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Guilin Travel Information

Get in
By plane
There are daily flights to Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (KWL) from major mainland cities and from Hong Kong, Bangkok(not regular), Kuala Lumpur,Osaka and Seoul. Air Asia provides flights to Guilin from Kuala Lumpur every day.

By train
Guilin has two train stations. Guilin station (Guilin Zhan) is in the centre of town on Zhongshan Nanlu while Guilin North station (Guilin Bei Zhan) is far away from downtown area. Most, but not all, trains which originate/terminate in Guilin go to or come from Guilin North while trains which come through Guilin from elsewhere usually only go to Guilin station and not Guilin North.

There are trains from North (Beijing, Changsha, Wuhan, Shanghai, Xian), West (Kunming), South (Liuzhou, Nanning, Zhanjiang), and East (Guangzhou, Shenzhen).

From Beijing--If for some reason you need to rush from Beijing to Guilin or vice-versa, there are three trains on either direction. To Beijing, trains depart from Guilin (not Guilin Bei) at 12:59AM (train from Zhanjiang), 3:06PM (from Nanning) and 7:30PM. Journey time is between 22 hour to 30 hours, with the 3:06PM train being the fastest.

From Hong Kong via Shenzhen--Take MTR to Lo Wu via the East Rail line. After going through immigration and customs, keep to the left when exiting. To get to the area for long distance travel, you need to walk past the Guangzhou trains area. The T38 departs 17:51 arriving Guilin 06:42. The ticket will cost approximately 430 RMB for a soft sleeper and 245 RMB for a hard sleeper (prices vary slightly depending on the bunk position). The return trip T40 departs Guilin 21:28 arriving Shenzhen 10:35.

From Guangzhou and Shenzhen--Two trains to GuangGet in
By plane
There are daily flights to Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (KWL) from major mainland cities and from Hong Kong, Bangkok(not regular), Kuala Lumpur,Osaka and Seoul. Air Asia provides flights to Guilin from Kuala Lumpur every day.

By train
Guilin has two train stations. Guilin station (Guilin Zhan) is in the centre of town on Zhongshan Nanlu while Guilin North station (Guilin Bei Zhan) is far away from downtown area. Most, but not all, trains which originate/terminate in Guilin go to or come from Guilin North while trains which come through Guilin from elsewhere usually only go to Guilin station and not Guilin North.

There are trains from North (Beijing, Changsha, Wuhan, Shanghai, Xian), West (Kunming), South (Liuzhou, Nanning, Zhanjiang), and East (Guangzhou, Shenzhen).

From Beijing--If for some reason you need to rush from Beijing to Guilin or vice-versa, there are three trains on either direction. To Beijing, trains depart from Guilin (not Guilin Bei) at 12:59AM (train from Zhanjiang), 3:06PM (from Nanning) and 7:30PM. Journey time is between 22 hour to 30 hours, with the 3:06PM train being the fastest.

From Hong Kong via Shenzhen--Take MTR to Lo Wu via the East Rail line. After going through immigration and customs, keep to the left when exiting. To get to the area for long distance travel, you need to walk past the Guangzhou trains area. The T38 departs 17:51 arriving Guilin 06:42. The ticket will cost approximately 430 RMB for a soft sleeper and 245 RMB for a hard sleeper (prices vary slightly depending on the bunk position). The return trip T40 departs Guilin 21:28 arriving Shenzhen 10:35.

From Guangzhou and Shenzhen--Two trains to Guangzhou daily, leaving at 6:04PM (from Liuzhou) and 8PM. The latter goes all the way to Shenzhen.

From Hong Kong via Guangzhou--It is relatively easy to book a train ticket to either Shenzhen or Guangzhou on MTR, however note that if going to Guangzhou there are two stations in this city, the MTR trains terminate in "Guangzhou Station" and the domestic trains depart from the other "East" station which is on the other side of the city and a fairly long metro ride (English is on the Metro ticket machine). There is a metro entrance in the train station when you arrive in Guangzhou, and its a bit of a pain to find, just look for the stairs going down in a corner of the station. The tickets to Guilin are sold around the corner from this exit, you have to go outside the station and you'll see another set of ticket stalls. Whether there will be tickets available depends on how early you are booking, don't expect to get them for the day of travel.

From Kunming--The fastest trains from Kunming are those which go via Nanning and the scenic Nankun railway, taking around 20 hours. Those going via Guiyang take at least 28 hours. If traveling to Kunming, trains depart Guilin at 5:46AM (from Zhengzhou via Guiyang), 8:52AM (via Nanning), 1:34PM (from Nanjing via Guiyang) and 7PM (from Shanghai via Nanning).

