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6 Days Guilin In-depth Photography Tour including Xianggong Mountain

The Darling of Photographer - Guilin Karst & Terrace


With an average altitude of 150 meters, Guilin is a typical karst landform. The limestone which spreads all over Guilin has been through billions of years of weathering and erosion. Thus, Guilin has formed its breathtaking scenery, which can be concluded as “thousands of pinnacles stand towering around, a river winds its way about the city”.

It’s not an overstatement to call Guilin the paradise of photographer. Endless green hills lie beside the quiet and clear Li River, which forms the most classical scene of Chinese Landscape Painting; Longji Terrace silently speaks the hard works of the local farmers; the antique buildings of the ancient towns reveal the stories of the old times…

This Guilin photography tour can be customized depending on what photos you want to take, and on the weather condition when you go. Feel free to tell your interests and ideas to your personal travel consultants!

Please Note: Xianggong Hill may be replaced into other attractions according to practical situations.

Highlights of This Tour:

  • ● Create your photos of marvelous thousands of layers of bright rice terraces in Jinkeng, the ideal shooting place of Longji Terraces for most shutterbugs;
  • ● Catch the famous views of the Reflection of Yellow Shoal and the notable background image of Li River on the 20 RMB note in one go!
  • ● Take terrific photos of the best images of Li River with sunrise and morning glows at the Xianggong Hill, famous site for photographers;
  • ● Shoot the most beautiful sunset of Guilin Karst landscape at Cuiping Five Fingers Mountain;
  • ● Throw yourself into the soft embrace of the lovely verdant countryside view of Yulong River, best landscape essence of Yangshuo;
  • ● Start an inspiring photographing experience antique Xingping Ancient Town of the historical dwellings, streets and alleys.

Basic Photography Info

Travel Route: Guilin / Longsheng / Guilin / Yangshuo / Guilin

Travel Length: 6 Days

Tour Code: CD-PTGLT-06

Tour Type: Private Tour

Departure: You Choose (you may plan it according to the best season and time.)

Itinerary Details Day by Day

Day 1 Guilin Arrival

Welcome to Guilin, the most scenic city in China. Upon your arrival, be met by your local guide and escorted to your hotel in Guilin downtown.

You’ll start your Guilin tour after a break. Firstly make a visit to the symbol of Guilin landscape - Elephant Trunk Hill. A giant rock hill vividly shapes like an elephant which is drinking water. Besides, there are many historical sites here for you to explore, such as stone carving, Buddhist temple, relic exhibition, etc. Then, drive about 7 kilometers (about 20 minutes) to next attraction - Reed Flute Cave, a majestic underground palace with sparkling different colors. The magical Mother Nature condenses millions years of natural efforts to form the incredible stalactite, stalagmite, stone shield and stone waterfall of different sizes and shapes.

After the tour, be transferred to your hotel. .

Delma from Ireland - Reed Flute Cave, Guilin
Day 2 Guilin to Longsheng & Longsheng Tour (B, L)

In this morning, you’ll be driven about 80 kilometers (about 1.5 hours) to shoot one of the most beautiful rice terraces in China - Longji Rice Terrace, an amazing feat of farm engineering rising up to 1000m high in Longsheng County. There are several featured Zhuang and Yao minority villages along the road and you’ll take a visit to the special Huangluo Yao Village, the First Village of Long Hair in the World, where you can see women in red ethnic clothes with very long hairs (the longest can reach up to 1.7 meters).

Later, continue you drive to the famous Red Yao Village - Dazhai at Jinkeng Rice Terraces. Throw yourself into the giant amazing pit of Jinkeng (Gold Pit) and begin your photographing of the layers of fancy terraces field where local ethnic peasants cultivating fresh wheat and crops into such fabulous images like paintings. Hike among the levels and go up to the Golden Buddha Peak, the best viewpoint to take great photos of the majestic panorama of the whole Jingkeng Rice Terraces with diverse kinds of shapes, like the eagle wings, phoenix, etc. Then, take the cable car downhill to continue hiking up for about 1.5 hours to your accommodation at Tiantou Village.

