Friday, January 13, 2023
Guilin Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Guilin

travel guide

Guilin is a prefecture-level city in the northeast of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on the west bank of the Li River, bordering Hunan to the north. Its name means “Forest of Sweet Osmanthus,” referring to the city’s abundance of fragrant Sweet Osmanthus trees. The city has long been known for its karst landscape, and it is one of China’s most popular tourist sites.

Guilin and the surrounding region are among China’s most picturesque places, as well as one of the most popular tourist sites for both Chinese and foreign backpackers. The major draw is the karst environment, which consists of limestone mountains that have worn into amazing patterns. Aside from its stunning aesthetic grandeur, karst topography offers several cliffs suited for rock climbing as well as many caves.

There are several gorgeous spots within a short driving distance of Guilin. Longsheng, with its famed Longji rice terraces; the Lijiang River, a view of which is depicted on the reverse of 20 bank notes; Yangshuo, a tiny county downstream from Guilin; and many more are among them. As a result, Guilin is a good starting point for visiting the northern end of Guangxi Province.

Guilin is a lovely city. The town center is surrounded by two rivers and four lakes, as well as sheer-sided karst mountains. Buildings outside of the city center are less properly maintained. Because tourism is the city’s major industry, it is significantly cleaner than other Chinese cities.

Apart from having a high number of western-style hotels, visitors, and being relatively free of air pollution, Guilin is similar to most other medium-sized Chinese cities. Many Chinese domestic visitors visit this location as well. Its uniqueness stems from its closeness to several attractive limestone mountains and formations.

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Guilin | Introduction

Guilin – Info Card

POPULATION :  4,747,963
FOUNDED : 
TIME ZONE :  China Standard (UTC+8)
LANGUAGE :  Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry)
RELIGION :  Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Christian 3%-4%, Muslim 1%-2%; note: officially atheist
AREA :  27,809 km2 (10,737 sq mi)
ELEVATION :  153 m (502 ft)
COORDINATES :  25°16′N 110°17′E
SEX RATIO :  Male: 51.83
 Female: 48.17
ETHNIC :  Han Chinese 91.5%, Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uyghur, Tujia, Yi, Mongol, Tibetan, Buyi, Dong, Yao, Korean, and other nationalities 8.5%
AREA CODE :  0773
POSTAL CODE :  541XXX
DIALING CODE :   +86 773
WEBSITE :  Official Website

Climate of Guilin

Guilin has a humid subtropical climate influenced by the monsoon, with short, mild winters and long, hot, humid summers. Winter starts dry but gradually grows wetter and cloudier. Spring is often gloomy and frequently wet, although summer is still rainy despite being the sunniest season. Autumn is bright and dry. The monthly 24-hour average temperature varies from 7.9 °C (46.2 °F) in January to 28.0 °C (82.4 °F) in July, with an annual average temperature of 18.84 °C (65.9 °F). The annual rainfall is little over 1,900 mm (75 in) and is distributed in bulk (50 percent) from April to June, when plum rains occur and often cause floods. The city gets 1,487 hours of bright sunlight each year, with monthly percent potential sunshine ranging from 14 percent in March to 53 percent in September.

Geography of Guilin

Guilin lies in northern Guangxi, bordered by Liuzhou to the west, Laibin to the southwest, Wuzhou to the south, Hezhou to the southeast, and inside Hunan, Huaihua to the northwest, Shaoyang to the north, and Yongzhou to the east. It covers an area of 27,809 square kilometers (10,737 sq mi). Karst formations dominate the area’s landscape. The city is traversed by the Li River.

Economy of Guilin

Until 1949, the only traces of industrialisation in Guilin were a thermal power plant, a cement factory, and a few modest textile mills. Guilin, on the other hand, has had enterprises producing electronics, engineering and agricultural equipment, medicine, rubber, and buses since the 1950s, as well as textile and cotton yarn. The most significant sector is food processing, which includes the processing of local agricultural goods. The most recent and contemporary industries are defined by high technology, while the tertiary sector is characterized by tourist commerce and service.

