Although Guilin has no notable department stores, this is a good area to pick some nice souvenirs. The area around Mopanshan Dock has a few nice small shops selling gems and other traditional Guilin souvenirs such as Bamboo and wooden carvings. Guilin is an especially good place to pick up some tasty snack food. The oranges and small kumquats around here are very juicy and Guilin people also have a very sweet tooth so it's worth checking out some of their delicious candy.
Yangshuo (about 70 km from Guilin) also has some sweet little boutiques and a great weekend market where you can pick up some nice souvenirs and also some good quality clothing. Yangshuo painted fans make a nice gift and the selection in the town is good. Make sure you bargain hard here however, as the store and stall owners are used to ripping foreigners off!
What to buy in Guilin
Guilin sanhua alcohol, the fermented bean curd and the chili sauce are considered to be Guilin's three treasures, and are top choices with visitors to the city.
Products made from sweet-scented osmanthus are also recommended since the name of Guilin literally means forests of osmanthus. Osamnthus tea, sugar and wine will bring you sweet memories of this city.
The gingko tree is described as a living fossil. Gingko is said to promote healthy blood circulation, moistens facial skin and so chases away wrinkles. It is so versatile that it can also be made into drinks and snacks.
Guilin chufas can be eaten as fruit or as a vegetable. Chufas, sometimes referred to as tiger nuts in the West, are grown there and are very sweet and crispy. Chufa paste, chufa panocha and canned chufa each have their own unique flavors and will add extra zest to your cooking.
Luo Han Kuo got its name as it looks like the belly of Buddha. Luohan means arhat in Chinese. This fruit has long been a traditional Chinese herb. It is sweet and mellow and is considered conducive to the system and helps lower blood pressure. Instant Luo Han Kuo tea is a very convenient way to prepare it and preserves the original flavor of the fruit.
Shaddock is the best-known fruit in Guangxi. Shaddock is sweet with a light scent. It is rich in Vitamin C. Cumquat is a citrus like fruit with a sweet rind and acidic center. It can be eaten fresh or be made into a sweetmeat, canned or squeezed as a fruit juice drink. It is rich in Vitamin C1, B2, B1, P, Ca, etc.
Sugar cane is one of the main winter crops in Guilin. It is a must during the Spring Festival as it can help to dispel a hang over and the unwelcome effects of fatty foods.
Lipu taro, chestnut, persimmon and green tea are worth trying, too.
Souvenirs of Guilin
Guilin Stone is formed in the unique geographic and climatic conditions. Those stones are solid in texture, bright in color, unique in form. They are decorative and can serve as a reminder of the beauty and elegance of the scenery to be found in and around the mountains and waterways for which Guilin is famous.
Embroidered balls are romantic keepsakes. In ancient China, maidens threw embroidered balls at their Prince Charming. Whoever caught the ball would marry the maiden.
Ranging from animals, wall decorations to plates and pails, hand-woven crafts are decorative as well as functional.
Marble ware, jade ware, bamboo and woodcarvings, paper umbrellas, embroidery, hand-painted folding screens and knit ware, are all ideal souvenirs.
Jewelry: Gold, silver, jade and pearl wares such as necklaces, rings, earrings, pendants, broaches, and bracelets are dainty in design with strong ethnic features.
Paintings and Calligraphy: Traditional Chinese painting of mountains and waters will surely satisfy travelers who love Chinese cultural and arts. The beautiful mountains and waters have attracted many artists since the Song Dynasty (907-1279). Modern artists like Xu Beihong, Huang Binhong, Li Keran, Qi Baishi, etc, all created precious works after visiting there. Guilin galleries are not only famous locally but throughout China.
Huang Changdian brush pen has a history of over 100 years. There are more than 70 sizes of brush pens, all of which are made of quality rabbit hair, wolf hair, wool, etc.