There are hills and water all around, while urban Guilin is a modern metropolis that boasts a great deal of shopping and eating, although not to the extent of the more in-your-face cities of the east. There is also a good deal of western-style hotels in town and plenty of Western eateries for those who haven't got to grips with Chinese food.
The city is split into five districts and several counties that spread a fair way out, yet it is the central areas and the river that appeal to tourists the most. In addition, while here, it is worth exploring the region at large as it is supremely beautiful. One particular must-see is Longsheng, another river town 50 miles northwest of Guilin that is famed for its Longji rice terraces.
Zhongshan Nanlu is the main artery of Guilin and one which has the majority of tourist hotels in the city center. Its cuts through central Guilin and features the likes of the upscale Baileman Jiudian hotel and the backpacker-style Overseas Chinese Hotel, as well as a great deal of shopping.
Zhongshan Zhonglu is another major shopping area in Guilin, teaming up with Central Square to offer the best collection of shops, eateries and hotels. The area becomes a market at night where tourists can pick up souvenirs and knick-knacks, including osmanthus tea and umbrellas.