Chinese Language Blog

72 Hours in Guilin (Part Two) Posted by on Nov 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

There is a saying in Chinese that goes: “Guilin’s scenery is the finest under Heaven” (桂林山水甲天下 – guì lín shān shuǐ jiǎ tiān xià), and for good reason. The beauty of Guilin has been inspiration for artists, poets, and musicians alike for thousands of years. While the city of Guilin is certainly worthy of a day, an even better idea is to head a little south of the city to Yangshuo (阳朔 – yáng shuò). Surrounded by stunning karst (岩溶 – yán róng) mountains and two rivers, this little town is a thriving tourist destination, with plenty of hotels, restaurants, and shops. Our 72 hours in Guilin rolls on to this scenic town for two days full of adventure.

Day Two

Tripper’s Carpe Diem

Home sweet home in Yangshuo.

Due to its stunning karst mountains and location along the Li River, Yangshuo is an incredibly touristy town. If you don’t want to be surrounded by selfie-snapping, matching hat-wearing tour groups, you’ll want to stay outside of the main area.

zhè lǐ de fēng jǐng hěn měi
The scenery here is very beautiful.

The Tripper’s Carpe Diem hostel located just outside of the town comes highly recommended, as it’s in a nice, quiet location, has great food (and Belgian beer!), and the staff are incredibly helpful and friendly. They also have bikes for rent, so get yourself some wheels and get ready to explore this beautiful part of China.


Get out there and explore!

While the crowds in the center of town may make you wonder why you came out here, never fear – they’re easy to escape! With a bike, you can be out in the countryside surrounded by the majestic karst peaks in no time. Plus, Chinese tourists are generally quite lazy – they much prefer packing on to a tour bus than peddling a bike around in the hot sun.

nǐ kě yǐ kàn dào yú mín hé shuǐ niú
You can see fishermen and water buffalo.

Fishermen and water buffalo out in the countryside.

Within half an hour, you’ll forget all about the hordes of tourists and tacky souvenir shops. Out in the countryside around Yangshuo, you’ll see far more fishermen and water buffaloes than tour groups. If you need some more excitement, you can even scale the karst mountain peaks.

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is still huge here.

zhè shì yí gè pān yán de hǎo dì fāng
This is a great place to go rock climbing.

The sport that put this little town on the map decades ago is still huge in Yangshuo. There are plenty of options for rock climbing (攀岩 – pān yán), from half-day starter courses to epic multi-day trips. With over 300 routes of varying difficulties, there’s a lot to keep you busy if you’re into climbing. Whether you’re a total beginner or an expert, you can enjoy an afternoon of climbing up these epic mountains.

Beer Fish

The towns specialty – beer fish. Mmmm… beer fish.

pí jiǔ yú tè bié hǎo chī
Beer fish is very delicious.

After working up an appetite cycling or rock climbing, you’ve got to try the local specialty of beer fish (啤酒鱼 – pí jiǔ yú). Choose your own fish from the tank and have it cooked up in a mixture of chillies and beer. Order up some side dishes and a bowl of rice, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a meal. After a big day and a big lunch, it’s time to chill out for a bit and get ready for an amazing show.

Impression Liu Sanjie

A show not to be missed.

zhè ge biǎo xiàn fēi cháng kě guān
This performance is very impressive

Every night, you can catch the awe-inspiring Impression Liu Sanjie (印象刘三姐 – yìn xiàng liú sān jiě) performance in the world’s largest natural theater. Set on the river with the karst mountains as the backdrop, this epic show highlights the culture of the Zhuang people and features hundreds of local people. Of the three Impression shows in China (others are in Hangzhou and Lijiang), this one is far and away the best.

Rooftop Dive Bars


The Grateful Gypsies and the legendary Monkey Jane.

Taking a walk along West Street is fun, but going into the awful bars pumping out offensively loud music to hammered drunk Han Chinese men is not. If you’re looking to wet your whistle, head instead to one of the rooftop bars for cheap drinks and good times. From raging at the legendary Monkey Jane’s, to silly beach parties at Bad Panda, to a game of beer pong at Mojo, there are still plenty of great backpacker bars here. Go ahead and party hard tonight – you’ve earned it! The third and final day will be pretty relaxing, as you’ll be able to cruise on a bamboo raft and/or a motorbike to wind down your 72 hours in Guilin.

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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.

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