Guilin (桂林) is medium-size city, located in northeast of Guangxi. It has a subtropical climate with a yearly average temperature of 19°C. The city occupies an area of 27,809 sq km with a population of 4.84 million (per 2000 census). Besides the Han majority, Guangxi and Guilin are home to 28 different ethnic minorities, including Zhuang (壮族), Miao (苗族), Yao (瑶族), Dong (侗族).
Guilin got its name because it is a "forest of Sweet Osmanthus" (玉桂成林). According to geological research, the area was an ocean in ancient times, but the limestones at the bottom of the ocean were raised by the earth's crustal movement, and became many picturesque limestone mountains and formations. Today the city is surrounded by two rivers and four lakes, studded with shear sided Karst mountains. Guilin's unique scenery earned its reputation as "By water, by mountains, earth's fairest, Guilin" (桂林山水甲天下).
Guilin is close to many other scenic places in the region, including Longsheng famous for the Longji rice terraces (龙脊梯田), the Lijiang River (漓江), and Yangshuo (阳朔), a small city downstream form Guilin. This makes Guilin an excellent base for exploring the northern part of Guangxi.
Guilin has many western-style hotels to accommodate the visitors. It's a beautiful city with few air pollutions.
Guilin belongs to Chu (楚) during the Warring States Period (战国时代) – [403 BC–221 BC]. In about 214 BC, after Emperor Qin united the area known as Guilin County (桂林郡), canals were built to connect Xiangjiang River (湘江) and Lijiang River (漓江), and Guilin became an ever important city to transport food supplies, and other materials.
The city was known as Shian (始安) in the Northern and Southern Dynasties (南北朝) period, and was then renamed as Guizhou (桂州) in the Tang Dynasty about 618 AD. The name of Guilin first appeared in Poet Dufu's (杜甫) poem <寄杨五桂州谭>："五岭皆炎热,宜人独桂林". After the Song Dynasty, the city was the political, economic, and cultural center in Southwest China, and was known as the Capital of the southwest (西南会府). Guilin's nickname is Rongcheng (榕城), derived from Ming Dynasty's poem "兰根出土长斜挂，榕树城门却倒生" by Yangji (杨基).
Guilin boasts a long history of a variety of cultures, including the pre-historical culture of Zhenpiyan (甄皮岩), Qin Dynasty's water conservancy projects of Ling Canal (灵渠), Ming Dynasty's Fanwang culture (藩王文化) as shown by Jingjiang Royal Tombs (靖江王墓), and the natural scenery culture of cliff stone carving (摩崖石刻) and landscape poetry (山水诗词).
|Weather averages for Guilin|
|Avg high °C (°F)||11 (52)||13 (55)||16 (61)||23 (73)||27 (81)||30 (86)||32 (90)||33 (91)||30 (86)||26 (79)||20 (68)||15 (59)|
|Avg low °C (°F)||6 (43)||8 (46)||11 (52)||16 (61)||20 (68)||24 (75)||25 (77)||25 (77)||22 (72)||18 (64)||13 (55)||7 (45)|
|Rain cm (inches)||5.6 (2.2)||7.24 (2.9)||11.2 (4.4)||15.57 (6.1)||24.5 (9.6)||29.39 (11.6)||17.09 (6.7)||11.17 (4.4)||5.56 (2.2)||5.44 (2.1)||4.03 (1.6)||3.28 (1.3)|
|Source: per MSN 2008|
 Getting in & Getting out
 By Air
Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (IATA: KWL) (桂林两江国际机场) has over 30 domestic flights, and 8 international flights to Japan, South Korea, as well as many South Asia countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. The airport is located in Lingui County's (临桂县) Liangjiang city (两江镇), about 28 km to the southwest of Guilin's city center.
 By Train
Guilin has two train stations, the South Station and the North Station. The South Station is the main station (referred to as Guilin Railway Station), and is located slightly to the south of the city center, while the North Station is far away from downtown area. Generally, trains passing through Guilin only stop at Guilin South Station but not Guilin North Station, which usually serves trains originating and terminating in Guilin. The main station can be reached by city bus line 1, 2, 3, 10, and 11.
Guilin has domestic trains to other major Chinese provinces, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Sichuan and Zhejiang. The twice-a-week international trains between Beijing and Hanoi, Vietnam, also stop at Guilin. Because Guilin is not a terminus station, sleeper tickets are hard to get at the Guilin sales office. Be sure to reserve the tickets several days in advance.
The South Station's info line is 0773-3833124.
