Yangshuo (阳朔; Yáng shuò) is a small town (by Chinese standards) surrounded by karst mountains and beautiful scenery near Guilin. It has been a popular backpacker destination since the 1980s and the surrounding area has excellent rock climbing opportunities which attract another large group of tourists, As a result, it has seen much development and now gets many tour groups, mostly but by no means all Chinese. There is also a community of resident foreigners.
Yangshuo Town is the county seat for Yangshuo County; county population is about 300,000 with most of them in the town. This article concentrates on the town but also covers some expeditions into the countryside. There is a county website, but as of September 2016 it is in Chinese only.
Yangshuo is popular for its incredible karst scenery, beautiful mountains, rivers, caves, and temples as well as its laid back cafes and bars. However, as a result, there is no shortage of mainland Chinese tourists, expats and other foreigners.
Yangshuo is not a typical Chinese town and does not have the big-city feel of other Chinese cities. That means it is relatively air and noise pollution free, (provided you get away from major roadways), is very clean (by Chinese standards) and does not usually suffer from endless massive traffic chaos. It is much more like a vacation town, with wonderful restaurants and shops and again quite developed by mainland Chinese standards. It is also a nice place to stop and explore the local countryside by bike or even try your hand on the world class rock-climbing sites.
Yangshuo has a reputation as a foreigners' village in Southern China and is a major stop for many independent travellers. It is on the Hong Kong to Kunming overland route and the Chinese offshoot of the backpakers' Banana Pancake Trail through Southeast Asia.
The main tourist area of Yangshuo is laid out roughly like a ladder. The two main tourist streets run more-or-less parallel up from the river and end at one of the town's larger streets. There are assorted smaller streets (rungs) crossing between the two larger streets. The street (ladder vertical) on the left seen from the River is West Street (西街 Xijie) and is the older more established tourist street, the real centre of things. The other long tourist street is Diecuilu (畳翠路).
There is a small creek that runs down the centre of the ladder; some of the prettiest bars and restaurants in town are on balconies near it. The street there is called Guiha Lu. It has recently undergone heavy rebuilding and now has many new shops, bars and restaurants. Toward the river end, it curves to intersect Diecielu.
At the foot of the ladder by the river is an open area with a large number of vendors hawking all sorts of tourist stuff, both from shops and from handcarts. There are also a number of rather nice riverside hotels.
Across the top of the ladder is a major street (Pantao Rd) with many hotels. The town's main bus station is at the corner where that main street meets Die Cui Lu. The intersection has a large open area that becomes very busy at night, with dozens of restaurants and hundreds of diners. Do not expect English menus or non-Chinese dishes.
|Daily highs (°C)||13.6||13.8||17.8||23.5||28.3||31.1||33.3||33.3||31.8||27.3||21.3||16.5|
|Nightly lows (°C)||5.6||7.0||11.0||15.9||20.3||22.9||24.4||23.9||21.8||17.2||11.7||6.9|
The nearest airport is Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (airport code KWL) in Guilin, served by many Asian carriers with several daily flights from Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. It is generally cheaper to fly to Guilin from Shenzhen than from Hong Kong, just across the border as flights from Shenzhen are considered a domestic flight, whereas from Hong Kong is international. There is also a daily flight from Kuala Lumpur by Air Asia.
An airport shuttle operates non-stop between Guilin Aiport and Yangshuo taking around 90 minutes. Tickets can be purchased in Guilin airport close to the arrivals exit. Buses leave from outside the airport and travel to the Yangshuo northern bus station. There are departures from Guilin Airport at 09:30, 11:00, 12:30, 14:00, 15:30, 16:30, 18:00, 20:00 and 22:30. Tickets cost ¥50 per person.
An easy but comparatively costly way to get to Yangshuo is by taxi. It is far better to have your pick-up arranged by your hotel as waiting taxi drivers at Guilin will overcharge you and drivers generally do not know anything else in Yangshuo than the bus station where they will drop you off and you need to arrange transportation from there onwards. Expect to pay between ¥260-400 depending on the vehicle, and depending on whether you take the G65 Baomao highway (additional ¥30 for toll fees but saves about half an hour). Taking the highway is much faster, less bumpy and better for your blood pressure as you will not have to watch as your driver plays chicken with oncoming traffic while passing all the transport trucks moving at 40 km/h on the regular road.
Yangshuo has no train station, however there are train stations close by.
The nearest railway station with the most train service is in Guilin. A direct overnight train from Shenzhen (on the Hong Kong border) operates to Guilin (12 hours). Some hotels will arrange pick up from the train station. Minibuses to Yangshuo conveniently depart from the square in front of Guilin railway station (¥18, 80–90 minutes). These buses are untrustworthy, known to scam many tourists and take a long time to make the journey as they constantly stop to gather more passengers. The safest and more ideal method of getting to Yangshuo is to ignore the bus touts and turn north (left from the station) and walk the 300 m to the main bus terminal. Here buses are properly ticketed, safe and direct(¥15, 50–60 minutes).
GongCheng is a high speed railway station that opened in 2014. Now offering high speed trains to and from Guizhou, Guangdong and Shenzhen, it is become the most popular method of travelling to and from the Guangdong/Hong Kong region. Trains to and from Shenzhen now only take 3 hours. To travel from GongCheng Railway Station to Yangshuo, take the public bus to the GongCheng Bus Station (10 minutes) and the bus to Yangshuo (40 minutes).
XingPing has a high speed railway station and also operates trains to and from Guangdong.
From Guilin, there are frequent minibuses and express buses to Yangshuo. There are two services, private and government run.
Private buses depart from the square in front of the Guilin Railway Station (80–90 minutes, ¥18, buy tickets on the bus once it is underway. Invariably touts will try to sell you a more expensive ticket before the bus departs, even coming onto the bus. The best approach is simply to ignore them. Be aware that if the bus is not full enough to the driver's liking, they will delay in order to get more passengers. This bus will stop to let on and take on passengers en route.
The government run service are express buses that depart every twenty minutes from the Guilin Bus Terminal off Zhongshan Zhong Lu and take about 1½ hours (¥22, buy tickets from counter inside terminal).
- 1 North Bus station. The North Bus Station operates buses to and from north destinations such as Guilin, Guilin Airport and Yangdi. Service to Nanning also leave from here. From Nanning, there are 3 buses per day. The journey costs ¥120 and buses leave at 08:00, 10:00 and 12:30. Tickets can be bought inside the bus terminal.
- 2 South Bus station. The Sorth Bus Station operates buses to and from north destinations such as XingPing, GongCheng, JinBao and GaoTian (this service can be used to access southern tourist sites such as Moon Hill, Banyan Tree.
From Guangdong, overnight sleeper buses run direct to Yangshuo from Shenzhen (near Hong Kong), from Zhuhai (near Macau), and from Guangzhou. These cost around ¥100-250 depending on which station in Shenzhen you want to depart from and how new of a bus you want to travel on. Some sleeping buses from Shenzhen are quite uncomfortable. The buses from the border in Shenzhen are the most expensive.
Buses from Guangdong really don't go to the bus station; they just let you off in town, a ten-minute walk from the main tourist area following the signs to West Street.
There are also boats that travel down the Li River from Guilin, slower and more expensive (¥400+) than buses, but a very scenic journey. You may be able to travel for about ¥100 by joining a tour group. You will pass some of China's most famous scenic views, including a mountain view that can be seen on all ¥20 bills. Do check with your travel agent or hotel which boat you will be on as standards can vary a lot. Ask for a picture to be sure it is what you had in mind. Do not go with the CITS travel agents that approach you just when you get off the train and will either overcharge or sell you devalued trips in their office inside the train station.
In the winter time, which is the dry season, the boats often only travel starting halfway down the Li River from Guilin. A tour company should inform you of this. It is still worth taking the journey. You will then travel part of the way by bus or private taxi, then join the boat where the water is deep enough (this may vary).
In case you do not come on a Li River cruise, numerous boat trips on motorized rafts can be booked anywhere in Yangshuo. It is also very nice to hike the most scenic part between Yangdi and Xing Ping.
