Not far upstream on the Li River is Guilin, another of China’s most scenic cities. Just like Yangshuo, Guilin is a hub of beautiful mountain scenery and a whole host of outdoor travel activities. Though less idyllic than Yangshuo within the city centre, Guilin is in close proximity to some of China’s most beautiful natural wonders. The city is famous for its towering, greenery-covered karsts that surround scenic rivers and caves. Although primarily known for its natural wonders, Guilin also boasts 2000 years of history and has been the political centre of Guangxi for many years.
The most popular activity in Guilin is unsurprisingly taking a lazy boat ride down the Li River, enjoying the stunning surrounding scenery.
A visit to the Reed Flute Cave is a must, this spectacular cave is filled with ancient stalactites and stalagmites which are lit up with an array of brightly coloured lights. Travellers should also float by Elephant Trunk Hill, an unusual rock formation which has become symbolic of Guilin.
Boat trips are the best way to explore these areas, and are easily paired with journeys through neighboring Yangshuo and Longsheng.
How to get there:
Guilin Liangjiang International Airport accommodates a number of flights from major cities in China, including Beijing, Hong Kong, Kunming, Shanghai, Xi’an and Chengdu. The airport is also accessible from many international destinations, such as Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. A regular shuttle bus runs from the airport to city centre, which is about 27 kilometres away.
Buses into Guilin are generally from close-proximity destinations, such as Yangshou and Longsheng. To reach Guilin from destinations at a further distance, planes and trains are a better option.
Guilin has two train stations, Guilin Railway Station, which is just south of the city, and North Railway Station, which is in a less convenient area in the northern suburbs. There are a number of routes into Guilin, including from Beijing, Chengdu, Kunming, Shanghai, Xi’an and Yangshuo. Many of the departure points offer both sleeper trains and day time trains.
Guiling has two well-equipped docks, Mopanshan Passenger Transport Dock and Zhujiang Dock which are ideal for travelling to Guilin from Yangshou. The former is about 27 kilometres from downtown Guilin and best reached by taxi, the latter is about 32 kilometres from the centre.
A cruise from Yangshou to Guilin will take approximately 4.5 hours.