Guilin and nearby Yangshuo are a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Blessed with some of the most dramatic natural scenery on earth, this area in Guangxi Province offers adventures on land and on the water. With its mild winter climate, Guilin is pleasant throughout the year, and you won’t have to compete with high-season crowds during the colder months.
The interesting limestone karst formations of the Guilin and Yangshuo make for excellent rock climbing, and the area is starting to make it’s place in the global climbing community. The area’s most iconic landmark, Moon Hill, has 20 distinct routes to the top for beginning to advanced climbers.
Bicycles may have fallen out of favor in the big cities of China, but in the Guangxi countryside surrounding Guilin and Yangshuo, they’re alive and well. Rent a bike on nearly any street corner and head out to explore this fascinating landscape. Cycling, as opposed to other forms of transportation, allows you to witness rural life along the Li and Little Li Rivers at your own leisurely pace.
Rafting and Kayaking
Life in Guilin centers around the Li River and its smaller tributaries, and it would be a shame to visit Guilin without spending some time on the water. Luckily, you have options on how to do so. If you’re in the mood to sit back and relax, hop on a motorized raft on the Li River or a pole-pushed raft on the Yulong River. For something a little more blood-pumping, take a guided kayak trip instead.
If climbing up the karsts isn’t your cup of tea, you can explore some of them from the inside instead. Exploring any of the half a dozen caves surrounding Yangshuo can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. The Reed Flute Cave (closest to Guilin) and the Silver Cave have railed walking paths and colorfully lit formations, while a visit to the Water Caves involve donning a lighted helmet and getting wet and muddy.