Renting a bike and taking off into the countryside, with or without a guide, is one popular strategy for exploring the area. There are several places around the main street catering for short-term rentals charging ¥20-50.
Most times you get what you paid for. Be sure to check brakes and gears before you set off so not to get your day spoiled by mechanical problems that could be avoided. Generally the SPX, Giant's and Hunter's are the brands to go for. Expect to pay ¥50 for a Trek-bicycle, the best ones to be found here. If you want to play it safe, some places will get you a helmet for extra.
Beware of robbers who operate on a motorbike and will try to snatch your camera, rucksack or handbag from the basket behind if you leave it open. Try to one that closes and lock it with your bike lock.
There are a number of motorbike rental options available throughout Yanghsuo. Generally they can be found at the same locations as bike rentals, particularly at the top of West Street. It is illegal to operate any petrol-driven vehicle without a Chinese license. Police seem to turn a blind eye to scooters, but may stop you if riding a motorbike. Electric scooters do not require a license and typically get around 40 km on a battery charge. Expect to pay around ¥100 for a day, petrol-driven vehicles often come with a empty tank. At least two guesthouses offer motorbike rent:
Taxis in Yangshuo are very few compared to other bigger cities, because they are limited by the government. They are more expensive than elsewhere in China, and they will all refuse to use the meter if they have any; thus you have to bargain and agree to a price before getting on. Taxi drivers will ask you ¥25-30 for a ride within the town (from 100 m to 3 km), but, after bargaining, you can easily achieve a price of ¥10 for that distance.
There are numerous open air three wheel style taxis and motorbike taxis. Agree to a price before getting on and bargain hard. If you are staying outside of the main town, try to arrange transport in advance if you want to avoid haggling or being ripped off. Some hotels offer free or low-price shuttle services, and it is often a good ideal to take advantage of these services. For a trip about 5 km outside of town the various taxis (normal, three wheel, motorbike) will ask at least ¥35, but the final price can be lower after bargaining.
By motorbike taxi
On many street corners there are men waiting on their motorbike. They will take you anywhere in town for a fee of ¥8-15 within town.
Yangshuo is a small place, the town can easily be covered on foot. There is an electric minibus network consisting five routes covering most parts of town. ¥1 per ride.
If you are planning on walking around the many streets and caves around Yangshuo, a map is recommended. Artistic tourist maps are available for sale for around ¥5-10 at tourist shops all over town, but the free maps are better for finding your way.
For those who want to wander a little further afield, or to check the attractions in the area, there are several options.
There are boat tours up or down the river.
Local buses serve some locations. From Yangshuo's bus terminal, minibuses (xiao mian bao, litt. little bread loaves) go to Gaotian (for Yueliang Shan/Moon Hill), Jinbao via Baisha (for Yulong Qiao/Dragon Bridge), Shazhi (for Fuli village), Xingping (for the Xingping-Yangdi scenic area) and further afield.
Climbers should look for the Gaotian minivan at the end of the row which leaves every 15 minutes - tell driver 'Banyan Tree' or 'Moon Hill' and they will stop for you. Get on bigger blue bus to Puyi (two buses down from Gaotian van) which leaves every half-hour for The Egg and White Mountain. The driver will know where to stop, don't sweat it. These rides are ¥3 each way, pay when getting off or when the girl comes around, and please have small bills or exact change. After climbing just go back to where you got dropped off and you'll be picked up shortly. Last returning bus picks up Egg climbers at 18:30.
It is possible to hire private cars for others.
Most hostels or hotels can arrange transportation and a guide if you want one. A guide may be very helpful for things like cycling tours. Guides can also be found at 'Expat Services' on Chenzhong Rd, next to 7th Heaven.
Alternately, you can choose your own tourist guide by working out a deal with one of the many who will accost you on the street. Some local guides are simply savvy street wise individuals trying to make some money, whilst others are registered and take government examinations. Expect to pay around ¥100 a person per day. Whilst some of the unlicensed guides can be very good at what they do, be careful that you are not simply being taken on a 'shopping' tour where you feel pressured into spending money you do not wish to.
If you want to go and see a larger region or even start a tour to the rest of the province or the neighboring provinces, you can get in touch with one of the local foreigner-run travel services. They can give you good advice or organize an authentic-orientated private tour for you with your own car and driver and experienced tour guide.
As elsewhere in Asia, many shops pay commissions to guides who bring in customers, such shops are usually overpriced, and some guides will take you only to those places. To get good prices, go shopping without a guide and be prepared to bargain hard. See the #Buy section below for more information.
The area around Yangshuo is renowned throughout China, if not the whole world, (even making it into the backdrop of Star Wars Episode 3), for its karst landscape where there are hundreds upon hundreds of limestone hills dotting the countryside. The beautiful scenery here is a common subject of Chinese paintings and the inspiration for poetry. There are several popular areas for karst landscape sight-seeing which can be covered by river cruises, bamboo-raft cruises, cycling, trekking and combinations of the various modes.
- Yangdi-Xingping scenic area (catch a direct river cruise from Yangshuo or get to Yangdi (90 min, ¥8) and Xingping (45 min, ¥5.5) by minibus from Yangshuo bus terminal, or cycle out there and then take boats or rafts to reach the scenic area). This stretch along the Li River is probably the most renowned and popular. The traditional bamboo rafts along this stretch have been replaced by rafts made of plastic pipe with two stroke motors. The "raft experience" is now a boom industry and hundreds of these small rafts cruise this route when the big tour boats have passed. The rafts are safe and the better operators provide life jackets. There is also a 24 km (5 to 6 hours) track for easy hiking along the Li river.
- Yulong River valley (turn west into a small road from the main Yangshuo bypass road just south of the Sinopec petrol station at the junction of Pantao Rd (there are road signs in Chinese). Or, use the road to Jinbao from Baisha town 9 km north of Yangshuo on the main road to Guilin. Minibuses from Yangshuo bus terminal to Jinbao go near Yulong village). The pretty valley is said to rival the Yangdi-Xingping stretch in terms of beauty. Besides rafting down the river on bamboo rafts, another popular way of seeing the valley is by cycling along riverside tracks. The journey will bring you through many farming villages and past several stone bridges across the river such as the Yulong Qiao and Fuli Qiao. Be warned though that the track is complicated and it is easy to get lost; using a local guide will ensure you stay on track.
- Moon Hill (take a Gaotian minibus Yangshuo bus terminal; if you plan to cycle, Moon Hill is about 8 km south of Yangshuo on the road to Wuzhou). Another popular scenic spot south of town. The main attraction is a hill with a huge hole in the shape of a moon. The hills here can be climbed for spectacular vistas from the top. There is a ¥15 entry fee. (There is also another dirt trail to the right of the entrance; follow it left, hop over the barbed wire and follow the stone steps up to reach the main path for free.) It is not an incredibly long trek to the top but the gradient and strange angle of the steps can do something strange to your legs on the way down. The Moon Hill Cafe at the base of the hill sells fairly mediocre food at ridiculously high prices, and you may need something after the trek up and down. Alternatively there are a few other places to choose from in nearby Moon Hill Village, and plenty of hawkers selling cool drinks. If it is a slow day, don't be surprised if a hawker follows you up the mountain to make a sale when you are thirsty. The hawkers are mostly harmless old farm women, but they are aggressive. ¥5 is a fair price for two bottles of cold water. They will try to sell it for triple that price. On the road back to Yangshuo, not far from Moon Hill, is the 'Big Banyan Tree' scenic area. A ¥20 entry fee gets you into this popular park by the Yulong river, featuring a 1,400-year-old banyan tree. Be sure to use the official entrance (ticket offices at the front), as hawkers will attempt to lure you into an alternative entrance that is lined with dozens of souvenir stalls.
