You might not know the name Guangxi, but you’ll almost certainly recognize the karst peaks and meandering river the province has become famous for. Guilin (a city you might have heard of) and Yangshuo (the town you’re likely to visit) have grown exponentially in terms of tourist popularity over the last decade. Nowadays, if you visit this area without a WildChina fairy godmother (or father) it’s easy to get lost in a sea of domestic visitors. However, Guangxi is so stunning that we’d hate to recommend not visiting.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of highlights from a WildChina Guilin journey – to give you a taste of how to make the most of your trip.
Photo courtesy of Li’an Lodge
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Things to do in Guilin: Rice Terrace Hiking
Nearly 75% of Guangxi’s inhabitants are non-Han, and Longsheng (just north of Guilin) is home to a colorful mixture of Dong, Huang, Yao and Miao people. In these communities, you’re welcomed in the traditional manner and will spend time learning how to farm and create artisanal crafts with the villagers.
The scenic highlight of Longsheng is the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, a group of vast rice terraces that date back more than 650 years. Just as they were in the past, these sprawling terraces are carved out of the mountainside using simple traditional methods. You hike for a day or spend two or three days staying in the rice terraces.
Things to do in Guilin: Sidecar Adventure
WildChina can arrange for you to hike or bike through Yangshuo’s countryside and we’ll be sure to get you off the beaten path. But, if you’re looking to rest your weary legs after a few days of hiking in Longsheng, and want to give the incredible landscape your full attention, we recommend a sidecar tour of the area. Imagine the wind whipping through your hair as you ride alongside a local expert in a motorcycle sidecar. They’ll bring you to the best photo-op spots and give you plenty of chances to hop off and meet local people along with way.
Things to do in Guilin: Learn Medical Secrets from a TCM Doctor
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) began about 4,000 years ago when ancient emperors became interested in finding the elixir of life. Today, treatments still involve the use of herbs, diet, and acupuncture, with an emphasis on qi, the vital force of living things. We’ll take you to meet with a TCM expert who will give you a personal check-up and diagnosis. After the session you’ll enjoy a reflexology foot massage – the perfect way to relax after a busy day of exploring.
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Things to do in Guilin: Landscape Painting Class
More than a thousand years ago, Chinese landscape painting emerged as an independent genre. It has become one of the most important styles in the history of Chinese art. From the calm banks of the Li River, surrounded by the same landscapes that have inspired countless artists, we’ll arrange for you to spend the morning learning the art of Chinese landscape painting with an expert. Whether you’d call yourself an artist or not, this experience will help you to take time out and really appreciate your surroundings.
These experiences are, of course, only the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to do in Guilin and we know just how to do it right. WildChina founder and travel expert Mei Zhang actually just got back from the region. We’ve been posting about her experiences on our Instagram. Check out our feed to gain more inspiration for your own Guilin journey.