Guilin & Yangshuo

Throughout Chinese history, Guilin has long been lauded for its artistic delights and beautiful scenery, and rightfully so. The surrounding landscape is speckled with limestone karsts, surreal finger-like mountains that were formed through centuries of erosion and rise high above the Li River plain. There are two kinds of karsts: fenglin, which rise straight up, and fengcong, which look like conjoined, rolling hills. Such sights have been immortalized by generations of artists and writers, and are perhaps the best-known landscape of China. Neighboring Guilin city is Yangshuo which offers the same stunning geography as Guilin but without the crowds. 


A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.

Reed Flute Cave

Explore Ludi Yan, or “Reed Flute Cave,” which is situated about 5 kilometers (3 miles) northwest of the center of Guilin. One of the foremost natural wonders of Guilin, the caves consist of tunnels measuring 10 meters (33 feet) in diameter that run for roughly 500 meters (1,640 feet) through Guangming Hill. The caves derive their name from a type of reed once found growing within, which were made by local residents into flutes.

Inside the caves are inscriptions dating back more than 1,000 years; in the 1940s, Guilin residents hid in the caves during the Japanese invasion of China. Today, the caves many stalactites, stalagmites and inscriptions are illuminated by lighting of various colors.

Bamboo Raft Cruise

Drive to the Yulong River, a quieter tributary of the Li River, for a short, private cruise on a bamboo raft through the beautiful valleys of the Guilin area. The steep green hillsides and dramatic limestone spires that line the rivers here have inspired generations of Chinese landscape painters.

Elephant Trunk Hill

Visit one of Guilin’s most well known rock formations, Xiangbi Shan, or “Elephant Trunk Hill,” so named because of its resemblance to an elephant drinking from the adjacent Li River. Learn about the local legend that explains how this “elephant” came to reside here permanently. If you wish to climb the path to the summit of the rock, it is about 100 meters (328 feet) high.

Huangluo Zhuang Village

Visit a school in Huangluo village where you can play with the children and speak to their teachers about the Chinese school system. Learn more about rural life in China through the eyes of the Zhuang minority, the largest ethnic minority in China with a population approaching 16 million, or roughly that of Australia.

Longsheng Rice Terraces

Take a short hour hike through the Longsheng rice terraces for an idyllic morning marveling at these agricultural feats of engineering. End your hike at a scenic ridge where you can rest your legs and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Wave-Calming Hill

An iconic sights in central Guilin, Fubo Shan, or “Wave-Calming Hill,” is so named because this Buddha-topped rock is believed to subdue the waters that rush below it.

Xiaozhai Yao Village

Visit Xiaozhai, one of a number of remote villages where the Yao minority people live. The Yao are one of 56 minority peoples recognized by the Chinese government and they are known for their brightly colored textiles and their musical tradition. Take part in a singing ritual, watch villagers work on traditional fabrics, and see an informal cooking demonstration before sitting down to a lunch of typical Yao dishes.


Explore Xinping, a small town on the Li River, famous for its setting amidst karst pinnacles, prehistoric rock formations known throughout China for their beauty. Bicycle through the village and stop at farmhouses to chat with the locals through your guide.

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