as the “Palace of Natural Art.” Located just 5 kilometers from the city center, this incredible cave showcases a stunning display of stalactites and stalagmites that have formed over 180 million years.
As you explore the cave, you’ll be mesmerized by the intricate rock formations that resemble mythical creatures and popular landmarks.
Some formations even bear nicknames such as Lion Rock, Crystal Palace, and Pines in the Snow.
Don’t miss the chance to witness the beauty of Reed Flute Cave, a true marvel of nature.
Bask in the History of Elephant Trunk Hill
Explore Elephant Trunk Hill, one of the most iconic landmarks in Guilin! This incredible natural karst formation looks like an elephant drinking water from the Li River and holds special significance in Chinese mythology.
Take a walk around the park and enjoy attractions such as Water Moon Cave, Puxian Pagoda and Yunfeng Temple.
Don’t forget to stay for sunset – the perfect way to finish your exploration of this amazing spot.
Shop for Local Wares at Xicheng Pedestrian Street
For a taste of Guilin’s local culture, head to Xicheng Pedestrian Street. Located just five minutes away from the city center, this bustling street is a paradise for shopaholics and food enthusiasts.
Explore a wide range of traditional handicrafts, including bamboo products and carvings, which Guilin is famous for. Indulge in the local cuisine and try popular dishes such as Guilin rice noodles and Yangshuo beer fish.
Don’t forget to take home a bottle of Guilin Three-Treasures Sanhua wine, made from the spring water of the Lijiang province.
Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Xicheng Pedestrian Street, especially at night when it comes alive with locals and tourists.
Immerse in Art and History at the Guilin Art Museum
If you’re an art lover or history enthusiast, a visit to the Guilin Art Museum is a must. Established in 1997, it is the largest museum in the area and houses a wide collection of traditional Chinese landscapes and artifacts.
The museum, situated close to South Lake Park, houses a vast collection of Chinese art, including traditional calligraphy, depictions of architecture and landscapes, and creations by emerging artists.
Take a stroll through this cultural haven and immerse yourself in the rich art and history of Guilin.
Take a Snapshot at Two Rivers and Four Lakes
Nestled in the heart of Guilin, Two Rivers, and Four Lakes is a picturesque attraction that offers breathtaking views of the Li and Taohua Rivers, as well as the Rong, Shan, Gui, and Mulong Lakes.
This scenic area spans over 380,000 sq km. It’s best to visit in the evening to see the stunning reflection of lights on the traditional buildings and pagodas.
Take a leisurely walk or opt for a cruise to fully appreciate the stunning landscapes and historical sites. Two Rivers and Four Lakes is truly a feast for the eyes and a photographer’s paradise.
Observe Buddhist Customs at Riyue Shuangta Cultural Park
Riyue Shuangta Cultural Park is a unique tourist destination that showcases different facets of Chinese culture. Located in the Shanhu Lake area, the park is home to two pagodas, the Sun and Moon pagodas, which offer panoramic views of the city and a glimpse into Buddhist customs.
Ascend the nine-layer Sun pagoda to ring the copper bell for Buddhist blessings and enjoy a breathtaking view from the top floor.
Explore the seven-layer Moon pagoda, which houses statues of philosophers and remnants of ancient Chinese art.
Immerse yourself in the tranquility and spiritual atmosphere of Riyue Shuangta Cultural Park.
Take a Hike on Moon Hill
Moon Hill is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Moon Hill, named after a rock with a moon-shaped hole, offers hiking, rock climbing, and cycling activities.
Embark on a hike through the scenic Yangshuo countryside and admire the breathtaking views along the way. Visit Moon Hill Village located at the foot of the rock, where you can grab refreshments before continuing your exploration.
Moon Hill is easily accessible by public transportation or by renting a bike for a more immersive experience.
Enjoy Traditional Buddhist Fare at Nengren Temple
Nengren Temple is a must-visit destination for those seeking a unique cultural experience in Guilin. Located in the Xiufeng District, this Buddhist temple is open to worshippers and visitors alike.
Enjoy a vegetarian meal at the on-site restaurant, which offers traditional Buddhist fare served in a buffet-style manner. Sample various dishes made with fresh and flavorful ingredients, providing a glimpse into the Buddhist culinary tradition.