Have a nice sleep with the surrounding rice terraces!

Good to Know:

1. Best time to visit: Longji Rice Terrace can be visited all year round. Go mid-April to mid-June for mirror-like irrigated terrace and rice transplanting scene; go mid-June to mid-September for green terraces; go late September to early-October for golden and harvest scene.

2. Walking: In Jinkeng Rice Terraces area, you can be only dropped at the Tourist Center parking lot and there is no sightseeing bus operating among the accommodations, viewpoints and parking lot, so you need to walk thousands of steps to your hotel and the viewpoints. Comfortable shoes are highly recommended!

3. Luggage carrying: For the aged or travelers who are lack of physical strength, you’d better hire a local porter to help carry your heavy luggage to the hotel (pay extra expense on your own).

Fay from India - Huangluo Yao Village
Day 3 Longsheng Tour & Longsheng to Guilin (B, L)

In the morning, you will get up before the sunrise and go to the well-known photography location at West Hill Music, the top 1 choice for enjoying Longji Rice Terraces. Enjoy your time to take the sunrise photo of the terrace, composed with the morning glow, shadow, mists, forests, peaceful mountainscape, etc. After the shooting, go back to your hotel and enjoy your breakfast. After some break, continue to hike to Large-scale Thousand-layer Terraces and take photos of the unbelievable scenes of countless layers of soft and bright terraced fields pouring down to the deep bottom of the village pit. And then, have some pleasant time shooting the folk custom and costumes of Jinkeng’s Red Yao people and their featured wooden tilted houses.

After the visit, be escorted back to your hotel in Guilin City.

Evening Ideas: You can take a leisure walk around the famous city water system - Two Rivers and Four Lakes for the amazing night views.

Jinkeng Large-scale Thousand-layer Terraces Golden View
Day 4 Li River Cruise & Xingping Tour (B, L)

As the declaration in Chinese textbook” Guilin’s landscape is the best under heaven”, today you will explore this best landscape starting with a relaxing Li River sightseeing cruise from Mopanshan Pier to Yangshuo Town. Along the cruise, dazzling scenery will overwhelm your eyes like a vast endless Chinese painting of winding river, green limestone karst mountains, fascinating countryside views, amazing scene of A Painting of Nine Horses, and notable view printed on the back of the 20 RMB note. (Please note: Lunch is served by the cruise with simple local Chinese cuisine. And you can take some snacks when getting on board.)

After disembarkation at Yangshuo, drive about 1 hour (28km) to Xingping town to check in your hotel and get some rest. In the afternoon, start your leisure photography of Xingping Ancient Town. Take photos of its historically charming dwellings, alleys, streets and local residents. At dusk, you will take a bamboo raft to take sunset photos of the Xingping scenic spot on Li River, one of the best places for Li River photography. Immerse into the image of shimmering Li River with surrounding hills against faint sunset lights.

Optional Li River fishing performance: since the life of local Xingping people has developed and changed, few people continue to do fishing, especially in the traditional way with cormorant, on Li River nowadays. Therefore, some local fishermen are willing to perform that to let more people know the original scenes of the traditional fishing on Li River. As asking the local fisherman with the raft with cormorant and Chinese vintage fishing lights will add more artistic atmosphere to your pictures, such as fish catching, fishing nest casting, etc., you can tell us if you are interested. Such optional performance needs extra payment and a reservation for around 1 month in advance.

Chona from Philippines - Li River CruiseMr. Pasquale from Italy - Guilin Li River Fisherman
Day 5 Xingping & Yangshuo Tour (B, L)

In this early morning, take a bamboo raft to the famous photography location - Huangbu Reflection before sunrise, where most beautiful sightseeing photos are shot. Take photos of notable Guilin scenery against the brightening sunlight. You can also ask some bamboo rafts with cormorant, fisherman and fishing fire to create atmosphere to your pictures. On the way back to Xingping, you will also pass the 20 Yuan banknote scenery. Press your shutter to catch the iconic image of Guilin landscape of hills and river. After the shooting, back to your hotel and enjoy your breakfast, and get some rest.

