Touch down at Guilin Airport to find your guide awaiting your arrival. You will enjoy a private transfer to your hotel amid the beautiful Longji Rice Terraces in the mountains of Guilin. Take time out to have a leisurely dinner and get some much-needed sleep in preparation for your first day of exploring this wonderful part of the world.
Wake to the idyllic sounds of birds singing as the soft winds deliver the early-morning mist through the mountain as the voices of the of the early-rising locals whisper through the breeze. Begin the day with some breakfast, and then slip on your hiking boots, grab your hiking stick and make your way toward the peak of the magnificent Ping’an Rice Terraces. You will journey through wondrous scenery at your preferred pace to overlook the three-storied wooden houses that make up part of Ping’an Village. The morning haze will slowly reveal the luscious yellow and green of the terraces as you make your way to admire the intertwining layered fields that curve and rise into the distance, creating a scene that is known as the Seven Stars that Accompany the Moon. Seven small terraced fields magically replicate seven stars, which surround a central field, depicting the moon for a truly enchanting sight to behold along with the Nine Dragons and Five Tigers.
Take a rest before making your way toward Longji Ancient Zhuang Village. You will absorb the peaceful and wondrous sights that you earlier admired from afar while making your way toward the village. Sounds of the locals maintaining their precious rice fields, along with the area’s nature will echo through the mountains, bringing to life this dreamlike setting. With a history of over 700 years, its residents consist of four tribes and the village is widely considered one of the most traditional ethnic villages in the Longji area. You will immediately feel overwhelmed by the authentic aura that the village holds as you approach the collection of wooden houses that sit within the sloping terraced fields. Entering its heart, you will notice the unique architecture of the Diaojiaolou houses, a style of house built for centuries in mountainous areas to help with domestic chores and to prevent dangerous animals entering its confines. Lonji Ancient Zhuang Village boasts the biggest amount of Diaojiaolou housing in the Middle Kingdom, and you will be able to enter the oldest of these buildings and integrate with local families. Learn about their fascinating lives as you sip on the locally-sourced tea and tuck into some local delicacies.
Another early rise this morning as you head for Dazhai Village and experience yet another hike full of beauty. The dreamlike early-morning mist will unravel around the prominent peaks and lightly blanket the terraced fields. Your tour guide will lead you to the perfect scenic point, and you will look over the luscious terraced fields. Mist shifts to reveal the serene backdrop of scattered wooden huts and a cluster of Chinese architecture, which make up the beautiful Dazhai Village.
Soak up the culture of Dazhai Village well into the evening as you spend time with its residents. Dazhai’s friendly inhabitants will be more than willing to teach you their everyday skills and past times, and you will have the opportunity to learn the quintessential skill of rice farming in the beautiful fields, cook local cuisine, try your hand at some sewing, and tend to farm animals. Stay in a guesthouse within the village overnight and enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature while drifting off to sleep to conclude yet another unforgettable day.
Choose to take an extra hours sleep or head to the village’s scenic spot to witness the sunrise over this magical area. You will then enjoy a private transfer to Yangdi Pier, and from there your enchanted hike alongside the magical Li River will begin.
Breath the fresh air and feel the gentle breeze roll off the peaks as you venture aside the waters. Let the magnificent landscape consume you as fishers gently drift their way down the river in bamboo rafts as peaceful sounds of rippling water echo through the hills and mountains. You will see buffalos crossing the river, delicious fruit hanging from trees, and all the wonders of nature culminating in an unforgettable heavenly atmosphere.
After a bite to eat, you will take a short hike to the picture-perfect scenic point for a fairytale sunset over the Li River and admire the breathtaking birds-eye views. As the sun steadily moves its way down the serene night sky, shadows from the surrounding rice fields and mountains grow larger over the tranquil waters. Silhouettes of fishers striving for that sunset catch become darker, the remaining light all but fades, and you will embrace this surreal moment for all it is worth. Take a walk down to the river’s edge and conclude your day as you bath in the waters of the Li River.
Towel yourself dry and head into the village for some delicious local cuisine before making your way to the nearby guesthouse and resting your head down on your pillow to lull off to sleep.
An extra early rise will be required this morning as you prepare to experience a sunrise tour of the Li River. Your tour guide will take you alongside the river and its waters before sunrise, and you will see and hear the magic of nature awakening. Faint high-pitched sounds of birds singing their morning songs will multiply with grunting buffalos, chirping insects and the bleating of goats joining in on the riverside. Fishers set out for the day on their bamboo rafts with their co-working cormorants, and this fascinating age-old art of cormorant fishing will magnificently unfold in front of your eyes as trained birds patiently sit at the rear of the raft ready for the order from their master to capture what’s beneath the water. Indeed, the birds adhere to their master’s wishes and deliver the catch back to the raft for a remarkable sight to behold amidst the tranquillity of the Li River.
Next, you will hike up to another remarkably scenic spot to watch the sunrise over a magical setting. Morning mist and fog drifts with the distinct outlines of fishers and their cormorants dotted across the faint ripples that become clearer as the sun magnificently begins to grace the river’s waters.
After a spot of lunch, head downriver for a tour of the quaint Xingping Ancient Town. Xingping Fishing Village and Xingping Old Street make up the main attractions of this uniquely serene area that dates back 500 years. Ancient block structures sit below the remarkable sight of the distant hills and project a myriad of colors over the cobblestoned streets. Watch elder residents sip locally-sourced tea and play traditional Chinese board games on the corners of the narrow pathways. Enjoy a wander through the surrounding orchards and pick some delightful fruit to fuel your walk back to your nearby guesthouse. Choose whether to take another swim in the beauty of the river, or head back for an early dinner and some rest.
