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Difference between revisions of "Yangshuo"

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(Eat)
(Get out: The vietnamese visa information should not be in this article. Not all countries need it, and writing it here seems redundant.)
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==Get out==
 
==Get out==
  
Because Yangshuo is so dependent on 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 provincal 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, however, take several days to obtain in Yangshuo and are necessary, so be careful before you buy.
+
Because Yangshuo is so dependent on 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 provincal 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.
  
  

Revision as of 16:03, 2 June 2008

Tourist central (West Street) in Yangshuo

Yangshuo (阳朔) is a very scenic, small tourist town surrounded by mountains and beautiful scenery.

Contents

Understand

Yangshuo is near Guilin and like Guilin, it has incredible karst scenery and a parade of Chinese package tourists who can be spotted wearing baseball caps and following a tour leader who carries a flag.

However, it isn't your typical Chinese town. Yangshuo has a reputation as a foreigners' village in Southern China. This town feels like one of the stops on the travelers' trail, with lots of the same people you'd expect in Katmandu, Sihanoukville, or Dali.

Many travellers use Yangshuo as a base and spend their time exploring the karst scenery and rivers, or checking out caves and local temples. Renting a bike and taking off into the countryside, with or without a guide, is one popular strategy. There is also a whole community of rock climbers enjoying hills and caves.

Others just take it easy in the many cafes and bars. While this certainly isn't the whole story, the town is in some ways a break from the rest of China. For this reason, it is very popular with foreigners who work in China.

Get in

By plane

Yangshuo has no airport. The nearest airport is in Guilin (airport code KWL). As yet, there are no direct buses from the airport to Yangshuo. There is an airport bus you can take into Guilin and then take a bus or boat to Yangshuo.If you book your accommodation ahead of time, most hotels in Yangshuo can arrange for a car you pick you up from Guilin Airport and take you to Yangshuo for around Y200 - Y250.

One of the best routes to take to Yangshuo if you wish to head there directly, is to fly to Hong Kong, cross the border to Shenzhen, then take a flight from there to Guilin. Both China Southern Airlines and Shenzhen Airways serve this route. Flying directly from Hong Kong to Guilin can be quite a bit more expensive and usually involves a stop in Guangzhou.

By train

Yangshuo is not served by train and the nearest railway station is Guilin. Minibuses to Yangshuo conveniently depart from the square in front of Guilin railway station. For bus connections, see below.

By bus

From Guilin: There are frequent minibuses and express buses to Yangshuo from Guilin. All buses terminate at the bus terminal in Yangshuo. Minibuses depart from the square in front of the Guilin railway station (RMB 14 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 bes approach is simply to ignore them). The journey takes between one and one-and-a-half hours as buses stop along the way. Express buses (RMB 15. Buy tickets from counter inside terminal) depart every half hour from the Guilin bus terminal off Zhongshan Zhong Lu and take just an hour.

In Yangshuo, wait for minibuses at the exit of the bus terminal at Die Cui Lu; the first bus to depart will be at the head of the queue. Express buses depart half hourly from 7am from their allotted bay inside the terminal. Buy tickets from the glass counter.

Note scam: Beware that on the bus from Guilin, unscrupulous hawkers frequently stop the bus before the center of town urging you to get off while claiming this is Yangshuo and the bus will continue to another place. The bus conductor will often be complicit in the scam and even tell you that you've arrive at the bus station. The reason for this is to make you have to pay for them to take you to the centre of town and to their hotel.

From Guangdong: Overnight sleeper buses run direct to Yangshuo from Shenzhen on the Hong Kong border, from Zhuhai on the Macau border, and from Guangzhou. These cost around RMB 100-250 depending on which station in Shenzhen you want to go to and how new a bus you go on. The buses to the border in Shenzhen are the dearest.

From Nanning: Two daily buses go directly to Nanning, leaving Yangshuo at 8am and 9am. They go to Guilin first where they stop for just a short time to pick up passengers. Tickets cost RMB 110. In Nanning, the 8am bus stops in the Langdong bus terminal while the 9am bus goes to the Jiangnan bus terminal.

By boat

There are also boats down the Li River, slower and more expensive (RMB 400+) but a very scenic journey. You may be able to get these for about half that price by joining a tour group.

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 will 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).

Get around

Around town

Yangshuo is a small place - the town can easily be covered on foot. There is an electric minibus network consisting 5 routes covering most parts of town. RMB 1 per ride.