How To Travel To Guilin

Get In - By plane

Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (KWL) is served daily by flights from major mainland cities and some other international cities in East and Southeast Asia.

Air Asia offers flights every other day from Kuala Lumpur to Guilin.

Jetstar flies twice a week from Singapore to Guilin.

The bus from the airport to the city costs ¥20, but it leaves from the south of the city center, from where you can take a cab for about ¥10 to most hotels. The bus only leaves when it is full, so there may be a wait when the bus fills up.

A direct cab from the airport to a downtown hotel costs about ¥100. For the return trip to the airport, a hotel can arrange the trip for ¥80.

Get In - By train

Guilin has two train stations. Guilin Station (Guilin Zhan) is located in the city center, in Zhongshan Nanlu, while Guilin North Station (Guilin Bei Zhan) is far from the city center. Most, but not all, trains departing from or arriving in Guilin go to or from Guilin North, while trains passing through Guilin from other places usually go only to Guilin Station and not to Guilin North.

There are trains from the north (Beijing, Changsha, Wuhan, Shanghai, Xian), west (Kunming), south (Liuzhou, Nanning, Zhanjiang) and east (Guangzhou, Shenzhen).

  • From Beijing – From Beijing to Guilin and vice versa, there are three trains in both directions. For Beijing, trains leave Guilin (not Guilin Bei) at 12:59 (train from Zhanjiang), 15:06 (from Nanning) and 19:30. The travel time is between 22 and 30 hours, with the 15:06 train being the fastest. The HSR G529 train leaves Beijing at 7:46 am and takes 10.5 hours.
  • From Hong Kong via Shenzhen – Since 2015, there is a high-speed train that connects Shenzhen to Guilin and takes you there in about three hours. The MTR line that connects Hong Kong and Shenzhen splits into two at Sheung Shui, one to Lo Wu and the other to Lok Ma Chau. Be sure to get off at Lok Ma Chau and not Lo Wu if you want to take the high-speed train. After crossing the border, take the Longhua Line (4) to Shenzhen North Station, where all high-speed trains depart from. Train tickets are available from about ¥200. If you want to buy tickets in advance in Hong Kong, you can do so at Hung Hom station at the China Railway Service (not China Travel Service) counter. Please note that a fee of HKD 100 is added to the ticket price.
    For long-distance trains, take the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) to Lo Wu via the East Rail Line. After passing through immigration and customs, stay to the left when getting off the train. To access the long-distance trains, you must pass the trains from Guangzhou. The T38 leaves at 5:51pm and arrives in Guilin at 6:42am. The ticket costs about 430 yen for a soft sleeping compartment and 245 yen for a hard sleeping compartment (prices vary slightly depending on the sleeping position). The return trip on the T40 train leaves Guilin at 21:28 and arrives in Shenzhen at 10:35.
  • From Hong Kong via Guangzhou – There are only three trains per day between Shenzhen and Guilin, and they are quickly full on public holidays. On the other hand, there are many more trains between Guangzhou and Guilin. To do this, cross the Lok-Ma-Chau border and take the subway from Shenzhen to Futian (福田)or Civil Center (市民中心), then take the G train from Futian Station to Guangzhou South Station and then directly the train from Guangzhou South Station to Guilin North Station. Please remember NOT to go to Shenzhen North Railway Station or Guangzhou East Railway Station for this route.
  • From Kunming – The fastest trains from Kunming go through Nanning and the scenic Nankun Railway and take about 20 hours to reach their destination. Trains through Guiyang take at least 28 hours. Trains to Kunming leave Guilin at 05:46 (from Zhengzhou via Guiyang), 08:52 (via Nanning), 13:34 (from Nanjing via Guiyang) and 19:00 (from Shanghai via Nanning).
  • From Nanning – There are 3 high speed trains (less than 3 hours) and 10 conventional trains (6 hours). The high speed trains are D8212 at 11:35, D8258 at 20:25 and D8256 at 14:40. Conventional trains depart on average every 2 hours. All conventional trains stop in Liuzhou (2 hours from Guilin). A one-way ticket for a fixed seat costs ¥65.
  • From Chengdu – There is one train a day from Chengdu, the K652. It leaves Chengdu at 3:15 pm and arrives 25 hours later. The cost is about ¥230.