- Assembling Dragon Cave (6 km south of Yangshuo. It is in between the Big Banyan Tree and the Moon Hill). The Karst cave was so named because the grotesque peaks outside the cave look like dragons among the clouds. Inside the Assembling Dragon Cave are beautiful sculptures of nature in the form of varied formations of stalactites and stalagmites. These formations are lit by colorful neon lights, together with sweet music in the background, making one feels like he/she is in the fairyland! The Magical Stone Palace is next to the exit of the Assembling Dragon Cave. The Magical Stone Palace is a big exhibition hall selling many kinds of stones to tourists.
- Cormorant Fishing. Local tourism companies offer evening boat trips to watch fisherman using a traditional night fishing technique that employs cormorants.
- People's Park (人民公园) (just opposite the bus station). A great place to observe the locals playing cards, a national pastime so it would seem. You’ll also see groups of women sitting around talking whilst doing their knitting, some even walk along the street whilst knitting and chatting.
- West Street (西街).
- Big Banyan Tree (大榕树).
- Green Lotus Peak.
- Sanjie Liu Above-Water Park (刘三姐水上公园).
- Shutong Hill.
- Fishing Village (渔村).
- Yangshuo Cultural Relic Landscape Garden (阳朔文物景观花园).
- Yuzi Paradise.
Yangshuo has over 300 climbing routes ranging in difficulty from 5.6 to 5.13. There is a lively climbing scene in town, so experienced climbers will have no problem finding a partner, just ask in the climbing places and they should know other climbing travelers you can hook up with. The Climbers Inn is most common place to find beta or partners. For beginners and climbers traveling without their own equipment several climbing companies offer equipment rental, one/multi-day trips and places to hang out chatting about potential routes or to find a partner. The Yangshuo Climbing Guide, a guidebook showing route topos, grades, etc., can be purchased from any of the climbing companies. Climbing shops in Yangshuo:
- Blackrock, on Guihua Rd, ☎ . Claim focus on quality instructions, bilingual guides and safety. Offer other activities such as abseiling, kayaking and ziplining.
- 1 Insight Adventures (芙蓉路12号), Xian Qian Jie (off West Street), ☎ . Insight Adventures are the largest operator in Yangshuo and offer climbing and many other activities such as kayaking, caving, biking and abseiling. They are the most expensive outfit in town and offer a large staff of foreign and Chinese guides.
- Karst Climber, #21 Chengbei Road, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Beginner classes and guided climbs.
- Spiderman, on Xianqian Road, the first cross street off West Street as you come up from the river (marked with a conspicuous sign).
- Sunny Sky, (marked with a conspicuous sign), on Diecui Rd, e-mail: email@example.com. Has English speaking guides.
- Terratribes, on Fu Qian Road (府前巷12号), ☎ . They also do multi-day camping, biking tours, rafting, caving, etc., for school/family/corporate groups. Stop by after dinner for a slack-lining session.
- Yangshuo Basecamp, Fenglou Village (凤楼村) (just before Moon Hill), ☎ . A relatively new family-run organization based in a beautiful village. Afa and his brothers provide friendly instructions with a strong emphasis on safety. Other activities include rock climbing, ziplining, abseiling, camping and BBQ.
Other outdoor activities
- Bike riding. Wandering through the countryside on a bike and getting lost is one of the best things about Yangshuo. The villages often have dramatic mountain backdrops, and the people are generally friendly. Another popular trip is to take a boat ride with a bike, then bicycle back to town. Bike hire starts at around ¥15-20 per day, and tandems are a bit more. The bikes tend to be poorly maintained, so be sure to check brakes and gears before you set out. For travelers craving reliability, Bike Asia (22 Guihua Rd, across from Bar 98 and next to Kelly's Cafe) has well-maintained specialized mountain bikes for ¥70 a day, including a map, lock, helmet and advice on routes. Bike Asia also has good bike maps of the area, and can advise on where to cycle and help out with a reliable guide. Find an farmer woman for ¥100 per day to give you a guided tour of the local paths. This may include lunch at her place if you're lucky. From ¥10 per day.
- Yangdi - Xingping. As of Aug 2013, this 18-24 km walk can be done both ways and it is a far more peaceful way to enjoy the Li river and mountain scenery than a loud noisy boat down the river. It takes you along the pebbly shores of the river, through many small villages, fields and bamboo forests. You will have to take three bamboo raft across the river at about ¥10-30 each after bargaining. Just tell someone you want to go "walking". In the direction of Xingping the first ferry crossing can be difficult to negotiate as it appears to not be entirely legal. The other ferries however are not an issue. If you get tired during the walk, you can always rent a bamboo raft to float down the river; don't worry about availability - you will be turning down offers of 'Bamboo? Bamboo?' the whole way. There are plenty of people selling food and drinks along the way, ranging from single sellers to sit-down cafes. One can then take a bamboo raft back to the start ¥300-500 one way.
- Swimming in the Li River. During the summer, the water and temperature is good for swimming. Locals swim from the docks on the Li Jiang (Li River) a short way upstream of the town centre. The water is generally clean and crystal clear but you may want to avoid a main waste drain near to the dock. Keep walking up to the north from the dock for around 20 minutes to find out a popular swimming spot, nicknamed "the secret beach". Pay extra attention on strong currents which can be experienced in many parts of the river, especially if you are not good enough at swimming. Also tour boats that travel the Li Jiang coming from Guilin are a hazard, but usually the time before 12:00 and after 15:00 is tour boat free. The Yulong River is also good for swimming, offering some quality swimming spots, e.g. near dragon bridge, although some parts of the river are crowded with bamboo rafts.
- Bamboo Rafting. Rafting along the Yulong river is particularly popular in summer, but travellers should take care not to go rafting if the water is brown and turbulent. In 2005 there was a fatality during high floods.
- Hot air ballooning. After a fatal accident with a Dutch family aboard, hot air ballooning trips are no longer available.
- Exploring caves. There are an abundance of caves riddling the limestone hills. Guided tours are available. More serious cavers should talk to the staff at the various climbing shops (listed above) for information about possible cave climbs.
- Water caves. Make sure which water cave you are visiting since there are at least two of them about 15 km south of Yangshuo. The Moon Water Cave is 2 km west of GaoTian town, but the ticket office is 2 km north-east of GaoTian town, on the road to another cave called Water Cave. Both caves state on flyers that they have hot spring baths but the one in Moon Water Cave appears to be artificially heated (ticket price ¥90).
- Impression Liu Sanjie (印象·刘三姐 Yinxiang Liusanjie). Every day but closed in Jan or Feb for maintenance. 70 minutes long. The show, set to the music from the movie of the same name and produced by famous Chinese director Zhang Yimou, who was also behind the Beijing Olympic games opening ceremony, is grand and impressive, though perhaps not particularly entertaining. It features a cast of 600+ wearing traditional Zhuang, Miao and Yao dress, and a highly impressive light show. Liu Sanjie translates as Third sister Liu, the heroine of an old Chinese story. You can see the show cheaply from a boat on the river, or even from across the river, but by far the best view is from the official seating area. Tickets only sell out in the very height of the summer tourist season. Seats are assigned. ¥188 face value, travel agents sell at about ¥150 for the cheapest seat.
Yangshuo is an excellent place to learn martial arts in China especially the internal styles known as Tai Chi. This is the set of slow movements that you may have seen people performing in parks across China. It can be practiced for health or as a martial art and there are many schools in the area around Yangshuo. Each school has its own special qualities, but each will give you a really good foundation in the form no matter if you stay for a day or a year. Prices in Yangshuo tend to be much higher than those in the rest of China but even so you will find that you get value for money with all of the teachers here.
- Yangshuo Tai Chi and Kung Fu School, Shibanqiao Village, Yangshuo, 541900 (in the picturesque village of Shi Ban Qiao, a short walk along the Li River from Yangshuo), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Master Fu Neng Bin has won 17 gold medals in Tai Chi Chuan and was national push hands champion for five years. He is a 12th-generation successor of Chen family Tai Chi Chuan and preferred disciple of Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei. The school in Yangshuo has a team of English-speaking instructors and is the largest and best equipped in Yangshuo.
