Guilin and the Li River

Guilin is a city in southern China, well-known for its amazing karst limestone landscape and its proximity to the incredible Li River. Most popular for tourists looking to cruise down the Li River, Guilin has plenty of its own sights to see, with incredible lookouts located right within the city. The ‘Seven Star Park’ is a great place to visit, not only for its scenery, but also for its unique take on life in Guilin. The Jingjiang Princes’ City has a great lookout from atop the ‘Solitary Beauty Peak’, as well as some interesting engravings and historical architecture to view. Just chilling out along the shores of the Li River is an experience- people swimming, kids playing, and massive boats and barges paying no attention whatsoever. The nightlife is hopping in Guilin, with plenty of restaurants, bars, and clubs catering to the tourists that flock to the city.

Incredible karst scenery on Guilin

Most of these tourists come to cruise the Li River- an amazing scene of karst limestone formations and unique countryside found few other places in the world. Giant mountains of rock just up from the riverside and surrounding hills, creating a scene that is hard to believe, even when you’re looking right at it. It is stunningly beautiful, and a great day spent relaxing on one of the countless riverboats that ply the river.

Getting There

Guilin can be accessed by the Guilin Liangjiang International Airport, as well as by several train and bus services.

Things to do in Guilin

  • Visit the ‘Seven Star Park’- Camel Mountain, several temples and shrines, plenty of green space to kick back and relax, and some interestingly quirky statues, the Seven Star Park is a good place to start your visit in Guilin. Watch out for the monkeys...

The Qixia Temple, Seven Star Park, Guilin

  • Climb the ‘Solitary Beauty Peak’- located in the Jingjiang Princes’ City, this hilltop lookout provides amazing views of the city of Guilin and its incredible surroundings. The City also has some impressive rock carvings and engravings, as well as a few historical buildings. Definitely an interesting pace to poke around a bit.
  • Hang out by the Li River- its ALL happening down on the banks of the Li River- food vendors, crazy water games, organized swimming competitions- people-watching at its best in Guilin.
  • Hit the town- Guilin has a thriving nightlife, with plenty of restaurants, pubs, and clubs to keep the tourists busy late into the night. A pub crawl through along one of Guilin’s happening districts is a good night out.
  • Cruise the Li River- As with Chongqing and the Yangtze River, chances are the reason you’re in Guilin in the first place is to cruise the Li River. Shop around for prices, and then board your boat for one of the most memorable river cruises in the world. The scenery is incredible.

Cruising the Li River

Insider Tips

  • The street food down by the Li River is amazing- save a little money by eating on the cheap.
  • Interact with the locals- They’re exceedingly friendly, even if they don’t speak English, and you might be surprised to find that a lot of them actually want to take a picture of YOU.
  • When you’re out on the town in Guilin, remember that a lot of the local girls that you will come across are, um, ‘on the clock’, so to speak. They’re working. Just be aware...
  • The open-air upper decks of the river cruise boats are the best spots for viewing the scenery along the Li River- stake out your spot early, and if your boat is crowded, you won’t want to give it up.

The Li River