As soon as you leave the station, cab drivers and other drivers will accost you indifferently. Although cab drivers are trustworthy, they may use some tricks to cheat you of a few yuan, such as aggressively imposing rides or adding fake charges to the bill. Another option is to take the public bus No. 100 to the city center for 1 RMB.

Get In - By bus

  • From Yangshuo – minibuses (¥18) leave, when full, from the square in front of Guilin station. Although the signs are written in Chinese, the controllers always shout “Yangshuo”. As the buses pick up and drop off passengers along the way, the trip can take between an hour and half an hour. Express buses (¥18) leave from the Guilin bus terminal at Zhongshan Nanlu, a few hundred meters north of the train station (and on the same side of the street as the station). Buses leave every 20 minutes or so starting at 7:00 am. Tickets are available at the ticket office of the bus terminal.
  • By the way – Buses connect Guilin to a multitude of destinations, including Nanning, Kunming, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and beyond. Buses depart from the Guilin bus station located in Zhongshan Nanlu, a few hundred meters north of the train station.

Get In - By boat

From Guangzhou, it is possible to go to Guilin by cargo boat via Wuzhou, but there are no more passenger boats to Guilin, except for the boats to and from Yangshuo. If you want, you can take a cargo boat from Wuzhou to Yangshuo almost for free.

How To Get Around In Guilin

It is a good idea to get a city map for ¥5 from a guidebook or a store. Most of the tourist sites are indicated, as well as the bus routes. Buses are an ideal way to get around Guilin at a low cost. Many city parks and river banks are easily accessible by bus. All buses starting with 5# are free. A useful bus is route 58, which leaves from the railway (and bus) station and serves many tourist sites. The fare is limited to ¥1 per trip.

Cabs are also cheap and can be easily stopped in the city. During rush hour (17:30-19:00), they are usually hard to get.

Another economical option for a day trip to scenic spots in the Guilin urban area is to hire a driver for a full day or half day. From March 2012 (low season), a full day costs about ¥100 and a half day costs ¥50. Most hotels or hostels offer this service, and it is possible to tell the driver where you want to go if you do not speak Chinese.

Districts & Neighbourhoods In Guilin

Guilin manages 17 district departments:

Six districts: the Xiufeng District (秀峰区), the Xiangshan District (象山区), the Diecai District (叠彩区), the Qixing District (七星区), the Yanshan District (雁山区) and the Lingui District (临桂区).

  • Nine circles: Yangshuo County (阳朔县), Lingchuan County (灵川县), Xing’an County (兴安县), Quanzhou County (全州县), Yongfu County (永福县), Ziyuan County (资源县), Guanyang County (灌阳县), Pingle County (平乐县) and Lipu County (荔浦县。)
  • Two autonomous circles: Gongcheng Yao Autonomous District (恭城瑶族自治县) and Longsheng Autonomous District Various nationalities (龙胜各族自治县).

Prices In Guilin

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk 1 liter $1.53
Tomatoes 1 kg $1.05
Cheese 0.5 kg $10.15
Apples 1 kg $1.77
Oranges 1 kg $1.30
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $0.92
Bottle of Wine 1 bottle $
Coca-Cola 2 liters $1.00
Bread 1 piece $
Water 1.5 l $0.60

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range) for 2 $
Dinner (Mid-range) for 2 $24.00
Dinner (High-range) for 2 $
Mac Meal or similar 1 meal $4.50
Water 0.33 l $0.30
Cappuccino 1 cup $3.90
Beer (Imported) 0.33 l $3.00
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $0.85
Coca-Cola 0.33 l $
Coctail drink 1 drink $

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline 1 liter $1.00
Taxi Start $
Taxi 1 km $
Local Transport 1 ticket $0.30

Sights & Landmarks In Guilin

Landmarks

  • Central Square (桂林中心广场; Guìlín Zhōngxīn Guǎngchǎng). A 51,400 square meter gathering place located in the city center. A giant atlas on the ground and an artificial waterfall can be seen there every night at 8:30 pm.
  • Jingjiang Prince City (靖江王城), 1 Prince City, +86 773 2803149. In the center of the city is a small forbidden city. It once housed the princes of the region. The palace buildings are now a museum. ¥70.
  • Moon and Sun Pagoda (near downtown). Although there is not much to see inside the pagodas, the view outside and the surrounding lake offer a good rest from the traffic and noise of downtown Guilin.

