Guilin, in southern China, is renowned for its scenery, which is characterized by dramatic limestone formations and the Li River. Here’s how to experience the best of Guilin and the surrounding countryside in just one day.
Morning: Cruise Down the Li River
If you only have one day in Guilin, spend it on a cruise down the Li River to Yangshuo, a highlight of any trip to the area. Trips typically take between four and five hours and pass Elephant Trunk Hill, Mural Hill, and other formations named after the things they resemble. You’ll also pass by ancient villages such as Daxu and Xingping, where you may get a glimpse of local riverside life that comprises farmers in fields, water buffaloes, and fishermen fishing with cormorants.
Afternoon: Explore the Town or Countryside
Disembark at Yangshuo and head towards bustling West Street, the oldest and most famous street in town. Visitors have a number of options for exploring Yangshuo and the countryside. More active visitors can go hiking, biking, or rock climbing, with guided options available for ease of experience and route finding. Nearby highlights include Green Lotus Peak, Moon Hill, and the scenic Ten Mile Gallery. Visitors looking for something a little more relaxed can stay in town and take a cooking, calligraphy, or Chinese language class. Another popular option is to float on a bamboo raft down one of the prettiest stretches of the Yulong River.
Night: Experience Local Culture
Enjoy dinner in Yangshuo. Be sure to try local favorites such as Guilin noodles, Li River steamed fish, or Yangshuo beer fish. Wrap up your day by enjoying a performance of Impressions Sanjie Liu. Directed by the acclaimed Zhang Yimou, it uses the Li River as its stage and the mountains as its backdrop, which results in a natural theater spectacle that you won't soon forget.