Guilin is the gateway to Yangshuo and the limestone paradise

Guilin is the major transport hub in this part of China. Many foreign visitors give it no more time then the few minutes on arrival by bus, train or flight. Although Yangshuo is by far more interesting, the city itself has a few attractions worth checking out.

Jing Jiang Prince City Guilin
Jing Jiang Prince City

Over the years it seemed the city was almost ignored by the foreigners and embraced by the Chinese tourist. This was partly because more up-market hotels in Yangshuo were hard to find. Nowadays this is no longer the situation and many Chinese tourists visit Yangshuo now too for more then just a day trip from Guilin. However, Guilin still doesn’t get the full attention if definitely deserves.

The city center has a wide range of big shopping malls and markets available so if you want to do some serious shopping, it’s better shopping here then in Yangshuo. Keep in mind that bargaining is usually possible, even in the shopping malls. Let’s explore the city.

One of the entrance gates to Jing Jiang Prince City Guilin
One of the entrance gates to Jing Jiang Prince City

Places to stay, hotels and hostels

Guilin has a wide selection of hotels in almost all price ranges. We have set up a page with some of the best in each price range:Hotels and hostels in Guilin

Transport to and from Guilin

Guilin is the biggest transport hub in this part of China with an international airport, a railway station with trains to many major cities in China. There’s a big bus station right in the middle of the city with busses to all the major destinations in Guangxi, Guangdong, Guizhou and even Sichuan.

Li River in Guilin
Li RiverThe airport, Liangjiang, is to be found 28 km west of the city center. The easiest way to travel from the airport to either city center or Yangshuo is by taxi (Y300 – 400 depending on your bargain talents).The railway station is on the south side of the city center. Opposite of the railway station and further on the road there are plenty of mid range hotels. There’s a foreigner ticket office where you can book your next train ticket out. If you don’t know when you will leave, you may want to ask Jessi to organize the booking for you.

Shopping in Guilin is probably it's most exciting experience.
Shopping center in town

In front of the railway station mini busses will bring you to Yangshuo (Y14). There’s also express busses from the main bus station to Yangshuo (Y15) available.

Two Restaurants in Guilin
Two upmarket restaurants in old looking
but reasonable new traditional pagoda style towers

Transport downtown is the easiest by local taxi, they’re cheap and fast. Make sure you get the taxi price before you drive away. There’s plenty of city busses but to find out where exactly they go can be a bit of a problem as the drivers usually do no speak English.Another way to leave Guilin, to Yangshuo, is by boat.

Nothing is nicer and more relaxed then take a boat on the Li Jiang, the Li River to Yangshuo.

More about the river cruise to Yangshuo, you can find here.


Although Guilin is by no means as beautiful as Yangshuo, there are a few places to visit.

At a local market in Guilin
At a local market in Guilin – working hard or hardly working?

Elephant Trunk Hill

Right in the middle of the city you will find Elephant Trunk, probably the most well known symbol of Guilin Hill. It’s located at the junction of the Li River (Li Jiang) and the Peach Blossom River. It is obvious why the rock is name Elephant Trunk Hill as it look as if an Elephant is drinking water from the river.

Oil painting of Elephant Trunk Hill Guilin
Oil painting of Elephant Trunk Hill, this painting is for sale, contact us for details There are several caves to be visited including the Water Moon Cave, Elephants Eye Stone and the Pagoda for Puxian and Yunfeng, which is a temple. The pagoda (or temple) was build in the 14th century.

Guilin City center

Inside the caves you will find centuries old inscriptions of Tang and Song dynasties. All is nicely decorated with lights and good paths to walk. Elephant Trunk Hill is worth a visit.

Seven Star Park

Outside the city center, located on the east bank of the Li River is the Seven Star Park. It’s a large park, around 40 hectares and an oasis of peace and quietness. There are several limestone rock formations to see in the park. Putuo Hill and Crescent Hill are arguably the most beautiful ones in the city center. Near the south gate you will find Dragon Retreat Cave in which some stone tablets are to be seen.

The Li River in Guilin

Seven Star park is to be found at the end of Jiefang Donglu (Jiefang Road, East) and about one kilometer from the city center.

Seven Star Cave and the Reed Flute Cave

The Seven Star Cave and the Reed Flute cave are probably the most famous of all caves in this part of China and well known all over country.The Seven Star Cave is about 1.5 km long and goes deep into the limestone rocks in the Seven Star Park. Both caves are worth to spend some time in.

The temperature in the caves is about 20°C. The cave is supposed to be at least 1 million years old.