The main tourist area is laid out roughly like a ladder. The two main tourist streets run more-or-less parallel up from the river to 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 center of things. The other long tourist street is Diecuilu (畳翠路).

There's a small creek that runs down the center of the "ladder"; some of the prettiest bars and restaurants in town are on balconies near it. The street there is called Guiha Lu. 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. Also a number of rather nice riverside hotels.

Across the "top of the ladder" is a major street (Pantao Lu) 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.

Near the top of West Street are three banks with ATMs — Bank of China, Agricultural Bank and ICBC — and there is a China Construction Bank on Die Cui Lu. Service in the Bank of China can be awful, but it has the only ATM that accepts foreign cards.

The post office is on Pantao Lu, opposite the top end of West Street. It's open from 8am until 9pm.

Into the countryside

If you're planning on walking around the many streets and caves around Yangshuo, a map is recommended. Artistic tourist maps are available for sale for around RMB 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.

  • The most popular is bike rental - there are several places around the main street catering for short-term rentals charging from RMB 5 upwards.
  • There are boat tours up or down the river.
  • Local buses serve some locations. From Yangshuo's bus terminal, minibuses (xiao mian bao or "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.
  • It is possible to hire private cars for others.

You can mix these modes of travel, for example taking a boat out of town and biking back or taking a bus upriver a ways to catch a boat tour.

Tour Guides

Most hostels or hotels can arrange transport and a guide if you want one. Alternately, you can choose your own tourist guide; just work out a deal with one of the ones who will accost you on the street. Guides can also be found at 'Expat Services' on Chenzhong Rd, next to 7th Heaven. A guide may be very helpful for things like cycling tours.

Some local guides are simply savvy street wise individuals trying to make some money, whilst others are registered and take government examinations. 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.

Haggle over prices too. Tickets for the nightly Light Show can vary from Y150 - Y250 a head!

See

View of Yulong River valley from Yulong Qiao (Yulong Bridge)

Karst landscape

The area around Yangshuo is renowned throughout China, and probably the world, for its Karst landscape where there are hundreds of limestone hills dotting the countryside. The beautiful scenery here is a common subject of Chinese paintings as well as 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:

This stretch along the Li River is probably the most renowned and popular. There are river cruises available and in fact, the Guilin-Yangshuo boat ride passes through this area. There is also a 24km (5 to 6 hours) track for easy hiking along the Li river. The walk is a far more peaceful way to enjoy the Li river and mountain scenery than the loud noisy boat down the river. It takes you along the pebbly shores of the river, through many small villages, fields and bamboo forests. If you get tired, you can always rent a bamboo raft to float down the river. Getting there: There are various ways of reaching this stretch of the Li River. You can of course catch a direct river cruise from Yangshuo town. You can also get to Xingping by minibus (called xiao mian bao or "little bread loaves") from Yangshuo bus terminal, or cycle out there and then take boats or bamboo rafts to reach the scenic area. Again, combinations of the various modes are possible.

  • Yulong River valley:

The pretty Yulong River 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. Getting there: From Yangshuo town, you can access the Yulong River valley by turning west into a small road from the main Yangshuo bypass road just south of the Sinopec petrol station at the junction of Pantao Lu (there are road signs in Chinese). You can also access it by using the road to Jinbao from Baisha town 9km north of Yangshuo on the main road to Guilin. Minibuses from Yangshuo bus terminal to Jinbao go near Yulong village.

  • Moon Hill:

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. Getting there: Take a Gaotian minibus Yangshuo bus terminal. If you plan to cycle, Moon Hill is located about 8km south of Yangshuo on the road to Wuzhou. It's 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, but there's no alternative and you may need something after the trek up and down.

Yangshuo town

Many people come to Yangshuo are so preoccupied with the surrounding karst landscape that they do not spend much time in Yangshuo town itself.

There is quite a bit to do in the town itself. Apart from shipping and haggling prices on the main tourist streets, there are a plethora of backstreets with all sorts of interesting eateries and little shops. Explore and be daring. 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. Additionally, you can also sign up for Chinese cooking classes, experience foot reflexology or attend a Tai Chi class.

Tai Chi classes are given in The People's Park each morning at 0800. Otherwise there are also formal schools providing 'drop in' classes.

If you want some guidance as to what to do and to enjoy, two very helpful local guides are ‘Lisa’ from Lisa’s Cafe in West Street and ‘William’ from 7th Heaven. Both can provide you with ample information and are happy to do so as a service. They can happily tell you which ‘Massage Parlours’ are the real deal in terms of genuine Chinese Medicine or just cheap fronts for brothels.

