Guilin has unique mountains and beautiful rivers, and it is also a famous historical and cultural city in China. The mountains of Yangshuo, the water of the Li River, the sunset glow of Xingping ancient town, and the cormorant fishermen are all classic Chinese photography elements that have always attracted photography enthusiasts from all over the world.

We listed here the best photography spots with the information of best time to visit and compostions.

#1 Xianggong Hill

Xianggong Mountain, known as the "Holy Land of Photography in Guilin", is a must-visit place for photography in Guilin. On both sides of the Li River, the green hills are like two barriers.

In the rainy spring, clouds and mist on the river surface wrap around mountains and seas of clouds are surging.

In mid-October, the sun shines through the top of the mountain and casts light and shadow onto the river surface, forming a fresh and elegant ink painting of green mountains.

How to reach: Xianggong Mountain is located on the bank of the Li River, and there is no direct public transportation. It takes about 40 minutes drive from Yangshuo.

Best time for photography: From February to May is the best time for sea of clouds photography; you can expect better sunrise session from June to October.

The Xianggong Hill at Sunrise mercierzengphotography.com / Mercier Zeng

#2 Cormorant Fishermen in Xingping

In addition to shooting humanistic documentary themes in the ancient streets of the town, the most famous are the cormorant fishermen. There are many classic spots available in Xingping, and each one has its own beauty.

  • The backdrop place of 20 yuan note of Chinese money: It is good to shoot sunset and gaslamp portraits of cormorant fishermen
  • Laizhai Mountain: Both are good for sunrise and sunset, there are more than 2000 steps to the hilltop, it takes about 30-40 minutes.
Gaslamp Portraits of Cormorant Fishermen mercierzengphotography.com / Mercier Zeng

#3 Buffalo Farmer Village

The village is best known for the buffalo farmer and the stone bridge. In the early morning, the local farmer and his buffalos walk accoss the small stone bridge, combine the beautiful reflections and mountains in the distance, what an amazing scene is!

In fact, the aerial scenery of the Village also has its magnificent and special side. Coming here in the morning, the drone rose to high altitude, facing the direction of the sunrise, shooting the moments when the peaks were bathed in the sun and the countryside sprinkled with light and shadow, which is also dramatic.

Bufflo Farmer Crossing The Stone Birgde mercierzengphotography.com / Mercier Zeng

#4 Longji Terraced Fields

When you come to Guilin, in addition to photographing of the Guilin landscape and the Li River scenery, another must-see is Long Terraced Fields.

There are three main villages in Longji Terraced Fields: Jinkeng Dazhai Village, Pingan Village, and Ancient Zhuang Minority Village. Tickets include passes for the three scenic spots.

  • Ping'an Village is more suitable for shooting the image of "Dragon's Spine" in the cloud season, good for sunrise and sunset photography;
  • Jinkeng Dazhai Village has a brighter atmosphere and a better sense of layering during the irrigation and planting season, and they mainly shoot the sunrise;
  • Ancient Zhuang Village is more primitive and simple, good for people photography.

The best photography time is March to June while all fields are irrigated and the end of September to early October with golden rice fields.

Ping An Village In Autumn mercierzengphotography.com / Mercier Zeng

#5 Cuiping Mountain

Cuiping, also known as Five Fingers Mountain, which is an ideal tourist destination for viewing karst mountains and peaks, it is also one of the best places for sunset photography in Yangshuo.

There are around 1000 well-constructed steps to the top, it takes 20 minutes hiking up.

In addition, Cuiping is good for milky way photography.

Cuiping Sunset mercierzengphotography.com / Mercier Zeng

#6 Xialong Scenery in Li River

Xialong is known as the most representative photographic location of Guilin's landscape.

The beauty of Halong lies in the reflection of the landscape. The water surface here is as quiet as a mirror.

When the clouds rise in the early morning, the red sun will be on the top of the distant mountain; the mist on the mountainside is like a veil. Fishermen rafting, fishing lights faintly lit, cormorants whispering softly, boats across the river, what a poetic portrayal of "the boat is on the blue waves, and the people are swimming in the middle of the painting".

Best time for photography: May to Ocotober is the best time for mountain reflections photography with sunrise. Actually, it could be good all year around.

