Yangshuo, China

Want to visit Yangshuo, China?

Then you’re a smart traveler. And I’m excited for you!

In January, The Husband and I spent five days in Yangshuo. Five days isn’t much time, but thankfully, we had a local guide. My older brother, Kyle, has been living in Yangshuo for two years. He was able to give us an inside look at the town. The Husband and I were able to see a lot of places typical tourists don’t visit.

Now I’ll share those spots with you!

Great view of Yangshuo

Give me a rundown of Yangshuo.

Yangshuo is technically a suburb of the city Guilin, about 30 minutes southeast of Guilin’s city center. This town has the unique karst mountains you can find in Guilin–but a lot more of them! In short, it’s less crowded than Guilin and has better scenery.

Cost of living is low in Yangshuo. If you want to rent a motorbike, which I expand on near the end of this article, you can probably find a bike for around 150 yuan per day, which is much cheaper than other Asian cities I’ve visited. Yangshuo is a destination you can easily visit on a budget, if you’re wise about how you spend your money.

Moon Hill
Standing in front of the beautiful Moon Hill

What are the best outdoor activities?

  1. Hike to the peak of Moon Hill in less than an hour. Moon Hill is a natural arch formed in a mountain and is a classic scenic spot of Yangshuo. You have to pay 15 yuan, or 2.20 USD, to hike here.

  2. Go white water rafting with Longjing River Drifting. Keep in mind, this company is closed in the winter.

  3. Spend an entire afternoon floating down the Yulong River on a bamboo raft. A ride costs 240 yuan per person and lasts about six hours.
20 yuan bill view

What free things are there to do?

*Note: Keep in mind that transportation to these places is not necessarily free.

  1. About 45 minutes outside of Yangshuo city center, there is a tiny village called Xingping. Go here to see the classic view featured on the 20 yuan bill.

  2. Ride your bike around the 10-Mile Gallery. This 10-mile road takes you around the most scenic spots in town. You may have to pay to visit some of the attractions, such as the Banyan Tree, but simply riding around and enjoying the views is free.

  3. Swimming in Yulong or Li River is both free and safe, as long as you’re careful!
Pica Pica Cafe Yangshuo China
Pica Pica Cafe

What/Where should I eat?

  1. Want a quality steak? Go to The Brew.

  2. Want to accommodate people with various tastes? Go to Pica Pica Cafe. This restaurant has a good mixture of Chinese and Western food. Remember, though–don’t order the Caesar salad! As in many Chinese restaurants, “Caesar salad” is code for “lettuce with mayonnaise on top.” The Husband learned that the hard way.

  3. Want brunch? Go to Minority Cafe. This restaurant serves classic American, English, and Chinese breakfasts.

  4. Yangshuo’s most famous specialty dish is beer fish. If you want a taste, go to MeiJie.
Drink snake baiju
A jug of snake baiju

What/Where should I drink?

All of the following bars are very expat-friendly!

  1. If you want a truly weird experience, go to The DMZ Bar, a North Korean-themed bar. There, you can drink a shot of snake baiju, pictured above.

  2. Rusty Bolt has darts, foosball, two floors and outside seating.

  3. Go to Bad Panda to enjoy the rooftop bar with a good view of the Yangshuo skyline.

Li River

How do I get to Yangshuo?

Yangshuo doesn’t have an airport. You can fly into Guilin from Beijing, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, or Shanghai, then take a 30-minute bus or taxi ride to the suburb.

You can also take a high-speed train to Guilin, which is cheaper than taking a plane.

If you want a cheap option and have a lot of time to kill, most big cities have overnight buses to Yangshuo.

Yangshuo scenery
With my big brother!

Miscellaneous Tidbits:

    1. Rent a motorbike. Yangshuo is a small city, so riding a motorbike is much less overwhelming here than in big Chinese cities. You can usually rent one for around 150 yuan per day. With a bike, you have the freedom to explore much more of the area. I rented a bike from Kyle’s friend, but there are places on West Street where you can rent them. Don’t be afraid to haggle! You can also ask the bartenders at The DMZ Bar. Scooter rental is even advertised on their website.

    2. If you want to access Google, social media sites, or Netflix in China, you’ll need a VPN. If you’re just taking a short trip, you can subscribe to Express VPN for only one month for $12.95. In my experience, as well as many other fellow expats’ experiences, Express VPN is the most reliable one you can get.

Have you ever been to Yangshuo? What were your favorite parts of this town? Comment below!

*Note: This post contains affiliate links.

More travel guides:

Let’s Go to … Shenzhen, China!

Let’s Go to … Wellington, New Zealand!

Let’s Go to … Tokyo, Japan!

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