In the afternoon, drive to Yangshuo, the best sightseeing enjoying place in Guilin and shoot in the Yulong River scenic spot. The scenery of Yangshuo is the essence of Guilin scenery, and the scenery of Yulong River is the essence of Yangshuo scenery. While feasting your eyes with verdant and pleasant countryside views of dotted little mountains, limpid stream, vivid farming scenes, lovely patches of fields, and simple but joyous rural life, also record them with your prepared camera lens.

After the photography of Yulong River, be transferred for about 40 minutes to Cuiping Five Fingers Mountain to shoot the grand emerald Yangshuo countryside panorama like the fairy tale world and the dreamy sunset.

Then, drive to your accommodation at the foot of Xianggong Hill. Have a good sleep!

Optional activities: For Yulong River, there are diverse kinds of ways for your enjoyment of the fun and beauty, including biking, hiking, sightseeing bus, bamboo rafting and scooter. You can easily choose and combine your ideal way(s) and part of Yulong River if you are interested. (Please tell your likes to your travel consultants before booking the tour, as the final prices will differ by activities you choose.).

Yangshuo Yulong River Bamboo Rafting ExperienceCuiping Five Fingers Mountain Sunset
Day 6 Yangshuo Tour & Yangshuo to Guilin Airport (B)

Get up early this morning to take photos of the terrific sunrise and morning glows at Xianggong Hill, the best place for shooting the full view of Li River. Take out your camera to shoot the best photos of the beams of lights coming out from the clouds, the changing mists, winding Li River, various forms of Yangshuo Karst mountains, rural houses, boats shipping on the orange river, etc.

After the photographing, return to your hotel to enjoy breakfast. Then, be transferred to catch your flight / train to next destination. (Note: arrange your flight or train in late afternoon or early evening.)

Mona from Germany - Panoramic Views of Beautiful Li River at Xianggong Hill

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Longji Terrace Longji Terrace Jinkeng Terrace

There are four major scenic spots you can take photo in Guilin, we have listed them on the following.

Longsheng County Scenic Spot

Longsheng County lies in the north of Guilin city center and it’s a multinational autonomous county. The most famous sceneries of Longsheng County are Ping’an Terraced Fields (also called Longji Terrace) and Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields. The main population of Ping’an Terraced Fields is Zhuang People (China Ethnic Minorities), while the Jinkeng Terraced Fields is Red Yao People (China Ethnic Minorities). Longji Terrace is 10 miles from Jinkeng Terrace, and it will spend 4 hours to hike between the two terrace fields. So, in Longsheng, you can shoot the vast and beautiful terrace fields as well as the ethnic folk customs of Zhuang and Red Yao People.

Best Sites for Photography

Jinkeng Terrace

Though Jinkeng Terrace is not famous as Longji Terrace, it’s more spectacular than Longji Terrace. Some people call Jinkeng Terrace is the “King of Terrace”. It has three observation decks. No.1 observation deck is West Hill Music, which is the best photography location of Jinkeng Terrace. About 90% pictures of Longsheng Terrace Picture Album are shot from here. No.2 observation deck is Large-scale Thousand-layer Terraces. No.3 observation deck is Golden Buddha Peak. The scenery of No.3 observation deck is not good as others, so if you have limited time, you can miss the No.3 observation deck. The best time for shooting at No.1 and No.2 observation deck is dawn and dusk, while the best time for No.3 observation deck is dusk.

Ping'an Terrace

Till today, Longji Terrace has over 600 years’ history. Numerous terrace fields coil from the mountain foot to mountain top, layer by layer. Longji Terrace has two observation decks to view the terrace scene. No.1 observation deck is called Nine Dragons and Five Tigers. The best time to shoot at this deck is the sunrise time. No.1 observation deck is called Seven Stars around the Moon, and this location is more suitable to shoot the sunset scenery of the terrace for the sunlight factors.