Watch another idyllic sunrise this morning, this time from the Yellow Cloth Shoal, an area widely regarded as the most beautiful section of the Li River. You will set off early and take a short bamboo raft ride from Xingping down to this magical scenic spot. This area of the river marvelously reflects its surroundings with its mirror-like surface, and indeed, the reflections of the stunning scenery upon the shoal are so clear that some will find it hard to distinguish which is the real-life backdrop.
As the sun rises, every element of the Yellow Cloth Shoal slowly comes to life in magnificent fashion as the reflection from the water’s surface grows brighter while the cream-colored flagstone upon the riverbed progressively glows different shades of yellow, hence this area’s name.
This afternoon, you will take to the water and blissfully paddle your way down the Li River by kayak to visit the most serene spots. Strokes of sunlight will stretch through the peaks of the mountains and begin to wrinkle in the water as your oars gently breach the surface of the river. A freshly caught fish will wriggle in a fisher’s hand while you slowly drift down river with the fine fragments of water spraying across your face as the buffalos shake excess water off of their bodies at the riverside. As the sun descends, the changing light will produce a magnificent myriad of colors across the river as you disembark your kayak just before sun set. Take a bus to your guesthouse in Yangshou and settle in for a relaxing evening.
Enjoy the wonders of Yangshuo by bike today, beginning with the tranquility of Yangshuo Park. Cycling within the grounds, you will immediately feel a sense of relaxation as locals exercise, sing, dance, and play card games under the shade of the blossoming trees. The Yulong River, a tributary of the Li River, paints a picture of harmony as you cycle its perimeter. Beautiful ancient bridges arch over the waters, elevating the beauty of this amazing setting. A backdrop of rolling hills overlook a pleathera of activities as fishers raft down river, farmers tend to their animals, residents maintain their rice crops, and the younger generation of locals swim. Head away from the river and into the countryside, to embrace the peaceful sounds of nature amid the hums of your bicycle’s wheels.
Head next into the countryside to visit one of Yangshuo’s foremost tourist attraction, Moon Hill. From afar, you will be able to admire the outstanding feature from which Moon Hill derives its name, a hole situated at the summit of the hill that resembles the moon. Licun Village offers a fascinating perspective of Moon Hill, and alters the feature from a new, to an old, to a full moon. Consumed by this extraordinary sight, you will then head to the foremost scenic point of the hill and overlook the serenity of Yangshuo’s countryside.
Look forward to the refreshing mud baths, located nearby Moon Hill in the Buddha Water Cave. As you enter its confines by boat, you will be mesmerized by the natural wonder and the size of the Buddha Water Cave, which travels through eight mountains. Sounds of flowing waterfalls echo as you disembark your boat and hike toward the mud pools. Locals consider mud bathing within the cave as a form of spiritual therapy, and, indeed, a refreshing feeling will overcome your body as you enter the baths.
Feeling reinvigorated, you’ll enjoy your final activity of the trip before sundown. Located amid the mountains of Yangshuo, Yangshuo Martial Arts School is where you will learn some Kung Fu routines in astounding surroundings. Jagged cliffs amid the blooming trees and traditional Chinese architecture provides the perfect setting, while the smell of burning incense follows the river’s breeze. You will learn the art of Shaolin boxing, Nanquan boxing, and much more from the expert instructors. With over 1,000 students from more than 32 countries, there are few better places to learn the art of Kung Fu than the Yangshuo Martial Arts School.
Wake up amid the peaceful surroundings of Yangshuo for the final time, and your journey back through the countryside of Guilin toward the airport will provide the perfect opportunity to say goodbye to an area where you have created some everlasting memories.
In a land decorated with endless amounts of beauty, just where does one begin to explore? The question attracts a plethora of different responses, but for the pure adventurer who longs to embrace a mixture of striking natural and human-made beauty, there are few better places to begin than the enchanting city of Guilin. Guilin’s dramatic landscape will serve as a spectacular introduction with stunningly unique, jagged peaks that dominate the skyline above the flawlessly crafted terraced fields and quaint ancient villages that overlook the mystical Li River. During this 8-day discovery tour of Guilin, you will explore these wonders in an unforgettably adventurous style.
Hike to the peaks of the magical Longji Terraced Rice Fields and watch in awe as its symmetrical patterns float amid the eerily beautiful fog and the rising sun. Visit the villages that sit among the hills and spend time with local families to gain insight into their fascinating lives. Hike, bike, kayak, swim and raft alongside and atop the Li River and Yulong River and enjoy the pure serenity. Watch as local fishers go about their everyday lives as water buffalos bath in the waters and the sun kisses the river’s surface amid reflections of the surrounding green hills.
Create everlasting memories on magical sunrise tours of Xingping and Yangshuo, and then wind your way through the mysterious pathways found upon mountains to reach the incredible birds-eye viewing points that overlook the Li River and Yulong River. Watch fog, mist, peaks and the rising sun combine to create a dramatic and unforgettable scene. Hike through orchards and pick delicious fruit from the trees, and then climb the rocks of Yangshuo before you embrace the county’s tranquility as you bathe in its mud baths, learn Kung Fu in fairytale surroundings and cycle the wondrous countryside. For more ideas for your own trip, consider browsing tour reviews for China from our other travelers for inspiration.
$1795 per person (excluding international flights)
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