From Nanning--There are around ten trains to choose from if coming from Nanning (5 to 6 hours). From Guilin (not Guilin Bei) to Nanning, trains depart at 12:13AM (train from Xian), 6:22AM (from Nanchang), 7:48AM, 8:09AM (train from Zhengzhou), 8:26AM, 8:52AM (train to Kunming), 2:36PM (train from Beijing), 4:13PM (from Wuxi), 4:05PM, 7PM (from Shanghai to Kunming). The fastest train is the 8:26AM, taking just 5 hours. All these trains stop at Liuzhou (2 hours from Guilin). One way hard seat ticket cost 65 RMB.

From Chengdu--There is 1 train per day from Chengdu, the K652. It departs Chengdu at 3:15 PM and arrives 25 hours later. Cost is about 230RMB.
Note that once you get out of the train station, you will be approached by cab drivers/other drivers alike. While their cab meters are trustworthy, they might use a few tricks to offload you of some RMB, for example, aggressively pushing tours or adding false charges to the tab.

By car
There are some expressways locally and within the province, however for any long distance journey, it is a 2 lane road.

By bus
From Yangshuo--Minibuses (14 RMB) depart when full from the square in front of the Guilin railway station. Although the signs are written in Chinese, there are always conductors yelling out "Yangshuo". As the buses pick-up and let down passengers along the way, the journey time can take anything from one to one-half hours. Express buses (15 RMB) depart from the Guilin bus terminal off Zhongshan Nanlu, several hundred metres north of the railway station (and on the same side of the road as the station). Buses depart about every 20min from 7AM. Buy tickets from the ticket office in the bus terminal.

From elsewhere--Buses link Guilin with a multitude of destinations, including Nanning, Kunming, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and further afield. Buses depart from the Guilin bus terminal on Zhongshan Nanlu, several hundred metres north of the railway station.

By boat
You can get to Guilin by cargo boat from Guangzhou via Wuzhou, but there are no passenger boats to Guilin anymore, except the boats to and from Yangshuo. You can take a cargo boat if you want to at almost no cost from Wuzhou to Yangshuo.

Get around

Getting a local map from a tourist guide or shop for 5 RMB is a good idea. This will show the location of most of the sights as well as details of bus routes. Buses are an ideal way to get around Guilin on a budget. Many city parks and river spots can be accessed easily by bus. All the buses starting with 5# are free. A useful one is bus 58 which runs from the train station ( and bus station) to many of the attractions. Bus fare are capped at 1 RMB per trip.

Taxis are also inexpensive and easily hailed within the city. Usually hard to catch during peak hours(5:30-7PM).

Learn

The Chinese Language Institute--CLI is a branch of Guangxi Normal University (GXNU) that expands upon GXNU's program to provide all students with 5-20 weekly hours of one-on-one lessons, options of home-stays and immersed housing with Chinese graduate students, weekly activities and monthly travel excursions, 24-hour emergency assistance, pre-arrival assistance, and visa and housing assistance. CLI offers classes ranging from a few days, to a few weeks, to a semester, to an academic year. CLI benefits from being operated by an international staff.
Guangxi Normal University--the finest university in Guilin, offering a wide-range of Chinese language and culture classes. see The Chinese Language Institute above for the premier program offered at GXNU Guilin University of Technology. You may join regular or part-time Chinese Language and Cultural Courses provided by Guilin University of Technology which stands near the Seven-star park in the downtown area.

Eat

The local delicacy is Guilin Rice Noodles (Gui Lin Mi Fen), also available as stir-fried (Chao Fen). This is served everywhere, but try to avoid the joints near the train station. Traditionally the noodle and the topping is first eaten without soup, and once the topping has run out there is usually a pot of soup to add flavour to the rest of your noodles. There are also various pickles and condiments that you can add to your noodles.

A local snack is "horse hoof cake" (Ma Ti Gao), which is a crumbly cake stuffed with red beans filling. Another delicious breakfast item is sweet tofu infused with a certain flower. Look for roadside vendors adding orange-coloured liquid to a steaming hot bag of tofu, which you then drink with a straw.

Budget

Mid-range
There are many restaurants around the main streets, Jiefang Road and along the river, but many of them are either overpriced chains and/or tourist traps and the food they serve is less than authentic. Do not be fooled by them being crowded, they are not worth the money. A better option may be to wander the side streets.

Restaurants often assume westerners do not like spicy food and will make your food bland as hell if you do not insist otherwise. Even then there is a chance they will not believe you.