Parks in the city

  • Black Hill Botanic Garden (黑山植物园; Hēishān Zhíwùyuán), 206号 West 1st Ring Rd206 (环城西一路号; Huánchéngxīyīlù) (bus 1, 6, 10, 19, 201, 202). Open 24 hours. One of the oldest botanical gardens in China. Free of charge.
  • Seven Star Park (七星公园; Qīxīnggōngyuán), Qixing Rd (on the east side of the city and a 15-20 minute walk from the main downtown pedestrian area). It is a large park with a small zoo area on the east side, furthest from the entrance, whose main attraction is the giant pandas and red pandas. Entrance to the zoo costs an additional ¥32 and the staff puts on a small show at certain times with monkeys, bears, tigers and lions. Entrance to the Seven Star Cave in the park costs an additional ¥60. ¥50.
  • West Hill Park (西山公园), 2 km west of downtown. Park with a lake, temples and hundreds of Buddhist statues. In the park is also the Hidden Hill with a series of caves. There is also the Guilin Museum, see separate entrance.
  • Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village (雄森熊虎山庄; Xióngsēn Xiónghǔ Shānzhuāng) (bus 4, 8 or 16). 09:00-17:00. Land of 300,000 square meters with tigers, bears, lions and other wild animals. There is research, breeding and entertainment. The place is a bit dingy and you don’t see the animals in their natural environment, but you get close to the animals and can see them much more actively than in a zoo. ¥80.

Landscape close to the city centre

  • Diecai Mountain (叠彩山; Diécǎishān), Longzhu Rd (龙珠路; Lóngzhūlù (bus 2, 13 or 58 will take you there). 08:30-17:30. A park built around several peaks that can be climbed by stone stairs. The park also houses a small aviary and a butterfly museum with examples of feathered and mounted butterflies and moths. ¥35 (Oct. 2011).
  • Fubo Hill (伏波山; Fúbōshān) (northeast of the city, on the banks of the Li River), +86 773 2803000. Contains historical stone carvings dating back to the Tang Dynasty and Buddhist inscriptions. The hill itself is an impressive steep cliff. ¥30.
  • Elephant Trunk Hill (象鼻山; Xiàngbíshān), Binjiang Rd (滨江路; Bīnjiānglù) (in Xiangshan Park (象山公园) on the banks of the Li River, within walking distance of the city center and close to bus lines 23 and 16), +86 773 2803000. 07:00-22:00. A hill with a large natural arch. It looks like an elephant’s trunk sinking into the river. This scene is often used as a symbol of the city, which has given it a certain fame. There is a fun and cheaper alternative to get to the park: You can walk all the way down the river on the road to the right of the west gate and you’ll find a few people asking if you want a boat that will take you into the park for half the price of the official ticket. It is almost impossible to get a good view of the natural arch without taking a boat ride, as trees have been planted to prevent you from dawdling. ¥75.
  • Peach Blossom River (桃花江; Táohuājiāng). It is a river that runs through the western parts of the city. It is a nice and relaxing place. As the name suggests, you can see the peach blossoms in spring and the red leaves in autumn.
  • Reed Flute Cave (芦笛岩; Lúdíyán), Ludi Rd (芦笛路; Lúdílù) (about 5 km west of Guilin, by bus line 3 or with rental bikes and a map for a pleasant ride). 08:00-17:30 hours. This limestone cave with impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations is worth a visit if you have not seen such caves before. An English-speaking guide will lead you through the various artificially lit formations, which supposedly look like lions, monkeys, old men, the skyline of Guilin, etc. In the cave, you will also see a short laser, light and music show. You may have to wait for a while until a large enough group has gathered. To avoid street vendors, take the elevated path on the side of the hill and not the paved road. ¥90.
  • Solitary Beauty Peak (独秀峰) (take a cab or bus 1 or 2 from Guilin Railway Station, both buses drop off passengers at the western entrance to the summit area), +86 773 280 3149. 08:00-17:00. Rises dramatically above the center of Guilin and offers spectacular views of the city and surrounding countryside. As with so many peaks and rocky elevations in and around Guilin, centuries of sightseeing have led to the creation of a carved staircase leading to the summit. The trail begins at Wang Cheng, the Ming Dynasty palace in the center of town, which now houses the campus of Guangxi Normal University and is also the site of evening performances by local ethnic minorities. Of the original buildings, only the ramparts and part of the foundations remain, the buildings themselves are all newer. ¥70.
  • Yaoshan Hill Park (尧山; Yáoshān), Jingjiang Rd (a few kilometers east of the city center, buses 10 and 98 pass nearby, but still a long walk), +86 773 5864592. This is a large landscaped park that includes the highest peak in the area. There are hiking trails to the summit, but the chairlift makes it effortless to reach the top and enjoy the scenery. From the summit, there is an expansive view of the surrounding area. On one part of the mountain, there is a sledging track with wheels. To get there, you have to leave the chairlift at the station located halfway down. A cab to and from the park costs about ¥25 per ride. If you intend to do so, inform the ground station staff so that they can help you down. There is also a Ming Dynasty mausoleum nearby. The park is not on any tourist map, so if you ask where it is, you might get a few stares. ¥60.
  • Feng Yu Yan (丰鱼岩). Feng Yuyan because of the river where the oil abundance of fish called, known as “one to nine, Miao Jing must the world” reputation, known as “the first hole of Asia”.

