China offers plenty of opportunities to tick a few destinations off your travel bucket list. The sheer number of cities and sights means it isn’t enough to visit once; many people return to China again and again. Alongside big name destinations like Beijing, Shanghai and Xi’an, Guilin in southern China is a must-visit. Known for its dramatic landscape and stunning natural beauty, the city offers a very different view of Chinese culture and is a welcome retreat for those who’ve just arrived from the bigger cities.
In this blog post, we take a closer look at Guilin, revealing the top sights to see and do in what’s affectionately known as ‘China’s first city’.
A popular destination for tourists
After being described by many as ‘the most beautiful landscape’, it’s no wonder that Guilin ranks fourth as one of the most visited destinations for tourists. The latest research revealed that just over 10% of all first time visitors to China made Guilin a part of their itinerary, only putting major cities like Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai ahead of it. As well as Guilin city receiving around 3.2 million tourists every year, the nearby town of Yangshuo is a popular haunt for visitors. Yangshuo County is home to iconic mountain Moon Hill, the renowned River Li and riverside shopping district West Street.
The relaxed and fun atmosphere of Guilin is what most remark on after their visit, with many attractions to choose from. Read more about exploring the natural beauty of Guilin.
Things to see in Guilin
There are so many must-sees when visiting this fantastic part of China, many of which are natural wonders and iconic sights. Elephant Trunk Hill, Li River, Reed Flute Cave, and Fubo Hill are the top sights for travellers.
Explore these beautiful natural sights with a relaxing river cruise, or book yourself onto a cycling or hiking tour to take on the rugged terrain for yourself. With its mountainous landscape, Guilin is the country’s foremost climbing destination, making it the perfect choice for thrill seekers. Guilin is also the perfect haven for tea drinkers as Culture Trip explains:
“Tea lovers should definitely visit the Guilin Tea Science and Research Institute located just north-east of Guilin. Covering over 100 acres, the institute was founded in 1965 and is home to 250 different tea plants. According to the institute’s website, the land used for the tea plantation was originally the tea garden for royalty during the Ming dynasty. Visitors can watch a demonstration showing how tea is picked, processed and brewed. The institute produces an impressive 42 tons of tea each year and is the largest of its kind in the Guangxi region.”
Foodies won’t be disappointed either. The city is known for its rice noodles, a local dish that can be enjoyed in eateries across the region.
Planning your trip to Guilin
Planning your trip to Guilin couldn’t be simpler, with spring and autumn considered the best times to take in the region’s dramatic and truly stunning scenery. Despite being home to a number of nature’s finest attractions, Guilin is also particularly easy to reach, with visitors best travelling by plane or train. That’s not all. Most can enjoy Guilin visa-free for between 72 and 144 hours, making it the ideal add-on to your upcoming China trip.