Guilin, China – Tips & Resources to getting around

Guilin was not originally on our list of places to go. We ended up there by happen chance that we would say was a “God thing.” We only went because we ended up with pneumonia and spent 9 days in the hospital there (to hear about that please read my previous post).

If you are planning to go to Guilin from Yangshuo by taxi expect it to cost about 350RMB or by bus 20RMB. Both run about 1.5-2 hours in length. If you choose to take the bus here is a bit of what to expect and some directions on how to get around & orient yourself if you do not have a map:

  • The bus station is on one of the main roads.
  • If you pre-book a hotel try to get them to give you the name & address in Characters & English before leaving on your trip.
  • If you have not pre-booked do not fret. If you have data on a mobile device hop onto TripAdvisor and you can easily find a hotel close by & at a reasonable price(depending on time of year prices vary but we have seen them range anywhere from 7-100USD.)
  • If you do not have data the bus stop is a short walk to Starbucks where you can look up a place on their wifi & if you’re like us & have been in China more than a few days you will have missed your regular coffees & will welcome a Starbucks.
  • If for whatever reason a taxi does not understand you, you get into Guilin & do not feel like walking or for whatever reason, you can show the taxi driver the picture shown here of the towers & they will know where to take you. Once at the towers you can walk along the water to the other side where you will find the Starbucks. Almost anything near the city center can be oriented by using these towers.IMG_4443

If not in Yangshuo you can easily fly into Guilin or take the bullet train into the city.


One particular day we were stopped by a mother with her son & asked if we could speak some English with him. We took a few minutes to converse & as they went on their way a well educated & traveled artist who spoke very good English began talking to us as well. He treated us to some of his tea & began to tell us many stories about various things he had & had experienced. We bought one of his paintings and continued to stop by to talk to him each chance we got. This man is why we would say going there was a “God thing,” because he was such a blessing to meet & we hope he will be a lifelong friend even from afar.

We also met two other men, one owned a tea shop(Li) & the other was a driver/tour guide(Colin). Each had many stories & assisted us in many ways. The “LI showed us some wonderful places to eat and shared some tea with us, while also assisting us to send some tea home to family & friends.

With Li before the Acrobatic Show

Colin took us on some wonderful trip! He took us to the tea research institute for a phenominal tour of the Tea Research Institute & told us stories about the tradition of tea in China and the health benefits of each kind of tea.

We scheduled further days with Colin & he took us to the Longji Terraces where we stopped in a small village for lunch on the way there. The food in the village just below Lonji was wonderful. They served bamboo rice(literally rice cooked inside of & served in a bamboo rod) & the other dishes we got were very good as well. We left a bit late that day and so when we arrived at Longji we only had a short time on top but that was ok for us. We were very happy to take in the scenery & take some photos before heading down. If you would like to spend more time there relaxing & enjoying the beautiful scenery I would advise leaving early in the morning not after lunch like we had to do because of other schedules.

The Tea Research Institute

The following week we returned to Guilin & Collin even took us to his home village and to 2 small “ancient villages.” Two of the places we went that day were called Bang Shang Cun & Qinjia Da Yuan. This was probably one of our favorite trips he took us on as it gave us a chance to experience the areas with him as a friend and seeing what “real” China is like over the touristy spots or the city. I know what you’re thinking “another tour guide” right? Yes that is what he does, but I would say that he has also become a friend that we hope to stay in contact with. He always gave us fair prices (unlike many in China who will try to increase prices simply because you are a foreigner) & treated us well taking us to wonderful places & recommending places he thought we would enjoy.

Colin showing us around

We were very blessed to spend time with all 3 of these men! Below I have included the information for Li & Collin as well as the hotel we stayed at which was quite good but by all means look around as if you are on a tight budget there are cheaper ones around, but after a month in rural China we were looking forward to a bathtub & western bed if only for a night or two. All 3 men spoke very good English & made our trip to Guilin a wonderful one even if our first trip was not for the best of reasons.

In addition to our time with them & exploring the city on foot we also did the 4 Lakes/1 River Cruise & we saw the Shaking Magic Show Dreamers Between Landscape. The 4 Lakes/1 River Cruise was wonderful! I would recommend doing this one for many reasons. It can help orient yourself with where things are in the city, you will get pictures from a different vantage point than you will from land, & overall it is just a good cruise. The Shaking Magic Show Dreamers Between Landscape was a beautiful acrobatic show & probably one of the best shows I’ve seen in a very long time. Hope you enjoy Guilin as much as we have!


Go to for tea – Li     Phone:   0773-281666

Driver/Tour Guide: Colin     Phone: 13005943610     Email:

Golden Oriole Hotel    Address: No.8 Binjiang Road, Guilin, Guangxi, China 541002     Phone: +86 773-2831188     Website:

elephant hill.jpg
View from the top of the Golden Oriole Hotel

The Shaking Magic Show:     Website:

If you have other questions about getting around in Guilin or specific suggestions on places to go feel free to email me or leave comments here & for more pictures of our adventures visit or follow me on Instagram: oehler_photography or twitter: jamie_oehler.

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