Layover in Guilin

Layover in Guilin
By Leon Long
China Expert

Guilin is famous for its karst hills and crystal-clear Li River. It has been seen by Chinese people as the most beautiful place in China. From biking in the countryside of Yangshuo to hiking at the terrace field in Longsheng, from snack streets to bamboo rafting tours, the city offers a variety of places and activities to suit anyone.

Good to know: Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (KWL) is located in Liangjiang Town, Lingui County, 28 km (17 mi) southwest of Guilin city center. Connecting to more than 76 cities in China, it is a transportation hub for Guilin and neighboring cities like Liuzhou and Hezhou. There are international flights from Hongkong, Jakarta, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Seoul to Guilin.

Can I leave the airport during a layover in Guilin?

You cannot leave the airport if you don’t have a visa or are not eligible for the 144 hour transit visa exemption policy.

You are eligible for the 144 hour transit visa exemption policy if you:

A. Booked a flight ticket to a third country or region

B. Hold a passport from one of the following countries:

America: The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile

Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, Belarus and Monaco.

Oceania: Australia, New Zealand

Asia: Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates and Qatar

As an eligible foreign passenger, what should I do to apply for 144-Hour Visa-free Transit?

It is very easy to apply for the 144 hour visa free transit, you just need 3 steps:

  • Step 1: Prepare the required documents for 144-Hour Visa-free Transit. You need a valid passport (at least 3 months of validity), book your direct flight ticket to a third country after China, and have a visa to the third country (if it is required) .
  • Step 2: When you board the flight to Guilin, you should tell the agent at the airport that you are eligible for 144-Hour Visa-free Transit in China and that you have all the necessary documents with you.
  • Step 3: When you arrive at Tianjin airport/port, you’ll be looking for a specific line for those applying for a 144-hour transit visa. Normally, it will only take you 5-10 mins to get the sticker “Temporary Entry Permit” on a blank page of your passport. Then everything is done.

What is the policy of 6 day visa-free entry for tour groups from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)?

From May 28th 2015, tour groups from 10 ASEAN countries (Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar (Burma)) have been able to enjoy a 6 day visa free tour to Guilin. The tour group must consisted of 2 or more people. You cannot travel to other cities in China. You should arrive at and leave from Guilin airport. Your tour should be hosted by a local agency in Guilin.

There are 3 steps for the visa free tour to Guilin:

  • Step 1: You need to contact an authorized tour agency in Guilin for an itinerary and a quote. Once you have agreed on the prices and itinerary, you’ll give your passport details to the agency in Guilin.
  • Step 2: When you board the flight to Guilin, please tell the agent at the airport you’ll take advantage of the 6 day visa-free policy to Guilin, and your agency in Guilin has arranged everything for you.
  • Step 3: The local agency has forwarded your passport details to the immigration authority. When you arrive in Guilin airport, you just need to fill out the arrival card and clear customs formally.

Luggage storage at Guilin airport

There is no luggage storage now, but you can store your luggage at China Post on Level 3, Terminal 2. The price is 15 yuan (approx. 2 USD) for 12 hrs.

Guilin airport WiFi

There is free WiFi BUT you need a Chinese phone number to get the verification code. You can use the WiFi at Starbucks at Gate #1 departure level of Terminal 2.

Airport Lounge and hotel

There is a First Class and Business Lounge you can use for a fee.

There is an Airport Hotel near the terminal building, which is quite basic.

If you want to stay in a decent hotel, the closest one is Four Points By Sheraton Guilin Lingui, about 20 mins’ drive from the airport.

What are the transportation options from the airport to the city center, bus station, or train station?

Taxi: It will take you about 1 hour and about 120 yuan (US$17) for a taxi ride to the city center.

Shuttle bus: There are 3 bus lines to different locations in the city. The most popular one is line #1 which will take you to Civil Aviation Hotel near the city center. There is also a shuttle bus to Yangshuo bus station at 09:30, 11:00, 12:30, 14:00, 15:30, 16:30, 18:00, 20:00, and the price is 50 yuan.

Top- rated attractions in Guilin

How to travel from Guilin airport to major attractions

How to travel from Guilin airport to major attractions

Name of Tourist Attraction Distance(from airport) Recommended visiting time Why visit here? How to get here?
Elephant Trunk Hill Park 29.5 km (18.4mi) 1 hour Landmark of Guilin Shuttle bus to city center
Reed Flute Cave 31km (19.3 mi) 1 hour One of the most beautiful Karst caves in China Shuttle bus to city center then change to bus #3 and get off at Reed Flute Cave station
Seven Star Park 32km (20 mi) 1.5 hrs Largest comprehensive park in Guilin Shuttle bus #1 to Aviation Hotel then change to bus #97 and get off at Seven Star Park Station
Daxu Ancient Town 45km (28 mi) 1.5 hrs Discover the ancient stone streets, temples and historic markets. Shuttle bus to city center then change to bus to the Town
Li River Cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo 50km (31.25 mi) 4 hrs Cruise in a Chinese painting Taxi or tour group
Longsheng Terraced Field 89km (55.6mi) 3 hrs One of the most beautiful rice terraces in China Taxi or tour group
Yangshuo Town 85.7km (53.5mi) 1-2 days Countryside life Shuttle bus from airport to Yangshuo

How many hours before the flight should we get back to the airport?

We recommend that you get back to the airport at least 3 hrs before your flight.

Recommended Guilin layover tour packages

Guilin tours

If you have 6 hours to visit Guilin during your layover:

You can do a city tour to Reed Flute cave, Elephant Trunk Hill Park and city proper (shopping street and four lakes area). Or you can join our 4 hour food tour in Guilin if your layover time is in the evening.

If you have 9-12 hours:

We recommend a day tour to Longsheng Terrace Field or one day Li River cruise. (To take the cruise you need to get to the pier before 9am)

If you have 2 to 3 days:

You can do a cruise on the river and stay one night in Yangshuo. Once you are in Yangshuo, you’ll have a lot of options. You can do biking, hiking or take a bamboo raft on Yulong River.

A standard Guilin/Yangshuo tour needs 4 days and 3 nights, we have many tour packages for Guilin.

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