18 things to experience while studying abroad in Guilin

Guilin offers an endlessly flowing river of opportunities to students studying abroad. Each individual student who studies with CLI is unique and is seeking an experience to call their own. Guilin’s truly bottomless selection of paths to explore will prove to be a tremendous benefit to your experience.

Here are 18 activities we suggest you try during your semester in Guilin — there are countless more we’d love to share with you so please don’t hesitate to ask.

Climb a mountain… or five!

Guilin (including Yangshuo) is quickly becoming the capital of the world of rock climbing. You do not need to be an expert, there are peaks of all levels –and plenty of rock climbing schools! There are also endless opportunities for you to just walk up some of the mountains around Guilin and capture some of the best shots of the city’s landscape.


Drink rice wine in a cave

Guilin’s rice wine or Sanhuajiu –which literally means wine of three flowers– is very famous in China and its brewage can be traced to the Song Dynasty. The quality of this wine is very high, which is why it’s considered one of Guilin’s treasures.


Watch the Yao women dance in the Longji terraces

Each ethnic minority in China has its own unique fashion, music, dance, and more. The Yao people are famous for their pink embroidered clothing and extremely long hair.

“The only source of knowledge is experience.”

~ Albert Einstein

Send postcards to your family and friends back home

Share some of the magic of your experiences in China with your family and friends back home! Place your grain of sand in building a bridge between our countries.


Check out the tallest man-made waterfall in the world

Every night, unsuspecting tourists at the city center are surprised to find themselves in front of the tallest man-made waterfall in the world. Don’t miss it, it will appear on the back side of the Waterfall Hotel at 8:30 pm sharp.

Bring a date to the Two Rivers and Four Lakes Scenic Area at night

The Sun and Moon Pagodas are beautifully illuminated at night and definitely the highlight of an unforgettable walk around one of Guilin’s most enchanting spots.

Put your Mandarin to the test watching a Chinese movie at Wanda

Don’t miss out on a rich cultural experience and a huge opportunity to improve your language skills! To get the most out of the movie try to remain engaged with the plot and repeat some of the words the characters say using their pronunciation.


Drink the insanely addictive Gongcha bubble tea

Originally from Hong Kong, Gongcha, a Taiwan-style drink shop, is now ubiquitous in Guilin. Try one of their tons of flavors and then try to not buy a second one.

Try shaokao 烧烤

Shaokao (烧烤) is the name for street BBQ skewers in Guilin. It’s by far one of the favorite places for people of all ages. Locals typically pile order after order of shaokao to accompany beers while they play games of Chinese dice.

Swim with a view

Surrounded by karstic mountains and rivers, Guilin is one of most beautiful places in China. Local hotels and restaurants take full advantage of the landscapes and many offer visitors a chance to dip into their rooftop swimming pools for a small fee.

十一 Learn how to play mahjong

This incredibly fun game of strategy originated in China during the Qing dynasty. Don’t be surprised if the other players try to find the seats with the best Feng Shui or wear their lucky clothing and trinkets.


十二 Learn about traditional tea culture at a Daoist tea house

Tea culture forms a major part of China’s rich historical traditions. Gain a deeper understanding of its place in society by learning from the experts at one of Guilin’s numerous exquisitely-decorated tea houses.

十三 Get pampered with your friends at one of the tons of massage places in the city!

China is without a doubt a paradise for massage lovers, as you can find high-quality massages at very reasonable prices. Get an oil, full-body, just-feet or only-back massage and let all your worries and stress float away.

十四 Join a Taiji group every morning and a group of dancing ladies at night to keep in shape

Taiji Quan (太極拳), often spelled Tai Chi in the West, is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits.

At night in public squares all over China, millions of older women gather to dance and socialize.

十五 Learn a Chinese song and belt it out at KTV (Karaoke) club

Impress your Chinese friends and practice your Mandarin while partaking in one of the most popular and fun activities for locals in Guilin.


