Capital - Nanning
Population - 46 million
Landmass - Size of Minnesota
Minority groups - Zhuang, Miao, Yao, Dong, Xiang, Hmong, Jing, Yi, etc.
Officially named "Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region" in Chinese, this province is home to many minority peoples and famous for its beautiful karst landscape, lush greenery, and ancient traditional minority villages。 This province also includes some amazing waterfalls, beaches, national parks, and the famous Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces.
Trip 1 (February 2013)
(1) Guilin 桂林 (2) Yangshuo 阳朔 (3) Beihai 北海
A coworker from Ireland and myself went on a 2 week trip from Guilin to Yangshu to Beihai. We basically hit the major tourist destinations and spent most of our time in the city eating, drinking, seeing the sights, and not much else. Highlights from the trip would be the river boat ride from Guilin to Yangshuo, the empty beach and great seafood at Beihai, and the broad latin/spanish style street in downtown Beihai was also really interesting.
Trip 2 (October 2016)
(1) Guilin (2) Dragon's Backbone (Long ji) Rice Terraces (3) Yangshuo (4) Li River/Yulong River Area
(1) Guilin 桂林
Historically, this has been a well publicized tourist area in China mainly due to the Karst landscape and rock formations that surround the city and continue down the Li river to Yangshuo and beyond. The rocky, mountainous, and green hills that dominate the area draw in tourist from all over the world. Personally, I think the city is tourist friendly, has some nice hostels and bars, and there are a few good parks, but there is more to see in the countryside 1-2 hours outside of the city, which is what I plan to focus on during trip 2 to Guangxi.
Things to see near Guilin:
1) Dragon's Bone Rice Terraces
2) Jiangtoouzhou Ancient Village
3) Sanjiang's Chenyang Wind and Rain Bridge - Famous Dai minority wooden bridge made without a single nail
(2) Yangshuo 阳朔
This small ancient village turned full blown small western themed tourist town is an interesting place dropped in the middle of a largely undeveloped Chinese province. It has arguably the highest proportion of western restaurants of any city in China, and you will probably notice a high number of western tourists because this is a must see place in Guangxi, but it is also just a few hour boat ride south of Guilin and a great jumping off point for seeing rural minority communities. You can easily take a bus, boat, or rent a bike and see the remarkable landscape and small minority villages near Yangshuo. I am planning to see a great deal of the surrounding area on Trip 2 to Guangxi.
Things to see near Yangshuo:
1) Dragon Bridge (boat, bus, or bike ride following the Yulong river)
2) Moon Hill, the Big Banyan Tree, and Shitoucheng ancient village (short bike ride)
3) Xingping ancient village
(3) Beihai 北海
On the Gulf of Tonkin close to Vietnam, this city is small by Chinese standards but, the beach is massive with a strong breeze, white sand, and jet ski's and 4-wheelers for rent. The city was nice enough, the beach looked great, and the seafood was delicious, but winter there is cold. If you go in January/February like I did, it will be too cold to swim. In the city, there is a long broad tourist street that was built with a European/Spanish/Latin American style feel to the architecture, which I jokingly described as how I would imagine Chinatown in Havana to look like. Overall, it's a neat street, and a great place to buy some souvenirs, but a few buildings need a facelift.