Nengren Temple is not only a place of worship but also a place to savor the essence of Buddhist culture and traditions.
Experience a Slice of Hong Kong at the Little Hong Kong Market
Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Little Hong Kong Market, an underground expanse located in the heart of Guilin.
This market offers a taste of Hong Kong’s bustling street markets and is a favorite among both local Hong Kongers and tourists.
Explore the busy walkways lined with shops selling various items, including souvenirs, handbags, and t-shirts. Indulge in Hong Kong street food fare such as curry fish balls and clay pot rice.
Little Hong Kong Market is a lively and exciting place to experience the energy of Guilin.
Take in the Traditional Architecture at Shiwai Taoyuan
Shiwai Taoyuan, also known as the “peach blossom land,” is a park located in the Yangshuo countryside. This serene park features traditional village architecture combined with lush natural flora, offering a tranquil escape from bustling city life.
Take a leisurely walk around the park and admire the picture-perfect landscapes of the traditional buildings.
Explore the park by the water and take a boat ride to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Shiwai Taoyuan. This hidden gem is a perfect place to relax and appreciate the traditional charm of Guilin.
Discover the Biggest Royal Mausoleum at Guilin Jinjiang King Tomb
Guilin Jinjiang King Tomb is a historical site that offers a glimpse into the rich royal heritage of Guilin. Located in the Guilin Yao mountains, this mausoleum is the final resting place for over eleven generations of the Jinjiang Royal family of the Ming Dynasty.
Explore the well-preserved tombs and learn about the fascinating history of this royal lineage. Take a cable car ride to enjoy a scenic view of the surrounding natural skyline.
Guilin Jinjiang King Tomb is a testament to the grandeur and significance of Guilin’s royal past.
Catch a Show at the Linjiang Theater
Immerse yourself in the rich cultural traditions of Guilin by attending a show at the Linjiang Theater. This cultural hotspot showcases performances that pay homage to traditional folklore.
Experience the enchanting “Fantastic Guilin” show, which highlights the unique folk customs of the Miao, Dong, and Zhuang nationalities.
The performance combines traditional Chinese songs and dances with elaborate costumes and dazzling background landscapes.
Catch the captivating “Dreamlike Lijiang” show, a dazzling fusion of acrobatics and ballet that tells the story of the Li River’s rich history. These shows are a testament to the vibrant cultural scene in Guilin.
Conquer All Peaks at Seven Star Park
Explore the largest park in Guilin, Seven Star Park, which is named after its seven peaks. This park offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy.
Visit the Guilin Seven Star Zoo, which houses some of the oldest living pandas in China.
Walk across the Flower Bridge, the park’s main entrance, and enjoy the abundant plant and animal life that surrounds it.
Explore the stunning Seven Star Cave and admire the natural structures and formations. Seven Star Park is a haven for nature lovers and offers a diverse range of experiences to discover.
Take a Sip at the Guilin Tea Science and Research Institute
Located northeast of Guilin, the Guilin Tea Science and Research Institute is a haven for tea enthusiasts. Founded in 1965, this institute is home to over 250 varieties of tea plants and offers a unique insight into the art of tea making.
Take a tour of the grounds and witness the process of picking tea leaves, brewing, drying, and processing for consumption.
Experience the aroma and flavor of freshly brewed jasmine, oolong, and traditional green teas.
The institute also provides a picturesque landscape where you can relax and enjoy the tranquility of Guilin. Discover the world of tea at the Guilin Tea Science and Research Institute.
Roam the Campus at Jinjiang Princes’ Palace
Jinjiang Princes’ Palace is a historical artifact that holds great importance in Chinese history and culture. During the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Shouqian, the great-nephew of the first emperor, lived in this palace.
Explore the campus and visit cultural structures such as the Zhuangyuan Jidi Arch, Study Cave, Examination House, Couple Tree, and Fortune Well.
Each artifact tells a unique story that shaped Chinese culture dating back to the Qing Dynasty. Roam the campus and immerse yourself in the rich history and cultural heritage of Jinjiang Princes’ Palace.
Guilin, with its stunning natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant atmosphere, is a destination that should not be missed.
Plan your visit to Guilin today and immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of this hidden gem in China.