- Budizhen International Kung Fu, Tai Ji & Qi Gong School (at the top of West Street), ☎ , , e-mail: email@example.com. Budizhen teaches classes in Taichi, Qigong, Kungfu, Taekwondo, and other martial arts. Lesson: ¥40.
- Carpe Diem Tai Chi & Kung Fu School, Shi Ban Qiao village,35 (On the rooftop of Trippers Carpe Diem Countryside Hostel), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 08:00-23:00. Master Kim is the current president of the Guangxi Chen Style Tai Chi Union and a favorite with long-term foreign tai chi students in Yangshuo. Also teaches Shaolin Kung Fu to a high level. One of the few masters who speaks fluent English
- Green Lotus Kung Fu Classes (West Street).
- Long Tou Shan Martial Arts School (Chao Long village, 15 minutes bicycle from Yangshuo), e-mail: email@example.com. Tai Chi and Qigong classes in a beautiful spot in the countryside near the Yulong River.
- Taiji with Master Huang, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Sufi "Henry" Huang a deeply knowledgeable master deep into Taoist philosophy and able to teach all forms, from meditative Qi Gong through restorative Yang to the potentially deadly Quan. ¥100/hour.
- The People's Park Tai Chi Classes. 08:00 daily.
- Wang Zhi Ping Tai Chi Training Centre (behind the park on Baoquan Road). One-off lessons, weekly and monthly rates, plus professional training in various forms of Tai Chi
- Yanghsuo Cooking School, ☎ . Run by an Australian living in China. Single and multi-day classes in traditional Chinese cooking. 2 different menus depending on which day you go (morning/lunch or afternoon/dinner classes), and typical dishes include beer fish, stuffed pumpkin flowers, egg-wrapped dumplings and stir fried pork with vegetables and oyster sauce. A tour of the local market and hotel pick up is included.
- Cooking Classes @ Cloud 9 Restaurant, ☎ . Run by Linda Liang and William Lu.
- Chinese courses at Omeida Chinese Academy (Omeida Chinese Academy), No.49 Longyue Road, Yangshuo, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M–F 08:00-18:00; Sa Su 09:00-12:00, 14:00-17:00. Omeida is a Chinese school based in Yangshuo that provides a total-immersion program to foreigners interested in learning Chinese. The school provides the choice of 3 standard course types and a volunteer program: a comprehensive Chinese course that provides students with an all-encompassing approach to studying Chinese that accompanies all skill levels, an HSK prep course which prepares students for China’s standard Chinese fluency exam ( commonly a prerequisite companies operating in China), or a specialized Chinese course which provides students with 1-on-1 classes, flexibility to determine their own schedule, and the option of choosing specific areas of Chinese to base their curriculum. Volunteers can enroll in any of the above courses, and are not charged for room and board. Omeida's tuition also includes housing, meals, 1-on-1 tutoring, and invitation to all cultural activities. The school shares a very close proximity with its sister school (Omeida Language College) that teaches English to Chinese natives, so Chinese language students have daily opportunities (organized and unorganized) to practice and improve their Chinese.
- Chinese courses in Yangshuo with Janie - Private Mandarin lessons (free lesson offered on Skype or in Yangshuo!), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Study Chinese in Yangshuo. Intensive Immersion courses for people who want to seriously improve their Chinese. Chinese Language and Culture camp for people wishing to combine their exploration of the language (survival chinese lessons) and the culture (cultural activities in and around Yangshuo). Survival Chinese in case you wish to spend a few hours learning useful sentences and expressions and have supervised real-life practice with locals to become more confident. Whether you are new to Chinese or have studied before, the fun and customized courses will teach you to comprehend and speak Chinese, or improve your current skill level.
- Mandacentre, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Study Mandarin in small groups, with a private teacher or online. Specialized in long-term study programs through an efficient approach to achieve long-lasting results. Chinese and Western owners. Established in 2006.
- Yangshuo Cultural Centre, Guihua Lu #69 (Behind Famous West Street), ☎ . Study Mandarin or join a two-week Chinese Painting Holiday.
On West Street there is the Bank of China, Agricultural Bank and ICBC. On Pantao Lu there are a few others, including the China Postal Bank and another near the fresh food markets. Some banks do not have ATMs, and not all ATMs will handle foreign card transactions.
The fresh market displays cages full of dogs waiting for the slaughter. There are plenty of stalls out on the streets where you can buy lots of fruits.
There is a huge amount of touristy stuff available:
- Pashmina scarves (Cashmere by a different name).
- Silk products: ties, kimonos, scarves, dresses.
- Pottery, bronze, stone carvings, bracelets, and knickknacks of all sorts.
- Scroll paintings, fans and embroidered cloths.
Much of this stuff is lovely, really very tempting. However, quite a bit of it is fake and nearly all of it is available all over China and cheaper outside of Yangshuo.
Asking prices for such stuff in Yangshuo are usually seriously inflated. Here is a table based on one traveller's experience:
|Item||Asking price (¥)||Price paid(¥)|
|silk ties||18-20||75-120||50 for 3|
|small silk scarves||unknown||80-100||20|
Getting the prices shown took hard bargaining, often based on knowledge of prices elsewhere. Of course, even those may not be the best possible prices.
Many tourists, having no idea of the real Chinese price, are grossly overcharged. After all, even ¥120 (about $19 US) would be a great price for a nice pure silk tie back home.
Advice for tourists who have no idea what the Chinese price should be:
- Compare different offers first but don't haggle until you're ready to buy.
- Ignore the offered price and throw out the price you thought it is. You can usually get more price cut on clothing, silks and pottery, but don't expect much on ginger candy.
- Walk away if the vendor will not meet your price. They often follow after you with better prices. Note that some vendors may be unwilling to give you a fair price, and will not follow you even if you walk away.
If you plan to travel to other Chinese cities, you might want to do your purchases elsewhere. Apart from a few specific items, most of what you see in Yangshuo may be found anywhere, with much better chances of paying a fair price.
There are also a few things not usually available elsewhere:
- Postcards and picture books of the area, in stores or hawked by older women on the street.
- Chinese paintings of the local Karst scenery.
- Chinese characters with different slogans, such as "I have no money", or "Foreigner coming" on the front and "Foreigner going" on the back.
- Hard Rock Cafe T-shirts are common. There has never been a real Hard Rock Cafe (part of the chain) in Yangshuo, though at least two now defunct places used the name.
- Silver and embroidery pieces by local minorities.
- Prices for large pieces are high, but some pieces may be worth them.
- Small pieces, such as embroidered Zhuang minority love balls, are also available.
You should also bargain on these, of course.
Other interesting things
- Nature House, on Die Cui Lu about half a block from the river. Sells various rocks, some are interesting geological specimens while others are carved and/or painted. Fascinating.
- The Chopstick Shop, on West Street. Their factory is in Guilin and they sell wonderfully gift wrapped chopstick sets.
- Used Bookstore, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a used bookstore and reading room (with a large selection in English and some books in several other European languages) at Cafe Too at 7 Cheng Zhong Road. Prices are higher than at used bookstores in Western countries, but cheaper than new books. You can buy coffee, or a meal, and read them free. WiFi here is free and Philip, the owner, is a great source of local news and information. It is great for people living in China and missing Western books.
CDs and DVDs - Available at several stores on West Street or nearby. Nearly all such products in China are unauthorised copies, but many in Yangshuo look real. General quality, especially the packaging, is far better than the usual. Many come with booklets of lyrics or artist biography. Some have full-colour advertising printouts for the label's other offerings. Selection is also good, the English music is not all Backstreet Boys and the Carpenters. Prices are also higher, ¥15-25 versus ¥6-8 for the cheap copies all over China.
Yangshuo has a lot of restaurants but in this touristy place, prices tend to be more expensive. You can eat cheaply in the markets with the locals or you can try comfort food in many cafes.
- Grapefruit or Pomelos (sha tian you) - locally produced, they are very sweet and juicy and can be bought everywhere for ¥1-2. Ask the vendor to choose one with a small top and cut it up for you.
- Beer fish (pi jiu yu) - A local specialty, something most Chinese tourists try.
