Guilin is an exquisite travelling tip while on your travels throughout China. If you are tired of big cities, busy streets and constant noise of honking cars or loudly speaking Chinese, go to Guilin and Yangshuo. Of course even there it can get uncomfortable with the noise and business during the peak seasons, such as summer holidays when the foreigners come or Spring Festival which is the longest Chinese holidays throughout the year.
Moreover, to get to Guilin you can get the train which can be rather tiring if you are travelling from the Eastern side of China. Or you can get a plane to Guilin directly, which is easier, more luxurious choice. It just costs more. However, if you are travelling from far, you can decide for a night train which enriches you with more travelling experience. If you choose soft sleeper, you will probably end up in the private compartment with four beds altogether, if you pick hard sleeper you will stay in an open dorm carriage with numerous beds. Often there are even three beds above each other. If this is too adventurous for you, you can always stick with the more comfortable one which is indeed pricier than hard sleeper. I have tried both and I have to say both have their own charms.
After you arrive to Guilin you can walk through the city. There is a huge lake in the city and it is quite nice to walk there during the evening with all the lights on. Also on one part of the lake, there are two pagodas. One is built in the lake and appears to be unreachable. However, if you enter the first pagoda you will find stairs leading downstairs to the underwater tunnel going to the other pagoda. The sightseeing is for a fee but it is worth it. There are not many pagodas open for public in China so you should take the opportunity to view one or two when it is possible.
A trip to Longsheng rice terraces will take one full day. Be aware that these kinds of trips are best to take in the morning. If you decide for a tour, then the departure time is early in the morning. You can also go on your own but it can get quite complicated with the bus connections.
Another very popular activity to do is to take Li river cruise. The view on the mountains is spectacular. Usually they are covered in mist which gives these mountains special baffling atmosphere. The deal is that you will take a boat from Guilin to Yangshuo and the way back to Guilin you must undertake on your own. Although, there are many busses going from Yanshuo to Guilin so it should not be so difficult. However, I would advise you to stay one or more nights in Yangshuo.
If you decide to stick with Yangshuo for a night or two, it is best to rent a bike and just paddle around in a relaxed tempo so you can feed your eyes on the magical mountains surrounding you. There are many cycling trails starting from Yangshuo so it is an easy activity for you.
Guilin and Yangshuo are in the heart of the nature which is praised by many travellers by its beauty. It is perhaps best to come in Spring or Autumn when the temperature is moderate and it is outside the touristic seasons. However, be mindful of Chinese holidays in October for one week and the whole month for Spring Festival.