Two days in Guilin gives you time to discover top city attractions, visit an ancient village, and cruise down the Li River to Yangshuo—a must when visiting the area. Here are some suggestions to make the most of 48 hours in Guilin.
Day 1: Essential Guilin
Morning: Guilin’s highlights are best explored as part of a sightseeing tour, which typically cover Elephant Trunk Hill, one of the symbols of Guilin, and either Fubo Hill or Solitary Beauty Peak for sweeping city views. Finish off the morning at Reed Flute Cave or Seven Star Cave to see rock formations, stalactites, and stalagmites.
Afternoon: Take a quick trip outside of the city this afternoon to visit an ancient village. Daxu Old Town is most accessible, with the majority of day trips visiting there, but other options include Xiong and Jiangtou, where you can walk along ancient streets and admire the well-preserved architecture.
Night: After dinner, go shopping for souvenirs at Zhengyang Pedestrian Street or Guilin Night Market. Afterwards, head over to the Two Rivers and Four Lakes area to end your night with a boat ride or stroll.
Day 2: River Cruising
Morning: No visit to Guilin would be complete without a cruise down the Li River. Journeys usually take 4-5 hours and offer unobstructed views of the countryside. You’ll see dramatic karst formations, many of which have names based on what they resemble, and may get a glimpse of farmers, fishermen, and water buffaloes.
Afternoon: Arrive in Yangshuo and spend some time on West Street, which is full of shops, cafés, and restaurants. Spend the afternoon exploring Yangshuo highlights, such as the scenic Ten Mile Gallery, or head out to the countryside to hike, bike, or rock climb. You could even opt for another river cruise, this time on a bamboo raft.
Night: During dinner in Yangshuo, try local favorites such as Yangshuo beer fish. Then, finish off your final night with a performance of Impressions Sanjie Liu, directed by Zhang Yimou and set along the Li River.