Yangshuo Travel Guide
- Everything you need to know before visiting Yangshuo -
Since 1980, the Yangshuo is one of the main tourist cities of China. First, it was a host for backpackers but in 1990, organized tours started to bring tourists to this scenic area. From 2005, international tourists started to visit this town and now, Yangshuo is host to domestic and international tourism.
The West Street, which is the most popular tourist area of the town, has 1400 years of history. As a huge number tourists visit this street annually, the signs in the West
Street are written in English and Chinese. Interestingly, many locals have the basic knowledge of English language, which is rare among Chinese towns.
Local Name 阳朔 - Yáng shuò
Population (2017) 300,000
Time Zone UTC+8 (China Standard)
Area Code 0773
Why Visiting Yangshuo?
Yangshuo is popular for its karst scenery, beautiful mountains, rivers, caves, and temples as well as fantastic bars and restaurants. In comparison to other tourist spots in China, Yangshuo is a small city without so much pollution, noise, and traffic.
The tourist area of the town is like a ladder. Two main cities of the town are located in parallel up from the river and end at one of the larger streets of the town.
There are two tourist streets in Yangshuo. West Street is located on the west side of the river and known as the most traditional tourist spot in the town. The other main street in the town is known as Diecuilu.
You can find a small creek running down the center of the ladder with numerous restaurants and bars located on the balconies around the creek.
At the foot of the ladder, you can find many large numbers of shops selling tourist stuff. You can also find many amazing hotels in this section
Along the top of the ladder, you can find Pantao Rd street in which, there are many hotels and restaurants. The main bus station of the town is located at the intersection of the Main Street and Die Cui Lu. This section has a fantastic nightlife and you can find many restaurants and bars here. Most of these places do not offer English menus.
What to See in Yangshuo
Karst landscape is one of the main features of Yangshuo. The city has thousands of limestone hills, which form countless attractions such as Yulong River, Li River, Nine Horses Fresco Hill, and Silver Cave. There are many ways to explore Karst areas such as bamboo rafting, cruise, cycling, and hiking.
This stretch is located along the Li River known as one of the most popular scenic section of the town. Plastic pipe bamboos with two-stroke motors have replaced the traditional ones. They are safe and operators usually offer life jackets on the journey.
How to get to?
Take a river cruise from Yangshuo (direct route). Also, you can take a minibus to reach the Yangdi (90 minutes costing 8 CNY) or get to Xingping (45 minutes costing 5.5 CNY) from the Yangshuo bus terminal. Besides, you can bike and then take boats or rafts to reach the scenic area.
It’s another fantastic scratch of the river, which is not so much different from Yangdi-Xingping in terms of beauty. You can enjoy rafting and biking in this scenic area. Exploring many farming areas and villages in this area and stone bridges across the river such as Yulong Qiao and Fuli Qiao is highly recommended.
How to get to?
You should go along the west into a small road from the main Yangshuo pathway in the south of the Sinopec petrol station at the place where it meets the Pantao Rd. On the road, you can find road signs in Chinese. Also, you can use the road to Jinbao from Baisha town located 9 km at the north of Yangshuo on the main road to Guilin. There are minibuses from the Yangshuo bus terminal to Jinbao that get you to the near of Yulong village.
Moon Hill is another attraction of Yangshuo in which, you can find a huge hole in the shape of the moon. If you want to have a fantastic view from the top, you can pay for a 10 CNY ticket and climb the hill.
There is a cafe at the base of the hill with unreasonably expensive prices. There are other alternative cafes and restaurants nearby with less prices. Also, there are hawkers around the hill selling cold drinks at expensive prices of course! For instance, a bottle of cold water costs about 5 CNY; however, the hawkers try to double or triple the price.
On the way back to Yangshuo, you can find the Big Banyan Tree area and you need to pay 20 CNY for entrance. Make sure to use the official entrance as hawkers try to lead you to another entrance where there are many souvenir stalls.
How to get to?
Gaotian minibus in the Yangshuo bus terminal can help you to reach the area. Also, if you are biking, you will need to bike about 8 km in the south direction of Yangshuo on the road to Wuzhou.
The name of the cave refers to the shape of a dragon in the grotesque peaks outside the cave among the clouds. Inside the cave, you can find different beautiful formations of stalactites and stalagmites. These formations are lit by colorful neon lights with sweet music making it like a fairyland. Located next to the exit of the Assembling Dragon Cave, The Magical Stone Palace is an exhibition of various stones, which should not be missed.
How to get to?
It is located between the Big Banyan Tree and the Moon Hill in the south of Yangshuo.
Best Time to Visit Yangshuo
There are long rainy seasons in Yangshuo from March to August. The best time for you would be just before and after the rainy seasons.
Spring10° C - 25° C
SummerOver 25° C
Fall10° C - 20° C
WinterBelow Zero - 10° C
Things to do in Yangshuo
Explore the Town
There are several Zhuang ethnic villages around the town in which, you can see traditional life and local customs. As a nature lover, you may find it interesting to take a hike or go cycling in the countryside. Also, you can find electric bikes, which are more popular than simple ones.
Learn about local life
While exploring the town, you can enter the local farms and even help to do some farm works. Also, locals may invite you to get in the tractor and enjoy the view of the farm.
Fishing by cormorant or osprey is one of the famous activities of the town and you can experience it as well
Visiting People’s Park
You can see locals gather to play, dance, sing, etc. in the people’s park of Yangshuo.
Over 300 routs are available on limestone karsts surrounding the town with different ranges of difficulty for any level of proficiency. You can also buy Yangshuo Climbing Guide From different climbing companies in the town.
Biking is one of the most enjoyable experiences in Yangshuo. You can rent a car from 20-25 CNY per day depending on the type of bicycle. You can also find tandems with a bit higher price. Note that all bikes are not in a good condition; therefore, it’s better to check them out. Besides, the maps of the area can be bought from the places you rent the bike. Also, you can hire a guide with 100 Yuan as well.
If you want to find a more reliable bike, you can go to stores renting climbing bikes with a map, lock, helmet, and advice on routes costing about 70 CNY.
Exploring the Caves
Limestone hills around the town contain countless caves. There are climbing stores that can help you with climbing means and cave routs.
Swimming in the Li River
During the summer, you can even swim in the Li River. There are good spots in the river suitable for swimming. For instance, you can swim from wharfs on the Li Jiang (Li River) a short way upstream of the town center in a clean and crystal water. Also, if you walk 20 minutes toward the north from the wharf, you will find a famous swimming spot known as “the secret beach”. At the time of swimming, you may face strong currents and you should be aware of them especially if you are not a good swimmer. The Yulong River is also recommended for swimming with amazing swimming spots, especially near the Dragon Bridge.
Bamboo Rafting is highly popular during the summer in the Li River and Yulong River; however, if the water was turbulent, it’s better to avoid rafting as there was a death in high floods in 2005.
There are two famous water caves near Yangshuo. One of them is called “The Moon Water Cave” located 2 km from the west of GaoTian town, but the office for buying tickets is 2 km from the north-east of GaoTian town, on the route to another cave called “Water Cave”. Both caves claim to have hot spring baths; however, it seems that Moon Water Cave uses artificial heating. The ticket price for hot springs is about 90 Yuan.
Where to Stay in Yangshuo
There is numerous hotels and hostels in Yangshuo and you will have no problem finding a suitable room depending on your needs and budget. The prices start from about 40 CNY and it increases depending on the type of accommodation and the location.
How to Get to Yangshuo
The nearest airport to Yangshuo is Guilin Liangjiang International Airport, which has several flights in a day from Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. The airport offers shuttles operating non-stop from Guilin to Yangshuo and you can buy its 50-CNY ticket close to the arrival exit. The buses depart at 09:30, 11:00, 12:30, 14:00, 15:30, 16:30, 18:00, 20:00 and 22:30. Their destination is Yangshuo’s northern bus station. All other transportation ways starts from Guilin airport.
There is another way to reach the Yangshuo from Guilin Airport, which is taking a taxi. The taxi drivers actually do not know much about the Yangshuo and they usually know just the bus station. The taxi from the Guilin airport to Yangshuo costs from 260-400 CNY depending on the type of vehicle.
Like airport, there is not any train station in Yangshuo. The nearest station is in Guilin, which has the route from Shenzhen near the border of Hong Kong. After arriving in Guilin, you have two options to reach Yangshuo.
The first option is taking a minibus departing from the square in front of the Guilin railway station. The price would be 18 CNY and it takes about 1.5 hours to reach the town. However, these buses are not reliable as they have many stops to gather many other passengers in the way.
The best way to reach the town from Guilin Railway Station is to leave the station and walk toward the north for about 300 m to reach the main bus terminal of Guilin. Here, you can buy 15 CNY tickets and have a much safer journey for about 1 hour to Yangshuo.
There two bus services, which are related to government and private sections.
The private minibus, as mentioned above, will depart from the square in front of the Guilin Railway Station and they will not satisfy you as they have many delays and stops to pick up more passengers. They will also try to sell more expensive tickets (more than 18 CNY).
The government offers express buses departing every 20 minutes from Guilin Bus Terminal. The journey takes about 1.5 hours and you should pay 22 CNY to buy tickets from the counter inside the terminal.
Taking a boat from Guilin will cost about 400 CNY. It’s expensive but you can enjoy the landscapes and scenery. Also, you can pay 100 CNY if you join the tour groups.
It’s recommended to ask your agency or hotel to help you to choose the best boat as they can have very different qualities. It’s better to ask them to send you a picture so that you will be sure to choose the best one.
Note: All the Trip Ways Tours use boat to take you from Guilin to Yangshuo. The price is also included in the package.
In Town Transportation
As mentioned, you can rent a bike from 20-50 CNY depending on the quality of the bicycle. Without any doubt, 50-Yuan bikes are much better than the cheapest ones. However, you should check whether gears and other parts of the bike are working well or not before paying the money to make sure you will have no problem with the bike. At the time of biking, be aware of robbers on the motorbike who try to snatch your camera, handbag, etc.