The People’s Park just opposite the bus station is 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.

Beware of the fresh market. If you are sensitive, then cages full of dogs waiting for the slaughter may just upset you enough to put you off your food. There are plenty of stalls out on the streets where you can buy lots of fruits, no need to face the grim meat market.

Shows

Impression Liu Sanjie runs nightly during the high season. Set to the music from the movie of the same name (which in turn was based on an old Chinese story), it features a cast of 500 wearing traditional Zhuang, Miao and Yao dress, and a highly impressive light show. By far the best view is from the official seating area. Tickets are available from most travel agents or hotels in town for 188 RMB. Expensive by Yangshuo standards, but well worth it. You can see it more cheaply from a boat on the river, or even from across the river, but the view is not as good.

Do

There are so many things to do here:

  • 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 RMB 10 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 [1] (on Guihua Rd, above Bar 98) has well-maintained specialized mountain bikes for RMB 50. Bike Asia also has free bike maps of the area, and can advise on where to cycle. Find an older farmer woman for RMB 100 per day to give you a guided tour of the local paths.
  • Rock climbing: 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. 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.
    • There are three climbing shops on Xianqian Road, the first cross street off West Street as you come up from the river. Spiderman has a conspicuous sign. The other two places, Karst Cafe [2], and Chinaclimb [3], are across the street.
    • Two more climbing shops are on Guihua Road, Xclimber[4], and Blackrock (a right turn then a left turn before the start of West Street).
  • Exploring caves, of which there are an abundance in the limestone hills
    • guided tours for the general tourist
    • serious cavers should talk to the climbing shops about possible cave climbs
  • Swimming During the summer the water and air 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 Lijiang water quality is average, and it is possible to swim as long as you comfortable with some undesirables in the water. Also tour boats that travel the Li Jiang coming from Guilin are a hazard. The Yulong River is also good for swimming, offering some quality swimming spots, although some parts of the river are crowded with bamboo rafts.
  • Bamboo rafting Rafting along the Yulong river is particularly popular in summer, but travelers 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 Pricey by Chinese standards, hot air ballooning in Yangshuo is still a bargain compared to the west. Again safety can be a concern, there was one non-fatal accident in 2004. Found for 650 RMB for 1 hour on March 2008
  • Volunteering The Volunteer English Teachers [5] program visits local schools to teach poor children English.
  • Martial arts Classes in Taichi, Qigong, Kungfu, Taiquando, and other martial arts are available at the Budizhen school at the top of West Street for 80Y a day. LongTouShan Taichi school [6]offers also Taichi, Qigong and Yoga classes in a beautiful spot located in the country side, half an hour walk from West street. There is also the Wang Zhi Ping Tai Chi Training Centre[7] located behind the park on Baoquan Road. This school offers once off lessons, weekly and monthly rates, plus professional training in various forms of Tai Chi.
  • Chinese cooking Single and multi-day classes in traditional Chinese cooking are offered in the beautiful traditional farmhouse at Yangshuo Cooking School [8], and at Cloud 9. Typical dishes include beer fish and stuffed pumpkin flowers. Yangshuo Cooking School teaches egg-wrapped dumplings, a delicious local treat.
  • Cormorant fishing Local tourism companies offer evening boat trips to watch fisherman using a traditional night fishing technique that employs cormorants.[9]
  • Hiking
  • River cruises Take a boat down to Liugong village then cycle back, much cheaper than the boat from Guilin.
  • Drinking
  • Chilling out

Buy

There is a huge amount of touristy stuff on offer:

  • Pashmina scarves, Cashmere by a different name
  • silk products: ties, kimonos, scarves, dresses
  • pottery, bronze, stone carvings, bracelets, 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 horribly inflated. Here is a table showing one traveller's experience:

ItemAsking price, in yuanPrice paid
elsewhereYangshuoYangshuo
silk ties18-2075-12050 for 3
small silk scarvesunknown80-10020
large scarf/wrap80120-20050
old silver dollars, nearly all counterfeit2080-15010

Getting the prices in the right hand column took hard bargaining, based on knowledge of prices elsewhere. Of course, even those may not be the best possible prices. Some tourists, having no idea of the real Chinese price, might be grossly overcharged. After all, even 120 RMB ($15 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:

  • assume nothing on offer here is worth more than a third of the asking price, and most things quite a bit less
  • if you are prepared to haggle, offer about 10% of the asking price and go from there
  • if not, offer 20% to 30% and stick to it. Walk away if the vendor will not meet your price.