Cormorant Fishermen At Dawn mercierzengphotography.com / Mercier Zeng

#7 Glass Fields

There are unique karst original ecological wetlands, peaks, forests and lakes, mountains and rivers The glass field is composed of large and small ponds, and there are many local houses nearby with colorful roofs, it is good to visit all year around.

There are around 1500 well-constructed steps to the hilltop, it takes about 20 minutes hiking up.

It is good for both sunrise and sunset photography.

Glass Fields Over Sunrise mercierzengphotography.com / Mercier Zeng

#8 Damian Hill

If Xianggong Mountain is the "Holy Land of Photography in Guilin", then Damian Mountain is the "top of the Holy Land of Photography in Guilin".

Damian Mountain is also known as the first bay of the Lijiang River. The Lijiang River rushes down from Maoer Mountain and flows through Xingping Ancient Town. A 180-degree U-shaped river bend is great for pano photography. Due to the surrounding river bays and wide river channels, the green hills on both sides of the bank stand with thousands of hills and towering peaks.

Photograph the Damian hill, there are mainly three classic compositions:

  • The first is the super wide-angle or tilt-shift filming, which brings the entire river bend into the lens
  • The second is to face the sunrise direction of Xingping Ancient Town on the left, showing the local beauty of the morning glow and the Li River
  • The third is to shoot the unique curve of the carp ridge facing the direction of the carp ridge on the right side of the screen.

For those of you who like the starry sky and the milky way, Damian Hill is also a great place to shoot the milky way. From April to June each year, the Milky Way hangs above the sky, and the sea of clouds and the peaks over the river bend echo each other, making it more spectacular.

The Pano View of Damian Hill mercierzengphotography.com / Mercier Zeng

#9 Daxu Ancient Town

If you are thinking of shoot the old streets, old houses with elders, Daxu ancient town is a good choice. It takes about 40 minutes drive from Guilin downtown.

Many old houses here are wooden, only very few elders still live here, visiting local families, shooting the old collections and people portraits are the favourites of many photographers.

Old Streets and Local People mercierzengphotography.com / Mercier Zeng

#10 Mount Yao

The closest photography spot to the urban area, Mount Yao is the highest mountain in the urban area, with an altitude of about 350 meters, it takes about 30-40 minutes drive from downtown. This is the sunrise shooting location, suitable for morning shooting.

There are hundreds of mountains in the distance, it is also good for drone photography.

Mount Yao Overview Sunrise mercierzengphotography.com / Mercier Zeng

#11 Two Pagodas and Lakescapes

Sun and Moon Twin Towers: 300 meters straight from Elephant Trunk Hill, walk along Binjiang Road for a few minutes to arrive. Sunset and sunset shooting spots, suitable for evening shooting. When the drone takes off to shoot, find a good position and composition, there will be unexpected surprises.

The Sun and Moon Pagodas mercierzengphotography.com / Mercier Zeng

#12 Chuanshan Park

Chuanshan park is good for sunset photography.

There are two photography locations in the park:

  • Climbing to the top of the mountain and looking west, you can have a panoramic view of Guilin's cityscapes. The Li River passes through the city, the sun setting down the mountains in distance and the busy traffic are all good subjects for shooting.
  • If you don't want to climb the mountain, photograph the sunset and reflections of the ancient pagoda in the lake is another joy.
Chuanshan Park at Sunset mercierzengphotography.com / Mercier Zeng

#13 Danxia Landforms

The Danxia Landform is in Ziyuan County. Its main peak is 818 meters above sea level. It is named after the main peak has eight angled corners, so it is also called Bajiaozhai Danxia Lanforms.

As a representative of the world natural heritage-China's Danxia landform, Bajiaozhai was selected as one of the seven most beautiful Danxia in China by National Geographic in 2005.

Here is mainly good for sunrise photography. The best travel time is May to August.

Bajiaozhai Danxia Lanform 699pic.com

Planning to take a Guilin photography tour?

Mercier Zeng and Andy Beales are the best local photography guides who both have more than 100 five star reviews on Trip Advisor.

Check out the best time to visit, where to stay and more travel tips here.

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