Best Season for Photography

You will see different scenes in different seasons. From mid-April to mid-June, during this time, the fields are full of water to be prepared for the rice plantation, so you will see watery terrace at this time. From late September to the beginning of October, it’s the time of harvest. The paddies in the field are turn to golden at this time, and the air at this time is very clear. Thus, you can shoot golden terrace under a very clear weather at this time. Spring is also a good time to see the terrace fields for there will be full of rape flowers.

Tips from Our Experts

1. Suggested photographic equipment includes wide angle lens, telephoto lens and tripod, and when you shoot the Terrace Fields, try to use small-aperture and expand the depth of field.

2. It’s better to stay overnight at the terrace field to wait for good weather to shoot sunrise and sunset.

3. Transportation advice: you can take bus from Guilin Bus Station or Qintan Bus Station and get off at Heping Town, and then transfer to the direct line to get to the scenic spot. Between Longji Terrace and Jinkeng Terrace, you can hike from Longji to Jinkeng, and the distance is about 10 miles and it will take you about 4 hours.

4. Accommodation advice: in the terrace fields, most hotels are wooden floors built by the local people. The facilities are rather simple, but it’s very cheap and interesting.

Li River Fisherman on Li River Fishing Light on Li River

Li River Scenic Spot

Every place of Guilin can be single scenery, while Li River Scenic Spot is the most classical scenery of Guilin. For a long time, when speaking of Guilin, speak of Li River. Li River Scenic Spot is the biggest karst landscape scenic resort in the world. For thousands of years, it has drawn numerous poets, painters and photographer to here. Even the background of the new edition 20 Yuan Banknote is the Nine Horses Fresco Hill along Li River.

Best Sites for Photography

The scenery along Li River is the most beautiful part of Guilin. In here, you can shoot the endless green mountains with wide, clear and peaceful water. Along Li River, there are many amazing spots where you can take great photos, like Xialong, Xianggong Hill, Huangbu Reflection, Xingping Scenery Spot, Nine Horses Fresco Hill… Besides the picturesque natural scenery, ancient town and fisherman poling on the Li River with cormorant and fishing lights on the raft are also the classic scenes for you to shoot. Normally, the best time for shooting is dawn and dusk. To shoot the sunrise, you need to get up before the dawn. Renting a private boat or raft is more convenient for shooting, because you can stay and pull in to the shore as you want, and leave enough time for you to shoot.

Best Season for Photography

The best seasons to shoot Li River are spring, summer and autumn. In spring time, it often rains on Li River. Rafting on the river in a fine drizzle, surrounded by mist and several rafts, you will feel as you were in a gorgeous Chinese painting. This is the charm of misty and rainy Li River. While in summer time, the weather in Guilin is very good. Blue sky, white cloud, green mountains and peaceful water give youth vitality to this river. Autumn is the best season to watch rosy dawn. Autumn is the season with best air transparency, and at this time, the sunrise is extremely beautiful.

Tips from Our Experts

1. It’s recommended to bring your wide angle lens and telephoto lens with you. And when you shoot from Xianggong Hill, it’s better to bring tripod and flashlight with you, too.

2. If you want to shoot the classic photo with a fisherman poling on the Li River, you can rent a raft with fishing lights and cormorant. The scene of fishing lights on Li River can be shot in Xialong, Huangbu Refection and XingPing Scenic Spot. Best time for shooting is dawn and dusk.

3. We suggest you to take a boat or raft to tour Li River. You will have enough time to appreciate the beautiful scenery along the river.

Cuiping Five Fingers Mountain Xianggong Hill Yulong River

Yangshuo Scenic Spot

A saying once said: “Guilin landscape tops all scenery, and Yangshuo landscape tops that of Guilin”. Compared with Li River Scenic Spot, Yangshuo may be quieter, but it has as much beauty as Li River Scenic Spot. The idyllic scenery here is just like a poem. Except the natural scenery, you can also witness the combination of West and East in the West Street.