Parks and landscape outside the city centre

  • Crown Cave (冠岩; Guānyán), 45 minutes by long-distance bus, then by monorail or visitor jeep (¥35) to the cave entrance. 3 km of the cave is currently accessible to tourists. At the entrance of the cave, take the elevator and go down 30 meters deep. After observing the various stalactite and stalagmite formations, you can also visit the waterfall (¥5) in the cave. Then you can take the monorail to visit the biggest and most beautiful part of the cave. To leave the cave, you can either go back to the entrance or take a boat that will take you from the cave to the banks of the Li River. ¥65 per person without transportation to/from the cave entrance.
  • Gudong Waterfall (古东; Gǔdōng) (near the Crown Cave, 25 km from Guilin, accessible by bus). 08:30-17:00. Spring waterfall. ¥60.

Nearby towns and villages

  • Ancient city of Daxu (大圩古镇), 23 km southeast of Guilin, 1.5 hours by bus (near the Crown Cave). Ancient city located on the east bank of the Li River and dating back over 1,000 years. The city is beautifully located near the Millstone Hill and the Snail Hill. The heart of the city is the Blue Stone Road, 2 km long, with many well-preserved buildings. The city has many monuments dating back hundreds of years, including the Gauzu Temple, Hanhuang Temple, Meeting Halls, Longevity Bridge and Seven Star Tombs.

Museums & Galleries in Guilin

  • Guilin Art Museum (桂林艺术博物馆), 173 Longchuanping Rd (bus 11, 33 or 99). 08:30-17:00. Free of charge.
  • Guilin Museum, 4 Xishan Rd (西山路; Xīshānlù) (in West Hill Park, bus 3 or 14). 08:30-17:30. Exhibits more than 20,000 objects from ancient, minority, regional, and revolutionary times. ¥20.
  • Li River Folk Custom Center (漓江民俗风情园; Líjiāng Mínsúfēngqíngyuán), 250 Linjiang Rd250 (临江路号; Línjiānglù) (bus 13, 14, and 58).08:30-21:30. Exhibits folk art, handicrafts, architecture, food, and culture of various local ethnic groups. The center also organizes local music and dance performances. 45 ¥ during the day, 60 ¥ in the evening.