Rosemary Cafe, (In the pedestrianized area near Jiefang Bridge). Good coffee and western food. Decent sandwiches with wholemeal bread. Free Wifi. A few books for sale or exchange. Staff are polite and efficient, though perhaps slightly cool in their attitude.

Hao Heng Shi Jia, 2nd floor, 9 Middle Zhong Shan Road. Good steaks, western and Chinese food. Located on the main shopping street. Internet cafe just upstairs.

Sharon's Coffee, Chuanshan South Road (Street to Chuanshan Park, at the corner Lijiang Road, near by Li River Chuanshan Bridge). Pleasant atmosphere, coffee, cocktails, excellent Western food (try the Schnitzel and the iced coffee). Sharon, known as 'Shaz' to the Aussies, is your hostess and goes out of her way to help you.

Zhengyang Souper Restaurant. Despite the tacky name and shambolic decor this restaurant on the main pedestrian area near the clock tower is popular with locals (do not be fooled by the empty outside tables, they all prefer to sit inside). It has an English menu and helpful staff. Serves a good variety of Chinese dishes including local delicacies like Steamed Li River Fish.

Splurge

Drink

Liquan beer and osmanthus tea.

Kaya cafee and bar, Zhonghua Lu 6 (from the walking street, walk to Solitary Beauty Peak (North), at the gate, go right and first left again, 50 meters on your right side). One of the few real bars in Guilin. Very laidback atmosphere. Located in a quiet street near the center. Offers chilled out music. They have regular parties, concerts, movies, etc.. They also have a branch in Yangshuo. edit
100 C, Binjiang Road (near sheraton hotel). Very good bar with great music.

Red Lips -- On the Road -- Usual Place -- Go In, Chuanshan South Road (street to Chuanshan Park, at the corner of Lijiang Road, close to Li River Chuanshan Bridge). Four new bars nearby, each nicely decorated and with relaxed atmosphere, some with Internet Access, young audience, often English speaking Chinese students. Also Sharon's Coffee for excellent Western food (e.g. steak, schnitzel, burgers and baguettes) close-by.

Le Feitz (Irish Pub), 1-8 Chaoyang Rd, 540004 Guilin (100m from Guangxi Normal University north gate). 19:00-03:00. Le Feitz is an authentic Irish Pub located in the universities area. Unique atmosphere with parties and live music (band and singers).

Sleep

Guilin is a tourism city. There are many hotels, more than 30 five-star hotels, 100 four-star hotels, and 200 three-star hotels.

Guishan Link Hotel, No. 42 Chuanshan Road, Qixing District, Guilin, Guangxi, China. Standing on the banks of the Li River, the hotel places you in one of the most beautiful spots in the city. The four-star Guishan Hotel in Guilin, China is surrounded by Li River, Elephant Trunk Hill, and Seven Star Cave. The spacious, air-conditioned rooms are each equipped with cable television, free Internet access, a private bath, and hair dryer.

Guilin Lijiang Waterfall Hotel - Da Pubu Dajiudian, 1 North Shanhu Rd (Centrally located near the main shopping area). The most ostentatious place to stay in Guilin, it features a man-made waterfall which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records. There are 646 rooms, indoor swimming pool, VIP health club and saunas.

Sheraton Hotel. Good location on the river, 2 minutes walk to main pedestrian area, 3 minutes to the Sun and Moon pagodas and 5 minutes to Elephant Trunk Hill park. Popular with westerners and probably the best western breakfast buffet you'll find in Guilin. edit
Hotel of Modern Art, Yuzi Paradise, DaBu Town, Yanshan district (Approx 30 minutes drive from the city center). This hotel is set inside Yuzi Paradise, a park full of stunning modern art in a remote rural location.

Guilin Merryland World Resort, (About 1 hours drive north of Guilin). The resort offers two types of accommodation: 5 Star Hotel, or Forrest Village. edit

Cope

Get out
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 foreign 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.zhou daily, leaving at 6:04PM (from Liuzhou) and 8PM. The latter goes all the way to Shenzhen.

From Hong Kong via Guangzhou--It is relatively easy to book a train ticket to either Shenzhen or Guangzhou on MTR, however note that if going to Guangzhou there are two stations in this city, the MTR trains terminate in "Guangzhou Station" and the domestic trains depart from the other "East" station which is on the other side of the city and a fairly long metro ride (English is on the Metro ticket machine). There is a metro entrance in the train station when you arrive in Guangzhou, and its a bit of a pain to find, just look for the stairs going down in a corner of the station. The tickets to Guilin are sold around the corner from this exit, you have to go outside the station and you'll see another set of ticket stalls. Whether there will be tickets available depends on how early you are booking, don't expect to get them for the day of travel.