 By Bus
Interstate highways # 322 and 323 go through Guilin. In addition, There are several expressways (such as Guilin-Liuzhou Expressway (桂柳高级公路), Guilin-Hunan highway (桂黄一级公路), Guilin-Yangshuo highway (桂阳二级公路)) to major cites in nearby provinces, such as Guangxi, Guangdong, Haina, Hunan, Hubei, etc.
There are three passenger bus stations in Guilin, the main station, the south station, and the north station. The main station is located at 427 South Zhongshan Road, and is only 10-min walk from the South train station. The long-distance bus station's hotline is 0773-3833916
 By Boat
 Getting Around
 By Public Bus
There are two types of city buses in Guilin. The red buses starting with number 5 are free, but it stops running early at around 7pm. They stop at some major attractions such as Seven Star Park (七星公园), Elephant Trunk Hill (象鼻山), Reed Flute Cave (芦笛岩), etc. The ticket for regular buses is 1 RMB. They run at regular schedules (except for bus line #9, which stops at 4pm).
 By Tour Bus
 By Taxi & Rental Car
Guilin's taxis are also very convenient tools. The ticket price is slight different between day-time and night-time taxis. Starting price for day-time taxis (6:30am - 11pm) is 7 RMB with 1.6 RMB per km for the 1st 2 to 4 km, and then 2 RMB for each additional km. Starting price for night-time taxis (11pm - 6:30am) is 7.8 RMB with 1.8 RMB per km for the 1st 2 to 4 km, and then 2.4 RMB for each additional km.
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|Guilin is a scenic town and one of the best-known tourist destinations in China.|
- Camel Hill (Loutuoshan, 罗陀山)
- Cave of the Returned Pearls (Huanzhu Dong, 还珠洞)
- Drago Refuge Cave (Longyin Yan, 龙隐岩)
- Elephant_Trunk_Hill (象山景区)
- Mount of Unique Beauty (Duxiu Feng, 独秀峰)
- Reed Flute Cave (Ludi Yan, 芦笛岩)
- Seven Star Cave (Qixing Yan, 七星岩)
- Seven Star Park (Qixing Gongyuan, 七星公园)
- South Creek Hill (Nanxishan, 南溪山)
- Seven Stars Scenic Spot (七星景区)
- Ludi Scenic Spot ( 芦笛景区)
- Lijiang River (漓江)
- Guilin Ideal World Scenic Spot (桂林世外桃源)
- Crown Cave (桂林冠岩)
 Mid Range
- Guilin Bravo Hotel
- Guilin Park Hotel
- Guilin Plaza
- Guishan (Jasper) Hotel
- New West Street Hotel
- Paradesa Yangshuo Resort
- Ronghu Lake Hotel Guilin
- The Sovereign Hotel of Yangshuo
- Yangshuo New Century Hotel
- Lijiang Waterfall Hotel
There are many restaurants serving local Guilin food, such as Guilin Rice Noodles (桂林米粉), and Horse Hoof Cake (马蹄糕), adapted from Cantonese snack with the same name.
- Address: No.2 North Dianzi Mansion, South Zhongshan Road, Guilin
- Phone: 0773-3835026
- Address: No.7-2, Qixing Road, Guilin
- Phone: 0773-5813532
- Address: No.28 Sanhuang Road, Guilin
- hone: 0773-2809539
- Address: Heishan Botanical Garden, Guilin
- Phone: 0773-3821521
- Address: No.3 Ziyou Road, Guilin
- Phone: 0773-5812816
Search more restaurants in Guilin at restaurants in Guilin.
Guilin's local specialties include Sweet Osmanthus tea (桂花茶), Sweet Osmanthus wine (桂花酒), and Sweet Osmanthus candy (桂花糖), as well as many locally-grown fruits such as pomelo, oranges, mangosteens (山竹果). Zhengyang Road Pedestrian Street is known as the #1 commercial shopping street in Western China. It's exactly 666 km long (666 is one of the luckiest numbers in Chinese culture), staring from South Binhu Road and terminates at East Jianfang Road. The buildings along the road are mainly Chinese-style structures mixed with some European colonial-era buildings. You can find almost everything here ranging from clothing, jewelry, woven and plated bamboo, artistic pottery, wood carvings, souvenirs, handcrafted scrolls, food, etc.
 Night Life & Entertainment
Ethnic dance performances are popular in some high-end hotels catering to foreign visitors. If the timing is good, you may also catch the minority festival. Also the acrobatic and minority show at the Spring Theater near Ronghu Lake is very popular and very entertaining.
