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!
Travel Route: Guilin / Longsheng / Guilin / Yangshuo / Guilin
Travel Length: 5 Days
Tour Code: CD-PTGLT-05
Tour Type: Private Tour
Departure: You Choose (you may plan it according to the best season and time.)
There are four major scenic spots you can take photo in Guilin, we have listed them on the following.
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.
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.
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.
You will see different scenes in different seasons. From May 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. In the winter, after snow, the terrace fields will look totally different from other time, and it’s a great chance to see the spectacular snowy terraces.
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.
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.
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.
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 mountain and peaceful water give a 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
1. It’s recommended to bring your wide angle lens and telephoto lens with you.
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.
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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. The first stop surely is the Elephant Trunk Hill, the city symbol. Then drive about 7 km (about 20 minutes) to the fabulous Reed Flute Cave to see the beautiful stalactites, stalagmites, stone pillars, and stone flowers with various shapes.
After the tour, be transferred to your hotel. .
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In this morning, you’ll be driven about 90 kilometers (about 2.5 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 your drive to a beautiful 600-year-old Zhuang Village - Ping’an and check in your hotel located near the rice terraces. After some rest, bring your camera and start to explore the breathtaking views. The rice terrace is layer upon layer, like the changing ladder created by nature leading to the blue sky, forming a majestic painting between heaven and earth. From Ping’an, you can hike on the cobbled paths built among terraces to catch the best landscape. Climb up to the great lookouts at Seven Stars with Moon and Nine Dragons and Five Tigers from which you can get superlative views of terraces and villages. Hike half day around, then back to Ping’an for dinner and accommodation.
Good to Know:
1. Best time to visit: Longji Rice Terrace can be visited all year round. Go mid-April to late June for mirror-like irrigated terrace and rice transplanting scene; go July to mid-September for green terraces; go late September to early-November for golden and harvest scene; or go late December to early February for silvery terraces.
2. Walking: When arriving at Ping’an Village, you can only be dropped at Ping’an Village Tourist Center parking lot that you need to walk about 900 steps to your hotel. 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).
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In the morning, you will get up before the sunrise and go to the photography location of Longji Terrace to take the sunrise photo of the terrace. After the shooting, go back to your hotel and enjoy your breakfast. After the breakfast, you will shoot the folk custom of Ping’an Zhuang people. Then, drive to the Ancient Town of Xingping. You will have lunch on the way, and after you get to Xingping, check in the hotel and get some rest.
In the afternoon, visit Xingping ancient town and take photo. At dusk, you will take a bamboo raft to take photo of the Xingping scenic spot on Li River.
Tips: rent the raft with cormorant and fishing lights will add more artistic atmosphere to your pictures.
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In the morning, take a raft to the famous photography location – Huangbu Reflection before sunrise, and take photo of Guilin scenery against the sunlight. You can rent some bamboo rafts with cormorant and fishing fire to create atmosphere to your pictures. On the way back to Xingping, you will also pass the 20 Yuan banknote scenery. After the shooting, back to your hotel and enjoy your breakfast, and get some rest.
In the afternoon, drive to Yangshuo and after checking in the hotel, shoot in the Yulong River scenic spot in Yangshuo. The scenery of Yangshuo is the essence of Guilin scenery.
In the evening, you will be free to visit and shoot the West Street, the oldest street in Yangshuo. The buildings here reserve the antique style of Ming and Qing Dynasties.
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In the morning, you could take minibus or ride a bicycle to feast your eyes with beautiful country landscape. As you pass paddy fields and buffalos you can see how the local farmers work and live. Visit Moon Hill, ancient Big Banyan Tree and local farmer’s house; as well as enjoy a panoramic view of that area if you climb up to the peak of Moon Hill.
Have lunch in a farmers' restaurant at the foot of Moon Hill. Then, you’ll be taken to Guilin Airport to fly to your next destination.
Notes: Arrange your flight/ train in late afternoon or early evening.
Chengdu / Huanglong / Jiuzhaigou
Kunming / Dongchuan / Shilin / Yuanyang / Jianshui / Kunming