When you buy fish, the price on the menu is customarily quoted per 500g, called 斤 (jin). A larger fish may cost you well over ¥100. For 3-4 people, a fish with 2 jins (1 kg), along with 3-4 more other dishes, is usually enough.
There are more than one species of fish cooked with beer. Each with its own unique texture and taste. For example, MaoGu fish (毛骨鱼） has the least amount of bones.
The local cuisine can be spicy and contain MSG but you can request keeping them out. However, for a big fan of chillies, local dining place, including an Indian restaurant, tend to assume westerners can't take any real spicy food no matter how you insist it.
- Muslim Food. There is one Chinese Muslim restaurant directly facing the entrance to Yangshuo bus station. It can easily be identified by the headscarves worn by the women employees there. It serves a variety of halal noodle and rice dishes.
Western and Indian food
Many cafes in Yangshuo offer burgers, shepherd's pie, and a Western breakfast, however authentic western foods are still rare. The quality of Chinese foods in those western restaurants are hit or miss, sometimes regarded as "Chinese foods in a western style", a euphemism for weird tastes among local people. Prices in those places are also higher than average Chinese standard. ¥15-40 for a coffee, ¥40 for a pizza and ¥30 for a slice of cake is common. A general guideline is that the best Chinese restaurants do not serve Western food, the opposite counts too.
Most of the staff in these places speak reasonable English, a few excellent. Free WiFi is usually provided and several also have a computer terminal available.
- The Alley Yangshuo Beer Bar & Restaurant on Gui Hua Rd. Open at 17:00. Serves mostly steaks, pizza, burgers and drinks. The steaks are great and Pizza, starting from around ¥30, is among the most authentic you can find in China. Burgers are delicious and they come with fries and a complimentary Liquan beer for ¥28-50.
- Balcony Bar, Xianqian Jie. Fairly decent French food and crepe, movie every night at 21:00 and free internet.
- Minority Cafe, Guihua Lu (A few doors down from Backstreet Café which is run by the same people). Friendly staff and tasty food with decent size portions. The burrito and the chocolate and banana pancake are particularly good. Wireless internet and two computers available for customers. Regular expat hangout. western food around ¥25, Gin and tonic ¥10, Beer ¥6.
- Cafe China, on the corner of West Street and Xianqian Jie. Great coffee, great cheesecake, packed most nights, wireless internet, and good chocolate milkshake (though small). Brandy: ¥7.
- Cafe del Moon, West St (near center of West Street). Breakfast here is excellent value if you are hungry or want a lot of coffee. Ghastly croissants but the rest is good. all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet: ¥32.
- Cafe Too, 7 Cheng Zhong Rd. Has English books to read, buy or trade.
- Green Lotus, 100 West St (next to Youth Hostel). Expensive.
- Dosa U.K., 110D Yang Guang, ☎ . 11:00-14:30, 17:30-22:30. Excellent, authentic home made South Indian food in brand new spot. Attentive service and very good prices. Kind of a hole in the wall and the decor is a bit over the top. Menu is limited but has the South Indian basics and a very good crispy dosa. cheap.
- Indian Restaurant, Guihua Lu. Great Indian food. Indian owned.
- Lucy's Place, 5, Guihua Rd, ☎ . Serves a variety of Western and Chinese dishes, including excellent fries and great coffee. Their apple crumble (¥20) is a must-try. The owner and manager (Lucy) is a terrific resource for things to do and places to go in Yangshuo.
- Luna (（听月餐厅）), Moon Hill Village (On the rooftop of Yangshuo Village Inn), ☎ . 12:00-01:00. Italian restaurant designed by Yangshuo Mountain Retreat owner, Chris Barclay, Luna offers gorgeous views of Moon Hill and the surrounding village. They also serve gourmet Chinese dumplings and offer a full bar. There's no elevator so be prepared to walk up.
- 1 Kelly's Cafe, Guihua Lu. Great service and food, cheap beer. Foreigners living in Yangshuo often hang out here. Also offers free wireless Internet. The Kelly's Cafe on Guiha street is better than the one on the side street. They both have great milk shakes but their veggie burgers are not the best in town as claimed. Also, a nice view and an ample breakfast.
- MC Blues. Good cocktails, happy hour from 18:00-20:00, great music, wireless internet, 2nd floor lounge and open late.
- Nature's Cup, 15 Binjian Rd (Follow Li River north towards the school - across from the ping pong tables), ☎ . English speaking, Excellent breakfast with bottomless coffee at a good price. Great coffee! The pear and ginger juice and 'adult shake' with malibu were to die for. Best fresh drinks in Yangshuo.
- Red Star Express, Guihua Lu (Turnoffs from both West Street and Xianqian Jie are marked with a flag showing a Red Star.). Poor service and terrible Mexican food. Don't bother going here.
- Roof Garden (（屋顶花园餐厅）), Yangshuo Hidden Dragon Villa, Big Banyan Tree scenery zone (Rooftop of Yangshuo Hidden Dragon Villa nearby Yulong River), ☎ . 08:00-23:00. Rooftop of Yangshuo Hidden Dragon Villa in Big Banyan Tree scenery Zone nearby Yulong River. Overlooking the peaceful and beautiful mountains, Yulong River and rice paddies, the Roof Garden Restaurant divides into the open rooftop restaurant and enclose rooftop restaurant, each can accommodate 40 persons at the same time, 80 persons in total. The enclosed rooftop restaurant combines the Restaurant, Wine Bar and Tea Bar together.
- Soul Cafe, Guihua Lu (opposite Kelly's Cafe). A great coffee house.
- Twin Peaks Cafe, West St. Standard western fare. Slow service.
- Valentine, Guihua Lu (on the corner of Guiha Lu and the small bridge towards west street). French Chef Nicolas with a romantic atmosphere. Original first class fusion cuisine. Great desert and best chocolate cake of all the city. A good selection of tapas and cocktails.
Most Chinese restaurants outside of West Street don't have either an English menu or English-speaking staff, but prices are often better than on the Street.
The night market — Used to be located near the bus station, now head into the markets across the road or down to Gui Hua Lu. There is quite a variety of food, much of it at low prices (although still more expensive than elsewhere in China). They even serve dog, rat, oysters, mussels, rabbit, duck, shrimp, frog, the local mud snails and a variety of other surprising dishes! Make sure to haggle. Take very good care of your belongings—there are some very accomplished sneak thieves and pickpockets specializing in wallets, phones and passports.
Beer fish, carp or catfish cooked in beer sauce, is the most famous dish in Yangshuo. The price is quoted in Chinese jin (500g) and usually runs ¥20-50 per jin depending on the species of fish. Guilin Rice noodles, local white-color pasta made of rice, is breakfast and lunch dish that costs around ¥3-10.
- Clay Pot This is where all the climbers go for dinner. On Guihua Ln. Leaving Bar98 cross canal and turn right, pass many restaurants until street diverges away from canal. Earthware Pot (next to empty Clay Pot) is the packed place on the right. Simple menu, great food, cheap.
- Riverview Cafe - A restaurant with a panoramic view of the Li River.
- Cloud Nine — A popular Chinese place on West Street.
- Dumpling King Just off the walking street from the bus station. This cheap eatery states 'We may not be in lonely planet but we are good for you' ...It is not, it is awful.
- Julies Moon Hill View Chinese and western delicacies served in a peaceful environment, just by Moon Hill.
- Snow Lion A great place just outside of town. Eat on the terrace by the river. Well known for its Crispy Duck dishes with fresh plum sauce.
- Carpe Diem restaurant, Shi Ban Qiao, 37 (follow the river upstream (north) from West Street for about 1,5km). This charming restaurant with a great outside deck offers a fine selection of the local cuisine as well as a variety of international dishes in a quiet and relaxing setting with great views. Breakfasts, brunches, lunch and dining with generous portions. Weekly barbecue and Chinese buffet nights. Cozy bar with a nice selection of Belgian Beers and South-African wines. Belgian-Chinese management.