Another interesting thing to do is to take the night boats to watch the cormorant fishing, which is usually done at night by husbands so their other halves can take the catch to market the next morning. The light on the fisherman's bamboo raft first attracts fishes. Then the birds are released, jump into the water and come back to the raft with their beaks stuffed with fishes, only to be taken by the fishermen!
Those adventurous can try Bungee jump and rock climbing. There are rock climbing places in Yangshuo for the beginners and there are ones for those experienced.
 Sports & Recreation
- Li River Cruise. A popular activity for travellers. The boats are frequent and easily organised by any hotel in Guilin. Most tourists will go from Guilin to Yangshuo (a very picturesque smaller town downstream of Guilin). The river winds through some truly spectacular limestone formations and a slow boat trip there and back (with a stop in Yangshuo) will take a whole day. For those looking for a cheaper option, take a bus to Xingping and take a smaller boat through the best parts of the scenery for ¥80 for 1 1/2 hours. ¥400+(with all transports).
- Dreams on Water, ☎ +86 773 2831040, 2888805 (email@example.com), . day and evening. A boat tour around the four lakes and two rivers of Guilin. At night, the scenery is spectacularly flood lit. At the mid point in the tour, there will be a demonstration of traditional cormorant fishing. Tours last between 60 and 90 minutes depending on the route purchased. ¥150 per adult.
- Something of Ethical, ☎ +86 773 2851279. A theatrical dance and music performance daily. The show tries to recreate the culture of the various ethnic groups around Guilin.
There are many more activities nearby in neighbouring towns and villages:
- Wu Pai River Drifting, (2 hours north of Guilin (in Zi Yuan County)), ☎ +86 773 4315888, . White water rafting down the scenic Wu Pai River in Zi Yua county.
- Guilin Shangri-la park, (Halfway along the road between Guilin and Yangshuo). Set in beautiful scenery, this ethnic theme park tries to introduce visitors to the wide range of local nationalities and their cultures. A short boat trip will take you around the butterfly lake. On the way, various performances are staged on the shore of the lake, demonstrating different aspects of the culture. The boat will drop you off at the 'village' where you can see displays of local crafts including weaving, embroidery, buffalo horn carving and calligraphy. These crafts are produced on site and you may watch them working.
- Butterfly Caves, ☎ +86 773 8811466, 8811498, 8811469, 8829978 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +86 773 881498, 8829978), . A pair of shear sided mountains surrounded by a butterfly themed park. One of the mountains has a cave running through the core of it. Inside this cave are many strange rock formations including stalagmites and stalactites. One particularly unusual formation is shaped like a butterfly, lending the hill it's name. A rope bridge connects from the cave's exit over to the other mountain. At the side of the bridge, a waterfall cascades down the mountain side. The path takes you around the summit of the second peak and down to the gardens below. A dance performance greets each tour party here. The final stage is a walk inside a netted area in which a large variety of butterflies may be observed.
- The Guilin Merryland World Resort , located about 1 hours drive north of Guilin offers two attractions:
- Golf Course, ☎ +86 773 6229898 (fax: +86 773 6229906). Beautiful golf course with 27 holes. A bit on the expensive side but well worth the money.
 Excursions & Day Trips
- Longsheng and Longji Village- It is famous for the excessively large number of terraced rice paddy fields on its mountain, which has created an intricate pattern on the hill side. About 2 hours from Guilin.
- Yangshuo - About 1 1/2 hours from Guilin is the friendly and picturesque town of Yangshuo. This used to be a popular backpackers town, but now is full of Chinese tourists. It is situated in a beautiful karst landscape. The full day boat trip along the Li River will finish in this town. Getting there by taxi or bus and is also an option.
- Xingping - This town will probably become the next backpacker place, as Yangshuo becomes too commercial for most forign tourists. It is a very peaceful, old town located on the Li River's most beautiful landscape, half way between Yangshuo and Guilin.
- Vietnam - It's possible to get all the way to Hanoi from Guilin. Catch the afternoon train to Nanning (5hrs), stay overnight in a cheap station hotel and get the early morning bus to Hanoi, arriving about 3PM depending on traffic. This train, hotel and bus package is available for around ¥400.
 Tips & Practical Info
- Watch your valuables closely in the in the central city, as in many tourist locations pickpocketing is a common occurrence.
- Also, be careful with the begging children in the city parks as there are rumours of them claiming assault if you do not buy flowers from them. The parents apparently act as "witnesses" to the assault.