Things to do in Guilin, China.
October 26, 2010 11:42 PM   Subscribe

We're now on our China trip (thanks for the tips in our last question,), and are looking for specific suggestions on things to do in the Guilin area that weren't covered there. Extra points for off-the-beaten-path suggestions. We're definitely interested in beginner to intermediate hikes, bike rides, and boating. We also would love to see more rural sites, and the most spectacular scenery possible, but have been having trouble finding specific info on the area.
posted by odayoday to Travel & Transportation around Guilin, China (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you can get to Yangshuo (I don't recall it being too far by bus) you can rent some bikes and ride along the river to Moon Hill. There are also some caves that looked decent in photos. There are some river cruises in the area too. Sadly I left Guilin pretty quickly, so I have mo specific information for there.
posted by backwards guitar at 4:28 AM on October 27, 2010

Guilin has the Five Star Park (AVOID THE ZOO!), which is home to a very, very impressive cave system. There are tours, and if you like caves at all (especially caves large enough to shelter the entire city during WWII air raids) it's worth checking out. As backwards guitar mentions, off the beaten path is (was?) more of a Yanghuo thing. Definitely rent some bikes, though make sure to check the bike for anything that might be wrong, just in case you get a damaged bike and someone tries to charge you for it. Similarly, if you happen to end up with a flat, negotiate the price before you let someone fix it.*

Definitely take a ride around the hills and mountains in Yanghou. By bike, you set your own pace, and while the hills are fantastic, the roads aren't taxing at all. In Yangshuo, the best food was off the main, westernish drag, where all the Chinese tourists were eating.

I learned this the hard way, after renting a bike in Dali, then ending up with a flat 3 kilometers outside of town. By the time I walked the bike back (with the pedal freely wheeling around and whacking me in the calf every third step) I wasn't thinking, and asked one of the bike repairmen outside the city walls to fix the bike. When he finished, he charged me roughly 10 times what the standard charge was, and I was lucky he charged so little.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:07 AM on October 27, 2010

Hot air balloon through the karst peaks!!!

Not sure of their base location but we asked our hotel in Yangshuo and they arranged it for us. We were picked up at the hotel. enjoyed a breathtaking hour and a half drifting through the karst, and then they returned us to the hotel. A highlight (one of several) of our trip to China.
posted by leafwoman at 8:47 AM on October 27, 2010

The boat cruise down the river to Yangshuo is great, and you absolutely MUST do the hot air balloon ride over the karst peaks. We had a great day riding bikes around the countryside from Yangshuo too. The bike rental was cheap and our guide knew a lot of off-the-beaten-path routes to some of the more famous sites like Moon Hill, etc.
posted by sbrollins at 9:14 AM on October 27, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! We're now in Guilin, but are planning to head to Yangshuo to stay for a few days. We'll definitely both rent bikes and do the hot air balloon ride, which sounds incredible. It's so beautiful here!
posted by odayoday at 1:09 AM on October 28, 2010

You can also do some rock climbing in Yangshuo. It poured rain the entire time I was there, so I never got a chance, but some others did it after I left, and had a really good time. Also heard good things about the Cormorant show and the play/light show thing that they put on by the river.
posted by backwards guitar at 6:14 AM on October 28, 2010

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