- Ganguoyu (干锅鱼) — A "dry pot" fish restaurant very popular with the locals. It is located beside the pond on Jiefang Lu (between the petrol station and the tunnel).
- Yangshuo Ren (阳朔人) — A Chinese restaurant very popular with the locals. It specializes in beer fish and other hot pots. It is on the market street between Sunshine 100 and the 99 supermarket.
- Beifang Jiaozi Guan (北方饺子馆) (Note: sign also reads in English "Dynasty of Dumplings") — This "northern dumplings" restaurant on Xianqian Jie near the intersection with Die Cui Lu and right around the corner from the Magnolia Hotel has fantastic North-East Chinese cuisine.
- Huang Jin Lian — This is a good restaurant on Diecui Rd (parallel to West St) serving the local delicacies. The local shrimp dish is interesting as you eat them whole so they have a bit of crunch. Be prepared to pay ¥1 for the provision of the shrink wrapped dish set and ¥1 for a bowl of rice. This restaurant is quite close to the market that runs along the river and service is friendly.
- Gan's Noodles (this noodles shop is located about a 20-minute walk from the main bus station, down the road toward Guilin, on the right). Specializing in handmade noodles, this tiny shop is an out of the way treasure most tourists will never visit. For ¥8 you get a great spicy beef noodle bowl. With a beer to wash it all down, this little 4 table shop had excellent service, while the servers don't know English, the menu has pictures and English names, and whatever you end up with will be amazing.
- Sichuan Restaurant A great Sichuan Restaurant on FuRong Rd. Maybe 100m along Die-cui lu travelling away from the water then right (big sign). The fish flavoured eggplant is great as are the fried green peppers (not on menu - just hope someone has them and point). Menu with English and pictures.
- Dynasty Dumplings (一品居), 21 Xian Qian Jie, 县前街21号 (Thirty metres off West Street), ☎ . Small restaurant offering authentic Northern Chinese food, run by a couple from Liaoning. Very popular with Western tourists, they have the usual Chinese-English bilingual menu with pictures, so ordering is not a problem. Try their dumplings (¥12-15 for a serving of twelve). ¥12-100.
There are Chinese tea shops where you can sample ‘ten year’ old tea, or even ’fifteen year’ old tea. It looks very black, but produces a very mild light looking and tasting tea, all served from miniature teapots into miniature teacups.
Many tea houses are ridiculously over priced. One of the most popular scams in China is the standard, "Do you speak English?, Do you have time? I was about to go get some tea, want to come with me?" and out goes hundreds of kuai. It is a scam; do not fall for it. They are not your friends.
Yangshuo has a boisterous nightlife along the West street but nightclubs are packed with shy and lumpy dancers. There are also several clubs located near the bus terminal, which sometimes stay open until 05:00 or 06:00 and other nights are shut by midnight. They often change the opening and closing hour from day to day so check it yourself.
Entrance fees are not common but on special occasions they may have minimum charge for each table. The cheapest beer often starts from ¥25.
As with Guilin, the local drink is Guilin Three-flower Wine, although most people prefer a 700 ml bottle of Liquan which is sold in between ¥8-10 in a bar catering for the Westerners. On the contrary, a bar or pub catering for Chinese tourists often charge at least ¥20 for a 350 ml bottle of beer. Many of the bars have ¥50 bottles of Jack and Coke.
- Monkey Jane's Rooftop Bar, alley off West Street. Opens in the afternoon and closes late, often 03:00-04:00. Monkey Jane's Rooftop Bar & Hostel is a nice and chill rooftop bar in a small alley of West Street. During the day it's great for chilling and enjoying the scenery with a nice view of the hills around Yangshuo. At night there's often parties with cheap beer and cocktails and things go crazy every now and then. There's a beer pong table and if you're lucky enough to beat Jane, you get a free T-shirt! Has beer pong tournaments every now and then. Happy Hour is from 6-9 with 2 cocktails for 30 kuai and shots for 20 kuai. They serve ice-cold Tsingtao, BeerLao, Heineken and Paulaner. Try their local Snake Baijiu ;) Tsingtao 15.
- 1 Cafe le Votre, West Street. Set back from the street with a courtyard in front, is a brew pub with its own beer. They have two brews, a wheat beer and a dark beer, both are rare finds in China. They also have French and Chinese food; quality is good and prices relatively high. Their courtyard is a great place for people-watching, but unfortunately it is also convenient for touts to find you.
- Kaya, 31 xianqian St (just off west street). A reggae bar, although with a larger range of music, recently moved from Guihua road to a new space on Xianqian St (with an open fire which is awesome in winter). Often has good live music (permanent open mic) and very laid back atmosphere. 10 kuai local beers, 15 kuai standard mixers as well as a wide range of cocktails and other drinks. Shisha 35 kuai. Nice chill-out area on the second floor. open later than most other bars, and often doesn't begin to fill up until after 10. Quiz nights on Tuesday nights often attract a good crowd.
- Mono Roof-top Bar, lianfeng lane #44 (Just off West St, opposite Cavalier Bar), ☎ , (mobile), e-mail: email@example.com. Open 20:00, Close late. Bar is on the fourth floor, with a small rooftop drinking area, great for getting away from the heat and crowds at street level. Fantastic views of the mountains that are lit up at night time. Ground floor is currently being renovated as an art gallery to display the owner's paintings. Free internet cafe for customers, 10 computers available. Bar has a fussball table, and roof-top area has a pool table. The owner and staff are very friendly, and speak good English. Large local beer ¥10, Spirits ¥15-30.
- The Brew Yangshuo (formerly The Alley - Yangshuo Beer Bar & Restaurant), Sunshine 100, E 110 B, ☎ . 17:00-late. Located right in the centre of Yangshuo's nightlife area in a pedestrian zone and is a great place for a few drinks and good western food (pizza and steaks are excellent), very nice music selection. This bar offers a great variety of imported beers (Duvel, Leffe, Stella and Erdinger), and plenty of cocktails as well as harder stuff (absinthe, single malts etc.) They have a foosball table and every Wednesday foosball competition. Great coffee, European football live, nice outside sitting area, good service, very good English . ¥10 for a local beer.
- The London Tavern - Bar & Restaurant, Guihua Rd. 16:00-late. The London Tavern is an authentic English pub right in the middle of Yangshuo. They sell London Pride and other beers on draught and carry a reasonably wide selection of bottled English ales. The manager is English and they sell the best British food in Yangshuo. A hangout for local expats who drop in for a taste of home and even a game of darts!
- Rusty Bolt, 22 Guihua Rd (Across from Bar 98 and next to Kelly's Cafe). As the sun sets, Bike Asia turns into the Rusty Bolt, a hangout for climbers and cyclists. An interesting mix of folks who have been in town for hours, months and years. Wednesday the bar hosts a card game night. Thursday is a dice game night (Farkle) starting at 20:30. Other bars on West Street often have very overpriced drinks and too-loud techno music; this place has neither offering more of a chilled lounge atmosphere.
There are many places to stay in Yangshuo from ¥40/night for a dorm room through US$100/night for a luxury bungalow. Hotel touts are to be found around the main bus station but best avoided. Prices are very negotiable in the off season, and the asking price will be many times lower than that advertised on signs in the hotel lobby. Don't be afraid to negotiate. Know the name of your hotel in Chinese, and best also the name of the location in Chinese, e.g. name of the street. It will be helpful for non-Mandarin speakers, bear in mind even local Chinese may get the name wrong due to the sound in pronunciation, a writing is better than thousand words.
Any place within a block of West Street will likely be very loud, as apparently every bar on West Street turns up their sound systems to the max until 02:00.
- Climbers Inn, 21 Guihua Rd (in little alley right across from Insight (50 feet from Spiderman)), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A cheap room this close to Clay Pot and Bar98 is hard to pass up.
- Double Moon Hotel, 16 Xian Qian St. Offers private rooms with hot showers for reasonable prices in off season. Decent, clean rooms with TV and double bed, helpful staff. There are also several other good budget options surrounding this hotel. From ¥40, but you need to negotiate.
