While its name might not be famous to most Westerners, Guilin (pronounced GWEE-lin) is arguably China’s most scenic area, and a major highlight of any tour of the country. The city of Guilin actually has about 5 million people, which you wouldn’t expect by looking at the scenic photos of the Li River like the one above. The main reason for coming is the excellent 4-hour boat cruise through the most scenic part of the Li River, and then a bus ride home. The boats are far more luxurious than you might expect.
|Airports||Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (KWL)|
Food and drinks are also good value. If you aren’t on an organized tour you can still find sit-down meals starting below US$5 at most tourist restaurants, and much less than that at places where locals eat.
|Budget breakfast||If your hotel doesn't provide breakfast, you can find coffee shops and noodle houses||$2.11 - $3.52|
|Budget lunch||Finding English-language menus in Guilin isn't as hard as in most of China.||$2.81 - $5.63|
|Budget dinner||The restaurant area in the center of the four lakes has many budget-friendly options.||$4.22 - $8.44|
|Beer (.5L)||Local beer is cheaper in restaurants than in bars.||$2.11 - $3.52|
|Beer (.33L can, retail)||Weak local lager (3% to 4%) is available in all convenience stores.||$0.84 - $1.27|
|Month||High F||Low F||PRECIP (inches)|
Guilin is characterized by short winters and long, hot summers filled with humidity. During winter you’ll notice that it starts off dry and then gradually becomes wetter and cloudier. Spring and summer continue with rain but by the time fall rolls around, the air is back to dry and the days are filled with sun. The rainy season lasts from April to June, though this doesn’t seem to deter visitors from visiting during this time.
Guilin is also extremely popular among domestic Chinese tourists, but there are enough foreigners here that finding menus and tour agents in English is easier than in most of China. The restaurant area near the main square in between the four lakes is particularly Western-friendly.
Hotels in Guilin are very good value, even by most Chinese standards. You can get a nice room in a 4-star hotel for much less than you’d pay for a 3-star hotel in Europe or the USA.
The most popular time to visit Guilin is from April to October. Because of this, you’ll notice that during these months hotel prices rise a bit. During the winter however, outside of the Chinese New Year, you’ll find that prices match smaller budgets better. This is also the time of year that you’ll find fewer crowds.
|8.00 - 19.00|
|13.00 - 34.00|
|32.00 - 51.00|
|45.00 - 79.00|
|59.00 - 105.00|
|Hostel Bed||4.00 - 21.00|