From Kunming--The fastest trains from Kunming are those which go via Nanning and the scenic Nankun railway, taking around 20 hours. Those going via Guiyang take at least 28 hours. If traveling to Kunming, trains depart Guilin at 5:46AM (from Zhengzhou via Guiyang), 8:52AM (via Nanning), 1:34PM (from Nanjing via Guiyang) and 7PM (from Shanghai via Nanning).

From Nanning--There are around ten trains to choose from if coming from Nanning (5 to 6 hours). From Guilin (not Guilin Bei) to Nanning, trains depart at 12:13AM (train from Xian), 6:22AM (from Nanchang), 7:48AM, 8:09AM (train from Zhengzhou), 8:26AM, 8:52AM (train to Kunming), 2:36PM (train from Beijing), 4:13PM (from Wuxi), 4:05PM, 7PM (from Shanghai to Kunming). The fastest train is the 8:26AM, taking just 5 hours. All these trains stop at Liuzhou (2 hours from Guilin). One way hard seat ticket cost 65 RMB.

From Chengdu--There is 1 train per day from Chengdu, the K652. It departs Chengdu at 3:15 PM and arrives 25 hours later. Cost is about 230RMB.
Note that once you get out of the train station, you will be approached by cab drivers/other drivers alike. While their cab meters are trustworthy, they might use a few tricks to offload you of some RMB, for example, aggressively pushing tours or adding false charges to the tab.

By car
There are some expressways locally and within the province, however for any long distance journey, it is a 2 lane road.

By bus
From Yangshuo--Minibuses (14 RMB) depart when full from the square in front of the Guilin railway station. Although the signs are written in Chinese, there are always conductors yelling out "Yangshuo". As the buses pick-up and let down passengers along the way, the journey time can take anything from one to one-half hours. Express buses (15 RMB) depart from the Guilin bus terminal off Zhongshan Nanlu, several hundred metres north of the railway station (and on the same side of the road as the station). Buses depart about every 20min from 7AM. Buy tickets from the ticket office in the bus terminal.

From elsewhere--Buses link Guilin with a multitude of destinations, including Nanning, Kunming, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and further afield. Buses depart from the Guilin bus terminal on Zhongshan Nanlu, several hundred metres north of the railway station.

By boat
You can get to Guilin by cargo boat from Guangzhou via Wuzhou, but there are no passenger boats to Guilin anymore, except the boats to and from Yangshuo. You can take a cargo boat if you want to at almost no cost from Wuzhou to Yangshuo.

Get around

Getting a local map from a tourist guide or shop for 5 RMB is a good idea. This will show the location of most of the sights as well as details of bus routes. Buses are an ideal way to get around Guilin on a budget. Many city parks and river spots can be accessed easily by bus. All the buses starting with 5# are free. A useful one is bus 58 which runs from the train station ( and bus station) to many of the attractions. Bus fare are capped at 1 RMB per trip.

Taxis are also inexpensive and easily hailed within the city. Usually hard to catch during peak hours(5:30-7PM).

Learn

The Chinese Language Institute--CLI is a branch of Guangxi Normal University (GXNU) that expands upon GXNU's program to provide all students with 5-20 weekly hours of one-on-one lessons, options of home-stays and immersed housing with Chinese graduate students, weekly activities and monthly travel excursions, 24-hour emergency assistance, pre-arrival assistance, and visa and housing assistance. CLI offers classes ranging from a few days, to a few weeks, to a semester, to an academic year. CLI benefits from being operated by an international staff.
Guangxi Normal University--the finest university in Guilin, offering a wide-range of Chinese language and culture classes. see The Chinese Language Institute above for the premier program offered at GXNU Guilin University of Technology. You may join regular or part-time Chinese Language and Cultural Courses provided by Guilin University of Technology which stands near the Seven-star park in the downtown area.

Eat

The local delicacy is Guilin Rice Noodles (Gui Lin Mi Fen), also available as stir-fried (Chao Fen). This is served everywhere, but try to avoid the joints near the train station. Traditionally the noodle and the topping is first eaten without soup, and once the topping has run out there is usually a pot of soup to add flavour to the rest of your noodles. There are also various pickles and condiments that you can add to your noodles.