- Flowers Youth Hostel, 90 Pantao Rd (2 minutes from bus station, opposite Yangshuo Park), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Probably the busiest hostel in the off season. Internet, free wifi, bike rental and laundry service. Dorm ¥40 (members ¥35), twin ¥100-120, single/double ¥60-90. Free breakfast with twin, single and double rooms.
- Lisa's Cafe, West St. The original hostel in town, and one with a lot of character, though these days looks a little dilapidated. Dorm beds from ¥25.
- 1 Monkey Jane's Hotel & Rooftop Bar, off West St (near the river end, well signed). Reliable service and friendly English-speaking staff. Best place to meet other backpackers. By day the Rooftop Bar becomes the hostel common area, by night it is a party with the cheapest beer in town during happy hour. Huge flatscreen TV with 500 DVDs, free WI-FI.
- Moon Resort, Moon Hill village (in front of the mountain, take the GaoTian bus from Yanshuo station 8 km/15 minutes to Moon Hill Village (¥2.50)), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Great value with good local and Western food, friendly and helpful staff, and a pleasant location with great views of the local karst scenery. Close to the Moon Hill, Big Banyan tree, the Yulong river, and several caves. ¥ 150.
- Peace Family Holiday Hotel, No.12 Deicui Rd, ☎ , fax: . dorms starting from ¥ 20.
- Riverside Lodge, Government Front Rd (not far from the river, north from West St), ☎ . The tallest building in Yangshuo with a nice view over the whole city from the rooftop terrace. Slightly hard to find at first, but in a very peaceful area between the police station and the town government office, with only two or three minutes walk to the busiest streets. English-speaking boss who lets you use the kitchen and can reserve cheaper tickets for you to all tourist destinations. Clean and renovated rooms with air conditioning, bike rental is also possible without deposit. ¥70.
- Wada Hostel Yangshuo, No.8 Pan Tao Road (From the upper end of West Street, cross the bridge, enter the small alleyway next to the ICBC, then turn right), ☎ . Just like the one in Guilin with new furniture. Super friendly and helpful staff. They have three new mountain bikes for rent ¥40/day. From 35¥.
- West Lily Hotel (莲西宾馆), 49 Billian Lane (碧莲巷49号) (if arriving by bus: leave the bus station and turn right on Pantao Rd, then take the second road on your right after the car parking (between Happy Hotel and Letu Hotel), turn left on Billian Lane and the hotel is after 20 metres on your right). The very friendly English-speaking owners Steven and Lily offer a wide range of tours and bus/train/boat/airplane tickets as well as cheap bike rentals (from ¥5-10/day) Twin/double ¥50-60.
- Xi Jie House Inn, PanTao Rd (behind the Industrial and Commercial Bank). Mr. Li will meet you at the bus stop and grab you to take you to XiJie. The place is not very nice, but a very cool design and cheap. These guys are really pushy trying to get you to do their tours. If you can speak a little Chinese, just stay here and book the tours on your own.
- Yangshuo Senior Leader Youth Hostel (阳朔老班长国际青年旅舍), 36 FuQianXiang, Die Cui Rd (from the bus station, walk right down Die Cui Road for about five minutes, turn Left into an alleyway that is directly across the street from Guihua Lu, pass a laundromat on your left), ☎ . Check-in: 24 hrs, check-out: noon. Excellent hostel with spacious lobby, Wi-fi plus free internet on in-house computers, consistently clean rooms and bathrooms. The staff speaks good English, knows the town well, and will help you get the same prices that the locals pay for all the sightseeing spots. If you get up early enough they'll often bring you free coffee. Very social atmosphere, guests often stay up late into the night playing cards and talking. Discounts on Tuesdays if you come wearing orange. From ¥35 for 8-bed dorm.
- Youth Hostel, 102 West St (near the Pantou Lu end), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- Blue Lotus, near middle of West St. Shower, TV, and Western toilets. Singles ¥60.
- 2 Fawlty Towers (on the main street (opposite the Bus Station)). Decent rooms, helpful staff. ¥50 (private room, off-season).
- 3 Friend Hotel, 2 Chenzhong Rd (coming down West St from Pantao Lu, turn left into Chenzhong Rd and cross the bridge over the creek, the hotel is the second establishment on the right), ☎ . Clean and just far away from West St to be quiet. Staff are friendly. Rooms with western toilet and hot water shower. ¥80-120 (twin/double, off-season).
- The Stone Bridge, 22 Shi Ban Qiao (From the bus station in Yangshuo , walk east down Deicui Rd till you reach the Li River. Turn left, go passed the covered market and follow the blue signs till you reach Shi Ban Qiao Village and the hostel.-15 mins walk from town), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Eco-friendly homestay country villa in a small and quiet village just outside of Yangshuo. Staff is very friendly, rooms are spotless. Building is a Smoke Free environment. Aircon, WIFI, Traditional Chinese homecooked dinners, rooftop lounge with DVD player and Playstation, bicycle rent. from ¥40.
- Lisa's Mountain View Hotel. In a quiet street just 4 min walk from West St, restaurants, bars and the heart of Yangshuo. Great mountain views.
- MorningSun Hotel, 4 Chenzhong Rd (next to Friend Hotel), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. This is a wonderful family owned hotel with a great location. It is currently undergoing renovation until May 2012. Much nicer than other mid range hotels. The Ming/Xing architecture is very attractive and the rooms are very clean. Reception girls speak good English and they are friendly and knowledgeable.
- Outside Inn, Chao Long Village (ask the taxi driver in Yangshuo for Helan Fandian (Holland hotel)), ☎ . Restored farmhouse in a small village 4 km from town in a beautiful, quiet setting. Very friendly staff with great advice in multiple languages (Chinese, English, Dutch, German and little French). Relaxed atmosphere. Restaurant, air-conditioning an option, bicycle hire, free wifi, computer, private DVD players, pool table, etc. If you want to take photos of the rural landscape and people at work, you can book a very gentle trek at the inn. Room starting from ¥120, house ¥350.
- River View Hotel, 15 Binjiang Rd, ☎ . ¥200.
- Rosewood Inn, 21 Gui Hua Rd (in a quiet alley along a small stream just a few steps away from the West St). Charming wooden decoration and great comfort in a calm environment. The 3-bed room on the first floor is particularly comfortable. Avoid balcony rooms to ensure no mosquitos. ¥100-300.
- Trippers Carpe Diem Hostel, 35 Shi Ban Qiao, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Yangshuo's only countryside hostel in a picturesque village near the Li River, just around the corner of Yangshuo's lively center. Delicious food and a great cozy balcony bar (with heating in winter). Offers weekly barbecue and Chinese buffet nights. Owned and perfectly managed by a Belgian/Chinese family with a very cute little son. Fridge full of Belgian beers (Duvel, Chimay, Orval, Leffe...). All their private rooms have wooden flooring, wifi-access, air-con and heating facilities. From ¥35.
- White Lion Hotel, 103 West St. US$19-34.
- Yangshuo Culture House, No.110,Beisan xiang,Chengxi Road,Yangshuo,Guilin,China (walk along Pan Tao Rd towards Guilin until it turns into Xi Cheng Rd, continue past the gas station, about 200 meters past the gas station, look for a yellow sign and turn right into the alley, it is at the end of the alley on the right), ☎ . They provide cooked dinner at 18:00 (with the other guests, so no chance to practice Chinese in case that is what you were hoping for). Rooms are warm in winter. During the winter, the owner, Mr. Wei, he is very helpful and friendly with any needs or questions you might have. ¥100 per person per night.
- Yangshuo Village Inn, Moon Hill Village. Yangshuo's first boutique hotel. Close to caves, rivers and Liu San Jie lightshow. Thirteen beautifully appointed rooms (5 of them in a beautifully restored mud brick farmhouse) with solar hot water in summer, American Standard fixtures, handmade bamboo beds and amazing views of Moon Hill and surrounding limestone karst towers. Also great Italian restaurant, bikes to rent and helpful staff.