十六 Escape the city for a day and visit Daxu

Walk through the stone paths of ancient Daxu village. Daxu is a 1,000-year-old village with a rich story and some of the best examples of Ming and Qing Dynasty architecture in China.


十七 Talk with strangers on the street – learn about how China has changed throughout their lifetime

Few other countries have changed so radically as China has in the last 30 years. Its people are walking history books with tons of interesting stories they are happy to share with friendly foreigners. Don’t be shy!

十八 Go out at night and enjoy some live music

There is no shortage of live music bars in Guilin’s city center. The scene has been bubbling in the past few years, and it has progressed through pop music covers to local foreign musicians from all over the world.

Contact us to learn more about studying abroad in Guilin. You can also find CLI on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.


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Things to know about the year of the Rooster

The numbers 5, 7, and 8 are considered especially lucky for those born in the year of the Rooster while gold and yellow are considered their lucky colors.


January 28th marks the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar in 2017. New Year’s Day in China marks the completion of a year of hard work. Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival as it’s sometimes known, is by far the most important and auspicious of all festivals in the country, and a time for families nationwide to come together and look forward to the upcoming year in hopes of good health, wealth, luck, and happiness.


Each year in the Chinese calendar is related to an animal sign according to the twelve-year cycle, and 2017 is the year of the Rooster. The Rooster is the tenth in the Chinese zodiac—each animal in the Chinese zodiac has its own unique significance.


Those born in the year of the Rooster (1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, and 2017) are said to be hardworking, tenacious, active, and daring. “Roosters” are, additionally, frank and honest. Known for speaking their minds, they aren’t ones to shy away from attention either. People born in the year of the Rooster are usually very creative, making fantastic entertainers and artists.


The numbers 5, 7, and 8 are considered especially lucky for those born in the year of the Rooster while gold and yellow are considered their lucky colors. Roosters should, however, avoid the numbers 1, 3, and 9, and the color red as these are considered unlucky for them.


Famous celebrities born in the year of the Rooster include Matt Damon, Natalie Portman, Roger Federer, Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Aniston, and Elton John.


While each animal sign in the Chinese zodiac has its own unique meaning, festivities leading up to, on, and immediately after Spring Festival are much the same every year, regardless of the zodiac. It is a time for families across China to celebrate the year that has just gone by, and usher in the new one with family members and loved ones.


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You may also enjoy our interview peering into the life of Uncle Ye, a local Guilin resident, as he discusses the Spring Festival now versus 30 years ago.


What is your Chinese Zodiac? Share with us here or on Twitter @studycli.

Ben Hedges Interview: Part 1

We had the privilege of sitting down with Ben Hedges, founder of Learn Chinese Now, and discussing a variety of topics including his personal journey into the Mandarin language. Ben shared such incredible language learning insights and wisdom during our chat that we’ve decided to release the entire interview in three installments. While watching this first installment, follow along in the below transcript for the Chinese characters, pinyin, and English translation. You can also use this link to download a PDF containing the interview transcript and vocabulary list.



Jump to the vocabulary list.


Ben Hedges Interview Transcript

Dayong (00:04 – 00:07)


Qǐng zuò yīgè jiǎnduǎn de zìwǒ jièshào.

Can you please briefly introduce yourself?

Ben (00:07 – 01:32)

大家好,我是 Ben Hedges,中文名字叫郝义博。我是英国伦敦大学亚非学院的毕业生。我也在台湾留学了一年,在那边学了一年的中文。毕业之后,我就开始拍网络视频,主要是讨论一些中国的时事、电视剧、新闻、什么电影啊。后来这些视频就在台湾爆红了。所以我们就现在是每一周拍一个新的网络节目,后来我有很多机会跟一些公司合作拍一些影片,比如说我们跟Seven Eleven合作过拍台湾的环岛影片。2013年我也开始拍一个教中文的节目叫 “Learn Chinese Now”。我们每个星期出一个新的视频。这是针对外国人,正在学中文的外国人。帮他们学一点简单的中文,或 是把比较复杂的中文给他们解释一下。这个节目也是用一个幽默的方式,用一个幽默的方式来教中文。观众的反馈是很好的。