A local snack is "horse hoof cake" (Ma Ti Gao), which is a crumbly cake stuffed with red beans filling. Another delicious breakfast item is sweet tofu infused with a certain flower. Look for roadside vendors adding orange-coloured liquid to a steaming hot bag of tofu, which you then drink with a straw.

Budget

Mid-range
There are many restaurants around the main streets, Jiefang Road and along the river, but many of them are either overpriced chains and/or tourist traps and the food they serve is less than authentic. Do not be fooled by them being crowded, they are not worth the money. A better option may be to wander the side streets.

Restaurants often assume westerners do not like spicy food and will make your food bland as hell if you do not insist otherwise. Even then there is a chance they will not believe you.

Rosemary Cafe, (In the pedestrianized area near Jiefang Bridge). Good coffee and western food. Decent sandwiches with wholemeal bread. Free Wifi. A few books for sale or exchange. Staff are polite and efficient, though perhaps slightly cool in their attitude.

Hao Heng Shi Jia, 2nd floor, 9 Middle Zhong Shan Road. Good steaks, western and Chinese food. Located on the main shopping street. Internet cafe just upstairs.

Sharon's Coffee, Chuanshan South Road (Street to Chuanshan Park, at the corner Lijiang Road, near by Li River Chuanshan Bridge). Pleasant atmosphere, coffee, cocktails, excellent Western food (try the Schnitzel and the iced coffee). Sharon, known as 'Shaz' to the Aussies, is your hostess and goes out of her way to help you.

Zhengyang Souper Restaurant. Despite the tacky name and shambolic decor this restaurant on the main pedestrian area near the clock tower is popular with locals (do not be fooled by the empty outside tables, they all prefer to sit inside). It has an English menu and helpful staff. Serves a good variety of Chinese dishes including local delicacies like Steamed Li River Fish.

Splurge

Drink

Liquan beer and osmanthus tea.

Kaya cafee and bar, Zhonghua Lu 6 (from the walking street, walk to Solitary Beauty Peak (North), at the gate, go right and first left again, 50 meters on your right side). One of the few real bars in Guilin. Very laidback atmosphere. Located in a quiet street near the center. Offers chilled out music. They have regular parties, concerts, movies, etc.. They also have a branch in Yangshuo. edit
100 C, Binjiang Road (near sheraton hotel). Very good bar with great music.

Red Lips -- On the Road -- Usual Place -- Go In, Chuanshan South Road (street to Chuanshan Park, at the corner of Lijiang Road, close to Li River Chuanshan Bridge). Four new bars nearby, each nicely decorated and with relaxed atmosphere, some with Internet Access, young audience, often English speaking Chinese students. Also Sharon's Coffee for excellent Western food (e.g. steak, schnitzel, burgers and baguettes) close-by.

Le Feitz (Irish Pub), 1-8 Chaoyang Rd, 540004 Guilin (100m from Guangxi Normal University north gate). 19:00-03:00. Le Feitz is an authentic Irish Pub located in the universities area. Unique atmosphere with parties and live music (band and singers).

Sleep

Guilin is a tourism city. There are many hotels, more than 30 five-star hotels, 100 four-star hotels, and 200 three-star hotels.

Guishan Link Hotel, No. 42 Chuanshan Road, Qixing District, Guilin, Guangxi, China. Standing on the banks of the Li River, the hotel places you in one of the most beautiful spots in the city. The four-star Guishan Hotel in Guilin, China is surrounded by Li River, Elephant Trunk Hill, and Seven Star Cave. The spacious, air-conditioned rooms are each equipped with cable television, free Internet access, a private bath, and hair dryer.

Guilin Lijiang Waterfall Hotel - Da Pubu Dajiudian, 1 North Shanhu Rd (Centrally located near the main shopping area). The most ostentatious place to stay in Guilin, it features a man-made waterfall which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records. There are 646 rooms, indoor swimming pool, VIP health club and saunas.

Sheraton Hotel. Good location on the river, 2 minutes walk to main pedestrian area, 3 minutes to the Sun and Moon pagodas and 5 minutes to Elephant Trunk Hill park. Popular with westerners and probably the best western breakfast buffet you'll find in Guilin. edit
Hotel of Modern Art, Yuzi Paradise, DaBu Town, Yanshan district (Approx 30 minutes drive from the city center). This hotel is set inside Yuzi Paradise, a park full of stunning modern art in a remote rural location.

Guilin Merryland World Resort, (About 1 hours drive north of Guilin). The resort offers two types of accommodation: 5 Star Hotel, or Forrest Village. edit

Cope

Get out
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 foreign 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.,
Author/Editor By : Athean
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