I took a five – day trip in Guilin, China with my best friend Jia during the summer vacation. We spent the first two days in downtown Guilin then headed to Yangshuo and Longji Terrace for the next two. We went back to Guangzhou for the last day of the trip.
Arrival in Guilin
Arrival in Guilin, visited the Two Rivers and Four Lakes at night
We booked a high – speed rail ticket and arrived Guilin at 15:00 it only took two hours from Guangzhou to Guilin. This gave us plenty of time to go to our hotel drop our bags and refesh ourselves to be ready and full of energy to visit the Two Rivers and Four Lakes (the Lijiang and Taohua River, Shan, Rong, Gui and Mulong Lakes). We booked a hotel nearby in advance.
It was so sunny when we arrived so we were glad to have our parasols and sunglasses. The first thing we did was to have a quick rest at the hotel and then got up to have a bowl of rice noodle at the wharf of Riyuewan. Although just chose a nearby restaurant we happened to walk past, the noodles were delicious!
After a big meal, we hurried up to the wharf. Before we arrived in Guilin we had heard that the best way to tour the rivers and lakes is by taking a bamboo raft. The bamboo raft was more cosy than taking the steamboat and made us closer to the river water, close enough to dip our feet and hands into the cool water.
The wharf is not far away the Shan Lake, so we went here first. The lake was surrounded by giant sequoia trees hence the name Shan Lake. Passing through Shan Lake, we also saw the two big pagodas – Sun Pagoda and Moon Pagoda, they caught the light beautifully on such a starry night.
After Shan Lake, we visited Rong Lake and Gui Lake. There were many bridges we would have liked to know their names and some history. We were told that some of the bridges connect several districts of Guilin. They were stunning to see at night.
As the raft was approached the Mulong Pagoda, we heard the boisterous and bold voice of a drumbeat. The stage was gradually lit and there was a magnificent dance performance, again we wished we knew more about it’s name and history.
After the boating around Lulong Lake we circled back to the pagodas again and then back to our hotel. We will definitelt visit the rivers and lakes again next time as the scenery was so stunning!
Downtown - Xiangshan Park (Elephant Hill Park), Duxiufeng (Peak of Unique Beauty) and Zhengyang Pedestrian street
We fell in love with Guilin after visiting the Two Rivers and Four Lakes. No matter how hot the sun got we kept going forwards at a steady pace.
We woke up early and took a taxi, in 10 minutes we arrived at Xiangshan Park. The entrance ticket was 75rmb, which was a little bit pricey.
We saw an entrance to a cave at the park; standing in front of the cave we could smell the fragrance of liquor. After noticing the inscriptions on the cave we realized it was a famous wine cellar of Guilin – a San hua rice wine cellar.
We left th park at 10:00 and took a taxi to the Duxiufeng city wall scenery area. We passed through two city gates and saw scattered weeds on the gates. On each side of the avenue there were tall trees that kept us from getting sun stroke! The trees and bricks gave the feel of ancient China. We wandered in the city and saw some historic relics.
After exiting the city, we saw Duxiufeng. To be honest, I was a little bit disappointed as it appeared much smaller than what I had expected having seen photos online.
Zhengyang Pedestrian Street wasn’t our favourite, it felt like any other pedestrian street in China and wasn’t so attractive so we didn’t take many photoss. After our walk along this street it was nearly 18:00 so we went back to our hotel.
Guilin - Yangshuo: the Lijiang River, Xingping Ancient Town and Yangshuo
We were going to Yangshuo!
We contacted a bus driver on the internet the previous day to pick us up at our hotel. Because the bus had to go around the whole of the downtown area to pick up tourists, we had to get up very early and wait quite some time for it to arrive! The bus ticket was very cheap though, only 25rmb/person.
It rained the day we went to Yangshuo, we were pleased to finally cool down! It took us two hours to reach the Lijiang River and we had to queue for an hour to take a bamboo raft!
When we finally boarded, the raft drifted along the river and thick green trees on the shore surrounded us; the hills and peaks in the distance were partly hidden and partly visible through thin clouds and fog. The water, the trees, the hills and the people on the raft made this picturesque journey down the Lijiang River fantastic.
We felt deeply intoxicated with Guilin!
After one hour drifting along the Lijiang River, we took an electric bike from Jiumahuashan wharf to Xingping passenger station. We spent about one hour in Xingping Ancient Town. Local people told us that the town hadn’t been too developed or built on so we could still see its original appearance.
It took us a while to get to Yangshuo so it was dark when we arrived at our hotel. After we checked in at the Xianhua Manwu hotel, we found our first meal at Yangshuo, the restaurant was Xiedajie Pijiuyu. This restaurant was highly recommended by our friends who had visited Yangshuo before. We tasted their specialties: Pijiuyu (pijiu fish),snails and a vegetable dish.
After the meal, we strolled to Xijie, where there is a lot of street food. Here we found all kinds of snacks from all over including Chengdu, Taiwan, Guangzhou and Xi’an. There were a more foreign traveller here as well as western restaurants here, but we were too stuffed to have a taste of their food.
Yangshuo - Guilin - Longji Terrace
We booked a hotel in Longji in advance. They kindly arranged a minibus to pick us up from Yangshuo and take us directly to Longji Terrace. The ticket was 50rmb/person.
On the way to Longji, there is a ticket service booth, we bought a ticket here and the price was 100rmb/person. I thought it was a little bit expensive just to get in to the area!
When we got off the minibus, the hotel owner came and met us in person to help us get to the hotel. The owner was very hospitable as well as his daughter. His son was also very cute, we played with him a while and forgot how tired we were.
Longji Terrace – Guilin – Guangzhou
Our slumber was interrupted by the screams of a pig. But our vengeance was served in the form of a bowl of pork noodle soup for breakfast. We had gone to bed early the previous night so we weren’t too tired and got up and out into the fresh air of the Longji Terrace.
As we had not yet booked tickets back to Guilin, didn’t have enough time to get to the highest viewing platform but we did get to the second and third. It’s really hard to describe the magnificence of the terrace. It’s definitely worth going to see!
We wandered along the hills for about 2 hours and finally arrived at the Jinkeng Village, home of the Red Yao ethnic minority people.
We were very lucky to encounter a local festival called “Shaiyi Festival” meaning “to air clothes”. Each family brings out their clothes on the sixth day of the lunar calendar to dry in the sun so as to kill germs and prevent insects. We also saw a groom’s procession on their way to his wedding.
Jia was very unwilling to part with this beautiful scenery area and said she wanted to live here forever. I had the same feeling as her but we had to catch the returning bus.