Dàjiā hǎo, wǒ shì Ben Hedges, zhōngwén míngzì jiào hǎoyìbó. Wǒ shì yīngguó lúndūn dàxué yà fēi xuéyuàn de bìyè shēng. Wǒ yě zài táiwān liúxuéle yī nián, zài nà biān xuéle yī nián de zhōngwén. Bìyè zhīhòu, wǒ jiù kāishǐ pāi wǎngluò shìpín, zhǔyào shì tǎolùn yīxiē zhōngguó de shíshì, diànshìjù, xīnwén, shénme diànyǐng a. Hòulái zhèxiē shìpín jiù zài táiwān bào hóngle. Suǒyǐ wǒmen jiù xiànzài shì měi yīzhōu pāi yīgè xīn de wǎngluò jiémù, hòulái wǒ yǒu hěnduō jīhuì gēn yīxiē gōngsī hézuò pāi yīxiē yǐngpiān, bǐrú shuō wǒmen gēn 711 hézuòguò pāi táiwān de huándǎo yǐngpiān. Wǒyě 2013 nián wǒ yě kāishǐ pāi yīgè jiāo zhōngwén de jiémù jiào “Learn Chinese Now”. Wǒmen měi gè xīngqī chū yīgè xīn de shìpín. Zhè shì zhēnduì wàiguó rén, zhèngzài xué zhōngwén de wàiguó rén. Bāng tāmen xué yīdiǎn jiǎndān de zhōngwén, huò shì bǎ bǐjiào fùzá de zhōngwén gěi tāmen jiěshì yīxià. Zhègè jiémù yěshì yòng yīgè yōumò de fāngshì,yòng yīgè yōumò de fāngshì lái jiāo zhōngwén. Guānzhòng de fǎnkuì shì hěn hǎo de.

Hello everyone, my name is Ben Hedges and my Chinese name is Hao Yibo. I graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the University of London. I also studied Chinese in Taiwan for one year. After I graduated, I started making online videos, discussing current affairs, TV dramas, news and movies in China. The videos became a hit in Taiwan, so now we release a new video online every week. We started to get a lot of opportunities to collaborate with companies and create more videos. For example, we worked with 7-Eleven to film a video about traveling around Taiwan. In 2013, I started a new program called “Learn Chinese Now”. It is a program developed for foreigners learning Chinese, and we release weekly videos. The program’s goal is to teach foreigners some simple Chinese, or explain the use of complicated Chinese words, and we try to do it in a humorous way. The program is well received by its audience.

Dayong (01:33 – 01:40)

通过制作Learn Chinese Now对您更好的理解文化差异有什么影响吗?

Tōngguò zhìzuò Learn Chinese Now duì nín gèng hǎo de lǐjiě wénhuà chāyì yǒu shén me yǐngxiǎng ma?

How has building Learn Chinese Now impacted your own journey toward greater fluency and cultural understanding?

Ben (01:40 – 02:36)

制作这些影片的时候我有一个机会在复习我已经在上大学的时候学过的一些成语啊,但是教,作为一个影片,比如说教一个成语的影片,真的会帮我更深的理解那个成语的意义。比如说我们拍了一个介绍“塞翁失马 焉知非福”的这个成语,所以我看了那个,那个故事,看了原文,文言文的那个古代汉语的故事。真的很有趣,真的更深,更深入了解这个故事,然后把它教给学生。这个过程,当一个老师,真的可以让你更深的理解一些中文词的,中文成语的意义、内涵,很深的内涵。