Also consider the classic mother-to-daughter advice "Men are like buses. You don't chase them because you know there will always be another one along." This applies very much to vendors of tourist goods in Yangshuo; if one is too expensive, or even if you are not sure the price is fair, try another.

See also How to haggle.

Local goods

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
  • T-shirts with Chinese characters with different slogans, such as "I have no money" or "Foreigner coming, Foreigner going"
    • Hard Rock Cafe T-shirts are common, but there is no Hard Rock in Yangshuo. However, there used to be at least two! One was on the main street up from the Li River boat from Guilin. It was run by an English speaking man about 25 years old. It was a small, four table place, with pictures of Corvettes and other things American, and served hamburgers and banana pancakes. The restaurant got its name from all of the rock pinnacles surrounding the town. It was in competition with another HRC, the second owned by some minor party functionary's son, so the first one may well be out of business. They did sell HRC-logoed tee shirts.
    • Some places with great names — Red Capitalism Cafe, Outside Inn, Fawlty Towers — do not have T-shirts, unfortunately
  • 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

On Die Cui Lu about half a block from the river is Nature House selling various rocks. Some are interesting geological specimens; others are carved and/or painted. Fascinating.

The Chopstick Shop is on West Street. Their factory is in Guilin and they sell wonderfully gift wrapped chopstick sets.

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, formerly on West Street, now in larger space at 7 Cheng Zhong Road. Prices are higher than at used bookstores in Western countries, but cheaper than new books. You can buy coffee and read them free. For people living in China and missing Western books, they have a web site [10] and mail-order service. Owner is Johnny Lu, email johnnylu668@yahoo.com, mobile 13237831208.

CDs and DVDs are 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; I cannot imagine a "pirate" duplicating that. Selection is also good; the English music is not all Backstreet Boys and the Carpenters. Prices are also higher, 15-25 RMB versus 6 or 8 for the cheap copies all over China.

Eat

  • Yak Cafe, 16 Gui Hua Lu. Specialties include Tibetan Noodles, Yak cheese Pizza, Homemade whole wheat, white and banana breads, maple syrup imported from Canada and dessert such as chocolate brownie cake and carrot cake. Owners Sula from Tibet and Andrew from Canada. Non Smoking Restaurant as well.

Yangshuo is a great place to eat. There are dishes from all over the world and just about any region in China. You can eat cheaply in the markets with the locals or you can try comfort food in one of the many cafes in town. One word of warning though: on West Street the standard of the Chinese food is definitely hit or miss, as most of the staff expect their customers want Western food.

  • Yangshuo produces very sweet and juicy grapefruit or pomelos (sha tian you), which can be bought everywhere for Y1-2. Ask the vendor to choose one with a small top and cut it up for you.
  • Beer fish is a local specialty, something most Chinese tourists try
  • Cloud Nine is a popular Chinese place on West Street.
  • 7th Heaven Restaurant offers great outdoor seating and views and is located just off West Street on Chenzhong Rd. Western menu.
  • Ganguoyu (干锅鱼) is 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) is a Chinese restaurant very popular with the locals. It specializes in beer fish and other hot pots. It is located 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.
  • The night market near the bus station has 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. WARNING: Take very good care of your belongings -- there are some very accomplished sneak thieves and pickpockets specialising in wallets, phones and passports.

Vegetarian

  • Pure Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant (暗香疏影 素菜馆) [11] down near the river end of Die Cie Lu. Word of caution though: If you are absolutely strict about not wanting to come into contact with meat, be the reasons morally or religiously, know that the staff of this restaurant uses the kitchen to cook their meat in the same pans as the vegetarian dishes.

Western food

It seems almost every restaurant in Yangshuo offers burgers, shepherd's pie and a Western breakfast. Many of the staff in these places have reasonable English, a few excellent. Most of the food is quite good. However, there is much menu copying and some places serve rather bizarre impressions of Western dishes as prepared by Chinese chefs without the original recipe. Whilst the Chinese are known for their own superb cuisine, they are not known for their baking skills, so be prepared for odd looking and tasting bread and copies of western cakes and deserts.

On West Street itself, listed from up the hill down toward the river:

  • Green Lotus, 100 West Street, next to Youth Hostel, open 24 hours, friendly staff, good 20 RMB breakfast.
  • Cafe del Moon, near center of West Street, 32 RMB all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet; ghastly croissants but the rest is OK.
  • Drifters, middle of West Street. Great apple crumble. Mediocre pizza.
  • Cafe China, on the corner of West Street and Xianqian Jie, great coffee, best cheesecake in town, packed out most nights, wireless internet.
  • Twin Peaks Cafe, standard western fare, but notable for having genuinely great bread, very much a novelty in China.

