Famous for being one of the most picturesque areas in China, Guilin’s spectacular karst scenery is every travel photographer’s dream, and floating along the serene Li River as you gaze at the breathtaking vistas is a not-to-be missed experience.
The area is stunning all year round but if you wish for an experience as serene as the surrounding landscape then you may want to travel in the cooler months. The calm waters and limestone peaks have been attracting local and international tourists by the busload over the last few years; picking the time you choose to travel will alter your experience of this magical region.
Spring (March to May)
As you might expect, spring is a time for flowers. Typical spring flowers include yellow and white cole flowers, rhododendrons, peach blossoms, Yulan magnolias, cherry blossoms and Camellias. It’s irrigation time in the towering rice terraces of Longsheng, creating a shimmering mirror-like effect. Visit at the beginning of season to avoid crowds.
Summer (June to August)
Crowds are getting bigger now as the glorious summer weather kicks in. Well-known for its misty vistas, summer is a time of blue skies and clear views of jade green mountains and terraces. It can be lovely to trek into the cooling mountains at this time of year or visit the stalagmite water caves.
Fall (September to November)
Many visitors welcome the cooler weather that fall brings. The landscape turns from green to gold and you may be able to smell the scent of Sweet Osmanthus flowers in the air. This is a good time for trekking and exploring the villages of Yangshuo and Longsheng.
Winter (December to February)
Ahh, the serenity. It might be cold but the scenery is no less striking. In fact, a touch of winter mist and snow can render the peaks their most dramatic at this time of year. The Li River is still navigable in winter, and if you’re planning a Zen pilgrimage then this may just be the best time to go.