GUILIN has been famous since Tang times for its scenic location among a host of craggy, 200m-high hills on the Li River. The city rose from a rural backwater in 1372 when Emperor Hongwu decided to appoint a minor relative to govern from here as the Jinjiang Prince, and this quasi-royal line ruled for fourteen generations, dying out in the 1650s with the collapse of the Ming dynasty. Guilin was later resurrected as provincial capital until supplanted by Nanning in 1914, after which it declined to a shabby provincial shell. Smartened up since the 1990s by the addition of well-designed landscaping, shady avenues and rocky parkland, today – despite tourist-driven inflation and hard-sell irritations – the city is an attractive place to spend a day while organizing a cruise downstream to the village of Yangshuo.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

China features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

An expert's guide: where to stay in Shanghai

An expert's guide: where to stay in Shanghai

Shanghai has to be a contender for the buzziest city in Asia, a thriving business hub that's brashly modern yet wears its history on its sleeve. Dense with glit…

23 Oct 2017 • Simon Lewis insert_drive_file Article
The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook