Guilin Boat Tour

Alisha Explores Guilin

This past weekend, I celebrated my anniversary with Boyfriend on a return trip to Guilin. It’s my 2nd time in Guilin, so I feel like I can properly write a Travel Guide on things to do and things to see, but before then, let me tell what we did 🙂

We flew out Friday night and got into the Guilin airport at 11 pm. Our hostel, Guilin Central Hostel (the best hostel), had a driver pick us up at the airport and bring us directly to the hostel.

On Saturday morning, we woke up very early so that we could be on our way to the Guilin to Yangshuo river cruise. There were about 50 people on our cruise, and it took about 5 hours to from one end to the other. Boyfriend and I spent a majority of the 5 hour boat ride on the front deck watching the view, drinking cheap beer, and trying to understand the boat’s tour conductor was trying to describe (“in front of you is clearly a cup”). No…not its not.


Our lunch was pretty mediocre packaged meal, no frills, and 75% rice.


At 1:30, we arrived at the most famous part of the tour, the 20 RMB shot. The entire time of the trip, Boyfriend and I were so determined to have the best spot on the ship to view, so we set ourselves in the front of the boat.

Well, it turns out the view is from the back of the boat.


After the boat docked in Yangshao, we walked through the Yangshao to get to the bus stop. Our tour had ‘free time’ in Yangshao, which essentially meant enough time to get to the bus in the parking lot on the other side of town.

The bus took us back to our hotel, where we dropped some things off and went to have food in the street market of Guilin, or so we thought

Boyfriend being the token white guy marketing tool at the store front
Guilin Noodles
Fresh grilled meat

Since our last trip to Guilin, Guilin has gotten more developed. The pedestrian street near our hostel changed from a street with loads of food street vendors and random knick nacks to have modern stores (including New Barlun) and Nike/Adidas, and less street vendors. Our goal of having a pure dinner of freshly grilled oysters covered in garlic sauce was not going to happen this trip

So we took a bike (YAY FOR MOBIKES!) to the night market, which was pretty dead. So we left after ~5 mins and biked past the Waterfall hotel, right as there was a waterfall

We went back to our hostel, where we relaxed and played card games

On sunday, we slept in before wandering around the city a little bit and seeing sites like the pagodas before we flew out

Guilin Guide

Recommended Amount of time: >1 day, 2 days is perfect

Recommended Hotel/Hostel: Guilin Central Hostel , an affordable hostel with the cleanliness of a hotel. Central location (less than 1/2 a block from Zhengyang Pedestrian street and 1 block from Pagodas). Also serves excellent food that is healthy!

In 1 day

  • Make sure you get in early to catch either a bus to Yangshao, or be part of a guided tour for the Li River Cruise
    • I do not recommend taking the 5 hr boat from Guilin to Yanghsao as we did
    • Instead, you can go to Yanghsao and rent a bamboo boat to drive up the river to the famous part of the river and back
    • Alternatively, there are tours where they drop you off near the famous spot so you can hike to the scenic overview
  • Walk down Zhengyang Pedestrian street and find fresh grilled cumin ribs and other tasties
  • Walk around the lakes and visit the Sun Pagoda and Moon Pagoda – best seen at night

In 2 days

  • Day 1
    • Book your guides for Li River Cruise on Day 2
    • Walk around Central Guilin
      • Check out the Elephant Trunk Hill
        • Export tip: You don’t need to pay to get into the area to view the hill. It’s free to stand down the pathway a little bit and viewable from the sidewalk
      • Check out Diecai Hill Park and hike to the top of the hill
        • From here, you have a view of the entire city of Guilin, as well as the surrounding magestic landscape
      • Check out Fubu hill
    • Visit Zhengyang Pedestrian street and find fresh grilled cumin ribs and other tasties
    • Walk around the lakes and visit the Sun Pagoda and Moon Pagoda – best seen at night
  • Day 2
    • Go on your Li River Cruise
    • At night, ensure you eat some famous Guilin Noodles


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