Chinese Language Blog

72 Hours in Guilin (Part One) Posted by on Nov 14, 2017 in Culture

More and more Chinese cities are welcoming tourists for short visa-free visits. In addition to Beijing, Kunming, and Chengdu, the beautiful city of Guilin (桂林 – guì lín) also allows you to visit for three days without the hassle and expense of getting a visa. Famed for its karst mountain peaks along the Li River, this city and the nearby town of Yangshuo (阳朔 – yáng shuò) have a lot to offer travelers, even with only a few days. Let’s take a closer look at what you can do with 72 hours in Guilin.

Day One

Wada Hostel

Home for the night.

After arriving at Guilin airport, head to the Wada Youth Hostel (瓦當青年旅舍 – wǎ dàng qīng nián lǚ shě) and check in before exploring the city.

zhè ge qīng nián lǚ shě fēi cháng hǎo
This youth hostel is great.

This hostel has private rooms as well as dorms, plenty of places to chill out, a pool table, a restaurant, and a bar. They can provide you with all the information you need for your short visit to Guilin and Yangshuo, and can even help you book transportation and tours. While you could easily spend the day just hanging out here, you have to get out and see some of the city on your one and only day there. But first, it’s time to eat!

Guilin Rice Noodles

Mmmm… Guilin rice noodles.

For lunch, you’ve got to go with a piping hot bowl of Guilin rice noodles (桂林米粉 – guì lín mǐ fěn). There are hundreds of varieties of noodles across China, and this is one of the most famous. You can find Guilin rice noodles all over the country, but nothing beats the original.

guì lín mǐ fěn yòu hǎo chī yòu pián yí
Guilin rice noodles are delicious and cheap.

For just about 6 RMB (around $1), this is a great bargain. It just comes with noodles, pork, and soup, but there are plenty of options for spicing it up – pickled veggies, chili sauce, garlic, and more. With a full belly, you’re ready to get out and take a walk in the park.

Seven Star Park

72 Hours in Guilin (Part One)

A nice walk in the park.

With just one day in Guilin, you should spend the afternoon wandering around the Seven Star Park (七星公园 – qī xīng gōng yuán). As is the case all over China, spending time in a park is a great way to soak up the local culture. People love coming here to play cards, practice water calligraphy, take part in group dancing, or just to sit around drinking tea. You can also see some small waterfalls, a Buddhist temple, and a hill that looks like a camel. There are some real animals as well…

nǐ kě yǐ kàn dào hěn duō hóu zi zài zhè lǐ
You can see a lot of monkeys here.

Monkeys all over the place.

Be sure to heed the advice of the Chinglish sign – “Be careful monkeys dangerous!” Once you’ve had enough monkey business, you can head out of the park and chill out by the Li River (漓江 – lí jiāng) before the sun goes down.

Down by the river!

You’ll see plenty of locals fishing or just hanging out. People in Guilin are super friendly, so this is a great time to practice your Chinese! Enjoy the famous scenery of the river and the karst mountains, and get excited for even more of it in the days to come. Pretty soon, you’ll be cruising along this majestic river in a bamboo raft. For now, though, it’s time to hit the streets in search of something tasty.

Night Market

There’s lots to eat here.

In the evening, take a stroll along Xicheng Pedestrian Street (西城路步行街 – xī chéng lù bù xíng jiē), where you’ll find a bustling night market and plenty of restaurants, including one called “Forest Gump.” If you’re brave enough, there’s plenty of delicious street food available here. If not, you can find cuisines from all around the world – American, Italian, Japanese, Indian – you name it. Nearby, you can also take in the views of the Sun and Moon Towers (日月双塔 – rì yuè shuāng tǎ), which are illuminated at night.

chī fàn yǐ hòu nǐ yīng gāi huí sù shè
After eating, you should go back to the hostel.

While there are several bars, KTV joints, and clubs in Guilin, you’ll want to get a good night’s sleep before heading off to Yangshuo the next day so you can enjoy some outdoor activities without a hangover. Don’t worry – there are two more nights and plenty of places to party there as well.

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.


  1. Casey:

    Great post, I really enjoyed it 🙂 Guilin looks like a beautiful place. I’d love to go there.. Oh and I’d like to invite everyone to our blog where you can download our free Mandarin Chinese word and phrase builder. Enjoy!

  2. Casey:

    Great post, I really enjoyed it 🙂 I’d like to invite everyone to our blog where you can download our free Mandarin Chinese word and phrase builder. Enjoy!

  3. Jon o:

    Hi Sasha. Great post! I’m in Guilin with my 7 of my high school students from Boston. We’re having a great time and have done a bunch of things mentioned in you post. Quick question— my students are interested in trying to watch the super bowl on Monday morning. Any suggestions of where we might find the game on tv? A sports bar or something?

    Take care.

    • sasha:

      @Jon o Thanks for the comment, Jon! I’m glad to hear you guys are enjoying Guilin and found the post helpful. As far as where to watch the Super Bowl, I really have no idea. Guilin is not exactly a huge ex-pat hub and I had no luck finding a sports bar or Super Bowl party there in a Google search… It’s easy to find something like that in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, etc. but might be tough in Guilin. I’d ask at your hotel and see if they can make some phone calls or search Baidu for you! Enjoy your trip, Sasha

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