Things To Do In Guilin

Guilin City

  • Cruise on the Li River, e-mail: [email protected] 4h. The boats are used frequently and can be arranged by any hotel in Guilin. Most tourists leave Guilin for Yangshuo (a very picturesque little town downstream from Guilin). The river meanders through some really spectacular limestone formations, and a slow cruise there and back (with a stopover in Yangshuo) can take a whole day. If you use the deluxe cruise, allow a few extra hours to go see the cormorants fishing in a small village near Yangshuo for an extra ¥200. ¥400 (luxury), ¥360 (normal), ¥140 (bamboo).
  • Two Rivers and Four Lakes Cruise, Binjiang Rd, +86 773 2831040, +86 773 2888805. 09:00-21:30 every half hour. A boat trip around the four lakes and two rivers of Guilin city. At night, the scenery is spectacularly illuminated. In the middle of the tour, there is a traditional cormorant fishing demonstration. This is the best night activity. Tours last about 90 minutes. ¥200 (¥180 outside the high season).
  • Dreaming on Li River Show (夢幻漓江秀; Mènghuàn Líjiāng Xiù), 95 Qixing Rd95 (七星路号; Qīxīnglù), +86 773 2851279. 20:00. Dance and music theatrical performance every day. The show attempts to reflect the culture of the different ethnic groups around Guilin. ¥150.
  • Mountain bike rental, 40 Sanduo Road40 (三多路号), +86 13635190031. 09:00 – 18:00. A bike store located downtown with 24/27-speed mountain bikes for rent (¥45-100 per day). English speaking staff. Many one- and multi-day bike/hiking tours in and around Guilin.

Neighbouring towns and villages

  • Wupai River Drifting (2 hours north of Guilin (in Ziyuan district)), +86 773 4315888. White water rafting on this picturesque river.
  • Guilin Shangri-la Park (halfway between Guilin and Yangshuo). This ethnic theme park is set in a beautiful landscape and 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, different shows are presented on the shores of the lake, illustrating different aspects of the culture. The boat will drop you off at the “village”, where you can see local handicrafts such as weaving, embroidery, buffalo horn carving and calligraphy. These crafts are made on site and you can see them at work.
  • Butterfly Cave, +86 773 8811466, +86 773 8811498, +86 773 8811469, +86 773 8829978, fax: +86 773 881498, +86 773 8829978, e-mail: [email protected] Two mountains with steep slopes, surrounded by a butterfly theme park. One of the mountains has a cave that runs through its core. In this cave, there are many strange rock formations, including stalagmites and stalactites. One particularly unusual formation is shaped like a butterfly and gives the mountain its name. A suspension bridge leads from the exit of the cave to the other mountain. On the side of the bridge, a waterfall falls down the mountain. The path goes around the top of the second mountain and down to the gardens below. Here, each group of tourists is greeted by a dance demonstration. The last step is a walk through a net area where a wide variety of butterflies can be observed.
  • Guilin Merryland World Resort, located about an hour’s drive north of Guilin, offers two attractions:
  • Golf course, +86 773 6229898, fax: +86 773 6229906. Beautiful 27-hole golf course. A little expensive, but worth it.
  • Theme park.

Food & Restaurants In Guilin

Local cuisine

Guilin’s cuisine is influenced by Cantonese and Hunanese cuisine, but it uses more fish and spices and is often prepared by pan-frying or steaming. Restaurants often assume that Westerners don’t like spicy food and make your meal pretty bland if you don’t insist. Even then, chances are you won’t be believed.

In Guilin, some special local ingredients are used in a variety of dishes.

  • Chilli paste is a sauce used in local dishes and sold in other parts of China and abroad. It is made from chili, lobster, garlic and Sanhua wine.
  • Fermented bean curd has been produced in Guilin for over 300 years and is known for its unique taste.
  • Fruits. Guilin is known for its fruits, especially Shatian pomelo, Arhat fruit and gingkgo.

Like many other Chinese cities, Guilin also has its own snack bars.

  • The horse hoof cake (Matigao) is a local snack. It is a crumbly cake filled with red beans.
  • Mung bean paste rice is steamed rice stuffed with mung bean paste or other ingredients. It is often eaten for breakfast.
  • Sweet tofu mixed with a particular flower is another delicious breakfast dish. Look for street vendors who put an orange liquid in a bag of steaming hot tofu that you then drink through a straw.
  • Water chestnut cake made with rice flour, brown sugar, water chestnut powder and sesame powder.