- Rosewood Hotel, No. 95 Gui Hua Lu, Yangshuo, e-mail: email@example.com. New hotel on West Street, sister hotel to Rosewood Inn but a more luxurious one. Beautiful and comfortable boutique style rooms with the most upscale designer bathrooms. Lots of toiletries and details with friendly staff. From ¥280-480.
- Dragon River Retreat. A new hotel on the bank of the Yulong River surrounded by limestone peaks and bamboo forests.
- The Giggling Tree (¥30 to get into the town by taxi). A guesthouse created from farmhouses surrounding a courtyard in Aishanmen, a village 5 km from Yangshuo. Friendly owners (Dutch) and free internet. Restaurant is really good. Good atmosphere and great staff. ¥120-250.
- Ecofarm Guesthouse (稻花香农家乐) (Yulong River, Chaoyang Pier (位于遇龙河景区朝阳码头), 5km from downtown, 200 meters from The Giggling Tree), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The guesthouse is in a picturesque Aishanmen village by the Yulong River. All rooms offer amazing views of surrounding limestone karst mountain as well as rice terraces. It is possible to watch both gorgerous sunrise and sunset. The guesthouse has its own vegetable garden and serves organic Chinese food. Owned by a friendly local family. WiFi-access, air-con and heating facilities. The owner can offter you great tips for photo shooting spots. From ¥680.
- Li River Retreat, 水岸花园别墅, 双滩村一号 (龙头山码头往里), ☎ . Great views. Free Wifi in all rooms. Just far enough out of town to miss all the late night noise. Large rooms with very good air conditioning.
- Magnolia Hotel 阳朔白玉兰酒店, 7 Die Cui Rd (叠翠路7号) (a block from the river and West St), ☎ , fax: . Air-conditioned, centrally located, and clean. Friendly and helpful staff.
- Moondance Boutique Resort, Fenglou Village (Quietly located, right behind famous Moon Hill, along the Jinbao River), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. True Comfort in the countryside. Experience the tranquility of a sleepy Farmer Village with all modern comforts at arms length. 12 Grand suites with relaxing bathroom and large balcony. ¥480-720.
- Riverside Retreat (directly opposite Yangshuo on the Li River, a 10 minute car ride from the centre), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Countryside location. Beautiful views, English staff and Western-style accommodation, an inground swimming pool with poolside bar and grill. Family suites and twin/double rooms. ¥250-350.
- Snow Lion Riverside Resort (3 kms out of town). Great views, clean, friendly, Wi-Fi. Double/twin ¥298-368, breakfast included.
- Yangshuo Mountain Retreat, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Beautiful hotel, set between the karst hills on the banks of the Yulong River with an extensive garden, 7 km from West St. 29 rooms most with balcony and river view, indoor and outdoor dining. A long time China expat favorite in the Yangshuo area.
- Yangshuo Mountain View Retreat, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Newer hotel not to be confused with the similarly-named one above. A set of country houses that combines Chinese and Western styles, with accommodation, restaurant, ecological agriculture, and travel services, 5 km outside Yangshuo. ¥250-450.
- Green Lotus Hotel. A large, new (built in 2009), Western-style hotel set on the river with most if not all rooms having a river view. Hotel is upmarket but a little lacking in personality.
The post office is on Pantao Lu, opposite the top end of West Street. It's open from 08:00-21:00.
Most hotels, bar and restaurants operate a free Wifi for their customers. Just ask for the Wifi password.
Being the first backpackers' destination in China in the 1980s, Yangshuo is a well-developed touristy place which comes along with many annoyances that are not common in other places in China. Some travellers call Yangshuo the worst place in China for overcharging, persistent tour touts, and illegal occupancy of a route to extort money from tourists.
On the West street, besides annoying touts and taxi drivers, prices for clothing and souvenirs could be skyrocketing to up to 100-500%. Unlike other Chinese places that groceries items are usually sold at standard prices, Yangshuo has a two price system - one for local Chinese, another for non-local Chinese and Westerners.
From Yangshuo to Yulonghe, a popular route for biking, you may pass through a Longtan Village (龙潭村) where villagers are known to set up a checkpoint to request ¥20 for any entrance. Rock climbers have also experienced similar practices on some hills.
Pickpockets in the town are rare now, particularly as Yangshuo has installed security cameras in tourist areas. Be vigilant on buses, when travelling from or to Guilin, the government run non-stop bus service is safer than the private operations. Reports of bag snatching by motorbike are frequently heard, the most common form are thieves using motorbikes to snatch bags in rear baskets of bicycling tourists; keep your bags locked to the bike and if a cage cover is provided with the basket, close and lock it, or better yet, carry belongings in front of you. Thieves will take opportunities presented to them, so keep all your valuables in sight at all times.
Theft reports are frequently made from swimmers. Despite numerous reports of theft, particularly at the Secret Beach (Shuan Tan), petty theft continues to thrive almost to a daily occurrence, and police seem disinterested in targeting the criminals. Thieves will go for bags and valuables, but have also been known to take even petty objects of seemingly no value. Do yourself a favor and bring only the necessities for swimming.
Touts of bamboo rafts for Yangdi to Xingping, a route best known for its landscape printed on the background of a ¥20 banknote, are notorious for a system to "claim" the ownership of a tourist. Once you talk to the touts on the bus, no one else can discuss the price with you except the touts from their own team. If you want to hassle by yourself instead of reserving a bamboo raft from a travel agency, do not talk to any touts on the bus.
At nights, Yangshuo is safe but after 01:00, the streets are dark and you better carry your torch. In some bars popular with western tourists, boozers can also be disturbing and aggressive. Noise pollution is a major problem in hotels and on streets as in most of China. Pick your location wisely or bring ear plugs if holed up in the entertainment district.
Traffic regulations, if any, are also practiced half-heartedly. Pedestrians should not expect a driver to stop at a green cross-walk sign and motorbikes can come in any directions even on a pedestrian road. If in doubt, follow the lead of a local when crossing the street. However, Chinese traffic rules tend to protect the rights of pedestrians when accidents happen. When you get hit, a driver will have to cover all your medical expenses and any loss. The negotiation on compensation is often done in a police station.
Thanks to seriously enforced regulations on hotels and hostels, accommodation-related tourist traps practically do not exist but be aware of the sudden surge in prices during the Chinese National Day on 1st Oct and the Chinese New Year in Jan or Feb.
Lastly, Yangshuo Police have taken a proactive step towards being more approachable by tourists. A few designated police deal almost exclusively with foreigners and their English is extremely good. Yangshuo Police have tracked thieves down, caught culprits and managed to return stolen valuables. There is a small police box at the top of West Street or a larger police station on FuQian Xiang.
- Huangyao Ancient Town. Huangyao Ancient Town is just over an hour outside of Yangshuo by coach. It is a lovely, rustic old town where the film, "The Painted Veil" was shot.
Further outside of town
Because Yangshuo is popular with backpacking tourists, you'll find a range of services and agencies not commonly found in China. There are ample places that sell plane tickets to all other provincial capitals and some international destinations. There are also bus and sleeper bus services available towards Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Kunming. Train tickets (which will depart from Guilin) are also available.
There are tickets available all the way to Hanoi in Vietnam. These aren't easily available elsewhere, and can save quite a bit of hassle at the China/Vietnam border. Vietnamese visas can also be obtained in Yangshuo in 2 days (14:00) or picked up in Nanning the next day (19:00). Call +86(0)773-8822533 for more information. They also offer bus tours to Hanoi for a most convenient journey.
- Nanning - Buses leave Yangshuo at 08:00, 08:50, and 11:30. Tickets cost ¥120. In Nanning, the 08:00 bus stops in the Langdong bus terminal while the 08:50 bus goes to the Jiangnan bus terminal.
- Hong Kong - Getting a 10-hour direct bus to Shenzhen's border is the most popular way to go to Hong Kong. Tickets cost around ¥180-200, depending on which bus stations the buses arrive. For taking a flight, you will need to take a bus to Guilin, change a bus to the airport. When arriving in Shenzhen, you need to take another 1 hour to go to the Shenzhen-Hong Kong border.