Best Sites for Photography

Yulong River is also called “little Li River”. Along Yulong River, except for the wonderful Karst landforms, you can also see idyllic scenery and ancient villages. Climbing up on Xianggong Hill and Cuiping Five Fingers Mountain will let you shoot the wider panorama of Li River at a much better and different angle, where the rolling Karst landform hills, lovely Yangshuo countryside sceneries, etc. are terrific in many famous Guilin Li River photography works. Also, waiting to record the fabulous sunrise and sunset from the two mountains are highly recommended! Besides, if you got more time, you’re your camera to frame some top famous places with local Yangshuo features, such as Moon Hill, West Street, Big Banyan Tree, etc. Moon Hill is famous for having a wide and semicircular hole through it. The diameter of the hole is over 30 meters. Such a natural beauty is great subject to shoot. The best time to shoot Moon Hill is morning. West Street is the oldest street in Yangshuo, and it has a history over 1400 years. Antique buildings with modern inner decoration, numerous featured bars and handicrafts… All these will bring a strong visual impact to your photos. 17 meters high and about 7 meters tree girth, Big Banyan Tree is an old tree which has a history over 1400 years. The nearby karst landform scene of Big Banyan Tree is also great for shooting.

Best Season for Photography

For Yulong River, the best season is from March to November. At this time, the idyllic scenery along the river, together with the cottage and water wheel on the river bank makes a quiet and beautiful painting. For Moon Hill and West Street, you can visit them in every season. The best season to shoot Big Banyan Tree is summer and autumn, for this is a high flow period and you can shoot the tree along with the blue water together.

Tips from Our Experts

1. It’s recommended to bring your wide angle lens and telephoto lens with you. And when you shoot from Xianggong Hill and Cuiping Mountain, it’s better to bring tripod and flashlight with you, too.

2. The best way to tour Yulong River is taking a bamboo raft, which will definitely add fun for your tour and this is more suitable for shooting.

3. Transportation advice: there are many buses commuting between Guilin and Yangshuo. You can also take a Li River Cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo.

4. Accommodation advice: there are various hotels in Yangshuo, and the service, security, sanitation and price are all quite satisfactory. You can choose according to your preference.

Reed Flute Cave Yaoshan Hill Elephant Trunk Hill

Guilin City Scenic Spot

In Guilin Scenic Spot, there are also many shooting spots for you. Elephant Trunk Hill is the landmark of Guilin, and it’s famed for its shape which looks like an elephant drinking water. Reed Flute Cave is the most famous cave in Guilin, and you can shoot all sorts of fantastic stalactites and stalagmites in this cave. The magnificent Yaoshan Hill is the great place to shoot beautiful sunrise and sea of clouds, and it’s the highest mountain in Guilin City center.

Best Sites for Photography

For Elephant Trunk Hill, it’s wise to avoid the rush hour of tourists and choose to shoot the hill in the morning or afternoon. Reed Flute Cave has several shoot points for tourists along the touring route. For Yaoshan Hill, the best place to shoot Cloud Sea and sunrise is the small viewing platform (about 20 m2) on the top of Yaoshan Hill. If you want to shoot the autumn scenery of Guilin, you should choose a sunny morning to climb on the mountain. If you want to shoot the Cloud Sea, you should choose the next morning after a rainy night.

Best Season for Photography

Basically, you can go to shoot Elephant Trunk Hill and Reel Flue Cave all year around. While for Yaoshan Hill, summer is the best time, especially from July to August. At this time, Guilin rains a lot, and normally, the day after the rainy day, there will be cloud sea due to large temperature difference between night and day. Every year, there are numerous shutterbug climb on Yaoshan Hill just for shooting a beautiful cloud sea picture of Guilin.

Tips from Our Experts

1. It’s recommended to bring your wide angle lens and telephoto lens with you. Tripod is needed when you shoot Yaoshan Hill.

2. The temperature of the top of Yaoshan is lower than the mountain foot, so please prepare some warm clothing.

3. In July and August, especially the day after a rainy night, there are many people come to Yaoshan Hill, so, you need to get up really early to take a position on the viewing platform.

For more photography advices about Guilin, Please feel free to contact us and we are here ready to help!

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