There are a number of dishes that can only be found in Guilin or that are particularly famous here.

  • Daxu clear water fish is a specialty of the ancient city of Daxu. The fish is cooked with salt and ginger.
  • Duck wrapped in lotus leaf, made of duck, dry lotus leaf, meat, bamboo shoots, ham, mushrooms, beans, shrimps and spices.
  • Fengli rice paste steamed, dried and fried with ham, celery, cauliflower or green garlic.
  • Now, vegetarian noodle is a noodle soup cooked with bean sprouts, mushrooms and bamboo shoots and prepared with . The soup has a golden color, a sweet taste and a delicious smell. The noodles are first cooked and then placed in bowls into which the soup is poured. It is served with Guilin fermented tofu, scrambled eggs, vegetarian ham, gluten flour and some spices. The freshly cooked dish is very tasty, and the smell and color are also pleasant. The Crescent Moon Building in Seven Star Park has a good reputation for its Nun noodles.
  • Old duck with gingko from the famous Guilin, steamed duck and ham.
  • Rice noodles (mifen) are a local delicacy, which can also be found in pan-fried form (chaofen). They are served everywhere, but it is best to avoid establishments near the train station. Traditionally, the noodles and filling are first eaten without soup, and when the filling is used up, there is usually a pot of soup to season the remaining noodles. There are also different pickles and spices that you can add to your noodles. The portions are sold and labeled in small, medium and large sizes. (一两;二两;三两)The small portion is more of a snack, so get the medium. There is a good place on the road behind Zhongshan Hotel.
  • Roasted suckling pig. The pork is fed with rice, roasted according to specific local methods, then seasoned with shallots, soy sauce and white sugar.
  • Escargot with sour bell pepper, shallots, ginger and Sanhua wine
  • Steamed meat with water chestnut, made from peeled water chestnut, meat and spices.
  • Steamed mung beans and meat wrapped in lotus leaves. Homemade dish made of pork sautéed with skin, soy sauce, mung bean flour, lotus leaves, fermented tofu and many spices.

Restaurant streets

There are restaurants all over the city. Near the train station, there are several establishments that offer cheap and simple, but delicious local food. The main streets, Jiefang Road and along the river have many restaurants, but many of them are either overpriced chains and/or tourist traps, and the food they serve is not very authentic. Don’t be fooled by the fact that they are crowded, they are not worth it. A better option is to stroll the side streets.

There are a number of restaurants worth discovering.

  • Binjiang Rd (滨江路美食街; Bīnjiānglù Měishíjiē)
  • Food City (directly east of the bus station)
  • Guilinren Wangjiao Food Street (桂林人旺角美食街; Guìlínrén Wàngjiǎo) in Zhongshan Middle Rd (bus 11,18, 100). On this street, there are many snack bars.
  • Jiefang West Rd (解放西路美食街; Jiěfàngxīlù Měishíjiē)
  • Nanhuan Rd (南环路; Nánhuánlù) connects Zhongshan Rd to Elephant Trunk Mountain. On this street, there are a number of cheap and medium-sized restaurants. Many restaurants display live animals on the street to illustrate what is on the menu.
  • Putuo Rd (普陀路美食街; Pǔtuólù Měishíjiē)
  • Yiren Rd (依仁路; Yīrénlù) runs east-west on the north side of Central Square. On this street, there are restaurants ranging from buffet cafes to trendy coffee shops.
  • In the Ximen Bridge area (西门桥周围; Xīménqiáozhōuwéi), there are many Muslim restaurants.
  • Zhishan Rd (雉山路美食街; Zhìshānlù Měishíjiē; opposite Food City)
  • Zhongshan Street (中山路; Zhōngshānlù)

Budget

  • Wada Bar @ Wada Hostel (瓦当旅舍), 212 Huancheng Xiyi Rd (Chinese address: 环城西一路212号), +86 773 215 4888. This place has a great atmosphere that attracts many foreign travelers from all over the world. The spacious open-air lounge has a great atmosphere where you can hang out all day. In the evening, there is music and a happy hour with premium cocktails at 20-30 Y each. Great Western/Chinese cuisine to choose from.