Along Xianqian Jie, off West Street near the river:

  • Karst cafe, climber hangout with good pizza, comfortable sofas, and wireless internet.
  • The Balcony Bar, fairly decent French food and very decent pancakes, movie every night at 9 and free internet.
  • Buffalo Bar, Aussie run, with meat pies and quiz night on Thursdays. Wireless internet and a pool table
  • MC Blues, good cocktails, happy hour from 6pm to 8pm, great music, wireless internet, 2nd floor lounge and open till they close.

Along Cheng Zhong Road, perpendicular to West Street:

  • 7th Heaven Cafe, Western and Chinese cuisine.
  • Cafe Too, 7 Cheng Zhong Road, has English books to read, buy or trade

Along Guihua Lu, quieter street parallel to West Street:

  • Bar 98, wireless internet and a pool table. Run by two Australians, has Aussie meat pies and good burritos.
  • Red Star Express, in a big new location a bit off West Street. Turnoffs from both West Street and Xianqian Jie are marked with a flag showing a Red Star. Excellent burritos and enchiladas.
  • Kelly's Cafe, great service and food, cheap beer. Foreigners living in Yangshuo often hang out here.
  • Soul Cafe, a great coffee house opposite Kelly's.
  • Kaya is a reggae bar, often has good live music (with open mic) and very laidback atmosphere.
  • Valentine 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.

Along Furong Lu, quiet street perpendicular to Diecui Lu:

  • The Flying Dutchman, wireless internet and a quiet environment. Run by a Dutch guy, has traditional Dutch dishes and the best burger in town. Away from all the sales people.[12]

Several of these offer free Internet access, but generally only have one machine so you may have to wait a bit.

Drink

  • .

Considering its size, Yangshuo has a pretty boisterous nightlife. Most restaurants along the main street stay open late and serve alcohol. Several have live music.

  • Cafe le Votre, 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. Their courtyard is a great place for people-watching, but unfortunately it is also convenient for touts to find you.
  • Monkey Jane's Rooftop Bar offers panaramic views of Yangshuo, and is pefect for meeting other backpackers. It is set back from West Street up an alley near the river end, but is sign-posted.
  • China Climb on Xi Jie (West Street) has a bar and a bouldering wall. China Climb guides and other climbers hang out there in the evenings.

There are also several clubs located near the bus terminal, which sometimes stay open until 5 or 6 A.M. and other nights are shut by midnight. There doesn't seem to be a method to their hours, save going down and seeing if they're open. There should be no cover, and frequently there's an opportunity to see young PLA soliders from the nearby base in a decidely un-military context.

As with Guilin, the local drink is Guilin Three-flower Wine, although most residents seem to prefer a glass of Tsingtao or Baijiu.

Learn

  • Cooking school Learn to make several typical local dishes at the Yangshuo Cooking School. Classes involve a trip to a local market to buy ingredients, individual woks as you go step-by-step through preparation of the various dishes, and a meal at the end, all in a rustic setting at the Outside Inn. Classes must be booked a day in advance.
  • Kung Fu, offerred at the Green Lotus on West Street
  • Tai Chi Chen and Yang at master Mei's School. Mei is one of the few female masters in China. [13]
  • Tai Chi Chuan & Kung Fu at Master Fu Nengbin's School in Shi Ban Qiao, within lovely walking distance from Yangshuo. [14]
  • Tai Chi/Qi Gung at Wang Zhi Ping's school. Walking distance from centre of town. [15]
  • Calligraphy
  • Chinese at Mandacentre, Yangshuo's number 1 Cultural Centre. Professional teachers and friendly staff [16]

Sleep

There are many places to stay - from Y20/night for a dorm room, through to 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!

One word of warning - 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 2:00am. I can assume anything on West Street will be nigh impossible to sleep until after the bars close.