Zhìzuò zhèxiē yǐngpiān de shíhòu wǒ yǒu yīgè jīhuì zài fùxí wǒ yǐjīng zài shàng dàxué de shíhòu xuéguò de yīxiē chéngyǔ a, dànshì jiāo, zuòwéi yīgè yǐngpiān, bǐrú shuōjiāo yīgè chéngyǔ de yǐngpiān, zhēn de huì bāng wǒ gèngshēn de lǐjiě nàgè chéngyǔ de yìyì. Bǐrú shuō wǒmen pāile yīgè jièshào “sàiwēngshīmǎ yān zhī fēi fú” de zhègè chéngyǔ, suǒyǐ wǒ kànle nàgè, nàgè gùshì, kànle yuánwén, wényánwén de nàgè gǔdài hànyǔ de gùshì. Zhēn de hěn yǒuqù, zhēn de gèngshēn, gèngshēnrù liǎojiě zhègè gùshì, ránhòu bǎ tā jiāo gěi xuéshēng. Zhègè guòchéng, dāng yīgè lǎoshī, zhēn de kěyǐ ràng nǐ gèng shēn de lǐ jiè yīxiē zhōngwén cí de, zhōngwén chéngyǔ de yìyì, nèihán, hěn shēn de nèihán.

Making these videos gave me a chance to review what I have learned, for example, idioms in college. Teaching people what I have learned really allows me to have a deeper understanding of the idioms. For instance, we made a video introducing the idiom “Misfortune may actually be a blessing”, and I read the original story in classical Chinese. The story was really interesting and meaningful, and teaching it to the students allows me to discover more meaning behind the idioms.

Dayong (02:37 – 02:40)

您希望Learn Chinese Now对观众有什么影响?

Nín xīwàng Learn Chinese Now duì guānzhòng yǒu shén me yǐngxiǎng?

What impact do you hope Learn Chinese Now has on your audience?

Ben (02:41 – 03:30)


Xiànzài hěnduō xuéshēng, tāmen zhǐyào xué xiàndài hànyǔ kěnéng shì yīnwèi tāmen yào qù zhōngguó zuò shēngyì. Dànshì wǒ juédé xué yīdiǎn gǔdài hànyǔ, xué yīdiǎn wényánwén, zhēn de huì ràng nǐ gèng liǎojiě xiàndài hànyǔ, yīnwèi zhègè xiàndài hànyǔ jiùshì láizì gǔdài de yǔyán. Tā de měi yīgè zhōngwén cí, měi yīgè chéngyǔ bèihòu yǒu yīgè gùshì, bú xiàng yīngwén nàme jiǎndān, zhōngwén shì zhēn de yǒu bǐjiào shēn de nèihán. Suǒyǐ wǒ xīwàng xiànzài de xuéshēng kěyǐ liǎojiě zhè yīdiǎn. Wǒ xīwàng wǒ de jiémù kěyǐ bāng tāmen liǎojiě, ràng tāmen qù tànsuǒ gǔdài hànyǔ, gǔdài hànyǔ gēn xiàndài zhōngwén de guānxì.

Nowadays, a lot of students are learning modern Chinese, so they can go to China for business. However, I feel that learning a bit of ancient Chinese and classical Chinese allows you to understand modern Chinese better, as modern Chinese evolved from ancient Chinese. There is a story behind most of the Chinese phrases and idioms, and it is not as simple as English.


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Vocabulary List:

Hànzì Pīnyīn Definition Part of Speech
1. 网络视频 wǎngluò shìpín online video n.
2. 环岛影片 huándǎo yǐngpiān around the island videos n.
3. 幽默 yōumò humorous adj.
4. 简短 jiǎnduǎn brief adj.
5. 讨论 tǎolùn discuss v.
6. 观众 guānzhòng audience n.
7. 文化差异 wénhuà chàyì cultural difference n.
8. 古代汉语 gǔdài hànyǔ ancient Chinese (language) n.
9. 内涵 nèihán connotation n.
10. 探索 tànsuǒ explore / probe v.


Follow Ben by subscribing to Learn Chinese Now on YouTube, liking him on Facebook and following them on Twitter. You can also check out new content his original channel 老外看中國、老外看台灣


We hope to study Mandarin in China together some day soon. Don’t forget to follow CLI on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


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