Mid-range

  • Hao Heng Shi Jia, 2nd floor, 9 Middle Zhong Shan Rd. Good steaks, western and Chinese cuisine. Located on the main shopping street. Internet cafe on the first floor.
  • Islam Restaurant, 55 Xicheng Rd55 (西城路号), +86 773-2819737. Owned by the Guilin Islamic Association. Serves traditional halal dishes.
  • Jufulin, 10 Zhengyang Rd (near Central Square). Standard Chinese food is served. Seating inside and outside, it can be a bit crowded inside, but it’s nice outside.
  • Rosemary Cafe, 1 Yiren Rd (in the pedestrian area near Jiefang Bridge), good coffee and western food, wholemeal sandwiches. Free wifi. Some books for sale or exchange. The staff is polite and efficient, if perhaps a bit cold.

Coffee & Drinks in Guilin

  • UBC Cafe (Shangdao Kafei), Yiren Rd (near Central Square). This is a Shanghainese chain of cafes that offers Chinese and Western dishes. The menu seems reasonable, but sometimes it seems that they serve more or less the same thing, whatever you order. Great establishment with a pianist.
  • Kaya Cafe & Bar, Zhonghua Lu 6 (from the pedestrian zone, go towards Solitary Beauty Peak (north), turn right at the door and immediately left, 50 meters on the right). One of the few real bars in Guilin. Very relaxed atmosphere. Located in a quiet street near the center. Offers relaxing music. They also have a branch in Yangshuo.
  • West Bank Café, 4/F, Binjiang Building, 18 Binjiang Rd, +86 773-2882259. Decent cafe with jazz music and river view.

Shopping In Guilin

There is a large underground bazaar that stretches from the train station to the bus station and sells clothes, shoes, accessories, bags and more. The second underground market is located underneath the city center and sells food, bags, cell phones and other electronics. Be sure to haggle if prices are not openly displayed.

Brand name luxury goods can be purchased at department stores located near Cross Street. Suncome has many stores throughout the city that sell everyday goods.

On Zhongshan Lu there is also a street market at night, where typical tourist decorations are sold.

Nightlife In Guilin

  • 100 C, Binjiang Rd (near Sheraton Hotel). Very good bar with good music.
  • Red Lips — On the Road — Usual Place — Go In, Chuanshan South Rd (street leading to Chuanshan Park, corner of Lijiang Road, near Li River Chuanshan Bridge). Four new bars nearby, all nicely decorated and with a relaxed atmosphere, some with internet access, young crowd, often English-speaking Chinese students. Also nearby, Sharon’s Coffee, which offers excellent western food (e.g. steak, schnitzel, burger and baguettes).
  • Logo (formerly Le Feitz), 1-8 Chaoyang Rd, 540004 (100 m from the north gate of Guangxi Normal University), +86 13737734082. 19:00-03:00. Bar/club, often a cover band plays and/or the DJ is very loud, but the atmosphere is not bad if the audience is good.

Stay Safe & Healthy In Guilin

Guilin is quite safe by both Chinese and international standards, but still:

  • If you go to a bar or club, be aware that the large number of Western patrons has caused many club employees to become disgruntled – and they are often aggressive, even violent. In 2015, an Irish tourist was stabbed at Muse Night Club in downtown Guilin by a group of bouncers who were beating him up behind the club. He survived, but the group attack, stabbing, and police inaction show how vulnerable foreign travelers are in excessively touristy areas.
  • In the city center, be especially careful with your valuables (money belt), as pickpocketing is common in many tourist areas. The bus station is the most dangerous place in the city. Be on your guard when getting on and off the bus! Never carry your wallet in your pocket! Organized gangs of pickpockets operate in this area and will focus on you if you are not of East Asian origin.
  • Also beware of begging children in the city parks, as there are rumors that they want to assault you if you don’t buy them flowers. Parents apparently act as “witnesses” to the assault.

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