There are motorbikes for renting in the same place you rent a bike; however, it’s illegal to drive a petrol-driving vehicle without a Chinese license with the exception of electric scooters.
There are a few numbers of taxis in Yangshuo in comparison with other parts of China and they are unreasonably expensive. Drivers often offer 25-30 CNY for even the shortest routes but if you bargain before getting off, you can reduce it even to 10 CNY. Also, some hotels offer shuttles, which is a good idea to use them instead of city taxis and vehicles.
There are many boat routes in the town and the prices vary depending on the type of boat and the journey.
You may be shocked but the town is small enough for you to just trust on your feet and walk around the Yangshuo. If you decide to walk around the area, make sure to have a map in order not to get lost. You can find comprehensive maps in tourist shops inside the city.
There is a Minibus network with 5 routes in the town covering almost all parts of the town costing 1 CNY.
Most hotels and hostels offer tour guides for tourists. Having a guide is very helpful for you to have a memorable trip. You can also find the guides in ‘Expat Services’ in Chenzhong Rd, next to 7th Heaven.
Besides, you can find your own guide. Make sure to find the guides who are licensed as the other guides might try to scam you and earn money from the tourists.
Although guides are very helpful, they may not that much good at the time of shopping. Like many other places, guides will have commissions from the shops to bring customers. These shops usually increase the price in order to pay the guide commission. If you want to save some money, go shopping without guides and bargain extremely because it works. It really works!
Flight to Yangshuo (Guilin)
Food & Drink
You will have no problem in finding suitable restaurants in Yangshuo. The prices in Yangshuo is higher than other places in China, especially near West Street, which is a popular destination of the city. However, if you search other areas of the town, you can find affordable prices for foods and restaurants but you cannot expect English menus!
Grapefruit or Pomelos
They are harvested locally and you can buy them at 1-2 CNY. Ask the vendor to give you the best one
It’s something that all tourists should try. The price of fish is determined per jin, which is about 500 g. the large fish would cost about 100 CNY.
You can find a Chinese Muslim restaurant in front of the entrance to the Yangshuo bus station. You can find the restaurants easily as the women staff wear headscarves. The restaurant offers various halal noodles and rice dishes.
Western and Indian food
Among western and Indian restaurants and cafes, these items are notable:
- The Alley Yangshuo Beer Bar & Restaurant (best for steaks, pizza, burgers, and drinks)
- Balcony Bar (Best for French food and crepe)
- Minority Cafe (Best for the burrito and the chocolate and banana pancake)
- Cafe China (Best for coffee, cheesecake, and good chocolate milkshake)
- Dosa U.K. (Best for south Indian food)
- Indian Restaurant (Best for its great Indian food)
- Kelly’s Cafe (Best for its Great service and food, cheap beer, and great milkshakes)
- MC Blues (Best for cocktails)
- Valentine ( Best for great desert and best chocolate cake)
Among Chinese restaurants, these items are notable:
- Yangshuo Ren (Best for beer fish and other hot pots)
- Beifang Jiaozi Gua (Best for North-East Chinese cuisine)
- Sichuan Restaurant (Best for its Sichuan Cuisine)
- Dynasty Dumplings (Best for its Northern Chinese Food)
There are Chinese tea shops in the town offering amazing 10-years-old and 15-years-old teas; however, they are too expensive. If any locals invited you to have some tea, refuse it as it can be a huge scam!
The nightlife exists in Yangshuo and there are many clubs along West Street. Besides, you can find many other night clubs near the bus-terminal opening until 05:00 or 06:00. Usually, there is not any entrance fee.
- Monkey Jane’s Rooftop Bar
- Cafe le Votre
- Mono Roof-top Bar
- The Brew Yangshuo
- The London Tavern – Bar & Restaurant
- Rusty Bolt
Shopping in Yangshuo
On West Street and Pantao, you can find many banks such as Bank of China, Agricultural Bank, ICBC, China Postal Bank, etc. Some banks have ATMs; however, all of them don’t support foreign currencies.
You can buy many tourist stuff such as these items in Yangshuo:
- Pashmina scarves
- Silk products such as ties, kimonos, scarves, dresses, etc.
- Stone carvings
- Scroll paintings and fans
- Embroidered clothes
These items may seem really tempting as they are fantastic and beautiful; however, note that you can buy the same products from other cities in China with a noticeably less price. If you decide to buy those expensive products, don’t forget bargaining and try to compare the prices with other cities in the country.
There are also some other goods in Yangshuo, which you cannot find anywhere else easily. These items are:
- Postcards and picture books of the town
- Paintings of the local Karst landscapes
- T-shirts with different slogans written by Chinese characters
- Silver and embroidery pieces by minorities of the town.
The city is usually safe; however, there are some pickpockets in the city especially in crowded areas. If anyone invited you to go somewhere, you should undoubtedly refuse it.