Budget

  • Lisa's Cafe, West Street, the original hostel in Yangshuo, and one with a lot of character, though these days looks a little dilapidated. Dorm beds from 25.
  • Youth Hostel, 102 West Street, near the Pantou Lu end, phone +86-773-8820933, email hostel-ys@163.com
  • Backpackers' Hostel, just off West Street
  • Moon Resort [17] in Moon Hill village in front of the mountain, phone +86-773-8777688, email moon.resort@gmail.com
  • Monkey Jane's Hotel & Rooftop Bar off West Street near the river end; well signed. Reliable service and friendly English-speaking staff.
  • Xi Jie House Inn behind the Industrial and Commercial Bank on PanTao road is to be avoided
  • Double Moon Hotel, 16 Xian Qian St, from 40 RMB/night (but you need to negotiate!) for private room with hot shower in off season. Decent, clean rooms with TV and double bed, helpful staff. There are also several other good budget options surrounding this hotel.

Mid range

  • Fawlty Towers [18], on the main street opposite the bus station, 50 RMB/night for private room with shower in off season. Decent rooms, helpful staff.
  • Lisa's Mountain View Hotel [19]. Situated in a quiet street just 4 min walk from West Street, Restaurants, Bars and the heart of Yangshuo. Great mountain views.
  • Blue Lotus, near middle of West Street, 60 RMB/night for single with shower, TV, western toilet
  • Friend Hotel No. 2 Chenzhong Lu, just off West Street (coming down West Street from Pantao Lu, turn left into Chenzhong Lu and cross the bridge over the creek. The hotel is the second establishment on the right). Tel: +86-773-8828696, +86-13807735906. Clean and just far away from West Street to be quiet. Staff are friendly. Twin/Double cost RMB 80-120/night off season. Rooms with western toilet and hot water shower.
  • Karst Hotel [20] located in the alley directly across from the entrance to China Climb, and run by the same people who own the Karst Cafe and operate Karst Climbing. This hotel also includes dormitory-style rooms for travelers on a budget, costing about 15 RMB per night (summer 2007). The dormitory rooms are clean and comfortable and contain a bathroom with a western-style toilet and a shower.
  • Li River View
  • MorningSun Hotel [21] No. 4, Chenzhong Lu (next to Friend Hotel. For directions, see above). Tel: +86-773-8813899.
  • Outside Inn [22], restored farmhouse 5 km from town, 80-120 RMB/night
  • Sihai Hotel [23], 73 West Street
  • Water Buffalo Guesthouse [24]
  • White Lion, on West Street
  • Yangshuo Culture House [25], a little outside of town, offers three meals cooked a day, classes and a homestay experience for 60 RMB a night, shared room with double beds.
  • Rosewood inn [26], 21 Gui Hua Lu. Situated in a quiet alley along a small stream just a few steps away from the West Street. Charming wooden decoration and great confort in a calm environnement. 150-300 RMB/night

Splurge

  • Magnolia Hotel, 7 Die Cui Lu (a block from the river and west street), [27], very clean with nice big rooms, tastfully decorated.
  • Li River Retreat [28], Best views of any hotel in Yangshuo, great location and with great rooms.
  • 'Snow Lion Resort', 3 kms out of town. Great views, clean, friendly, Wi-Fi.
  • Yangshuo Mountain Retreat [29], a hidden gem just outside of town. China expat favorite, nice views, 250-450 RMB/night
  • Regency Holiday Hotel, at the inland end of West Street, phone 86-773-8817200. Satellite TV and air conditioning.
  • Hotel of Modern Art, Approximately 30 minutes drive from Yangshuo this hotel is set inside Yuzi Paradise, a park full of stunning modern art in a remote rural location.
  • The Giggling Tree [30], A guesthouse created from farmhouses surrounding a courtyard. It is located in Aishanmen, a village 5 km from Yangshuo. 120-250 RMB/night
  • Riverside Retreat [31], country-side location with beautiful views, english speaking staff and western-style accommodations.

Stay safe

Yangshou has lots of pickpockets, especially on local minibuses. Be aware of who sits next to you - they sometimes operate by distracting you when its busy and even cutting open pockets with a razor blade.

Several tour operators in the area are also less then scrupulous. Beware when catching bamboo rafts - some of the tour operators will drop you off well before your intended destination.

Stay healthy

Dr Lily is known by practically everyone in town. She provides Acupuncture Treatments, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Medical Massage and Foot Reflexology and can be a useful translator should you need to visit the local hospital. If you can't find her, simply ask at 7th Heaven on Chenzhong Rd or at Lisa's Cafe on West Street. The owners of both establishments know Dr Lily. As most medicines, including antibiotics are available over the counter in China without a prescription, it may be wise to seek a medical opinion before self diagnosing and medicating yourself.

Get out

Because Yangshuo is so dependent on 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 provincal 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.


This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!



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