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Revision as of 05:41, 7 December 2012
Tourist central (West Street) in Yangshuo
Yangshuo (阳朔; Yáng shuò) is a very scenic, small county and city surrounded by many karst mountains and beautiful scenery near Guilin, Guangxi. It is very popular among tourists.
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, ex-pats and other foreigners.
Yangshuo is not a typical Chinese town and does not have the big-city feel as in most other Chinese cities. That means it is relatively air and noise pollution free, (provided you get away from major roadways), 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. Yangshuo has a reputation as a foreigners' village in Southern China and is a major stop on the trail of many independent travellers. 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 town 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.
Yangshuo has no airport. The nearest airport is Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (airport code KWL) in Guilin serviced 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 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 local drivers in 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). Be advised that 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 40km/h on the regular road.
To get to Yangshuo by bus, first take the airport bus (¥20), which makes three stops. Other airport shuttles cost 20 yuan and operate without a fixed schedule. A shuttle bus (20 yuan) leaves for the airport every 30 minutes from the CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) building on Shanghai Road, Xiangshan District. Be aware that like most bus services in China, the bus will not leave the airport until full, so you may be faced with a wait. Get off at the second stop near the train station for buses to Yangshuo. You can also get off at the last stop in Guilin and then take a bus or boat to Yangshuo.
The nearest railway station 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 300m to the main bus terminal. Here buses are properly ticketed, safe and direct(¥20, 1h:40m-2h).
From Guilin, there are frequent minibuses and express buses to Yangshuo. All buses terminate at the bus terminal in Yangshuo. Minibuses 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. Express buses (¥20, buy tickets from counter inside terminal) depart every half hour from the Guilin bus terminal off Zhongshan Zhong Lu and take about one and a half 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 starting at 7AM from their allotted bay inside the terminal. Buy tickets from the glass counter.
On the bus from Guilin, unscrupulous hawkers frequently stop the bus before the center of town (near the service station) 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 arrived at the bus station. The tout's goal is to get you to pay them to take you to the center of town and to their hotel. Note: Buses from Guangdong really don't go to the bus station; they just let you off in the Gas Station, a ten-minute walk from the main tourist area following the signs to West Street(西街）.
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.
From Nanning, there are 3 buses per day. The journey costs ¥120 and buses leave at 8AM, 10AM and 12:30PM. Tickets can be bought inside the bus terminal.
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 by what is considered 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-0river 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.
One of many views only accessible by bicycle, or a lot of walking
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 ¥10-30.
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 50Y 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.
At least two guesthouses offer motorbike rent:
Taxis in Yangshuo are among the most expensive in China. They will all refuse to use the meter if they have any. Nonetheless there are very few compared to in bigger cities because they are limited by the government. Expect to pay at least 25-30Y for a ride from 100m to 3km. However, 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. Most of the actual taxis don't have meters, or the meters will be turned off. The price for a trip about 5km outside of town is at least ¥35.
By motorbike taxi
On many street corners there are men waiting on their motorbike. They will take you anywhere in town for a flat fee of ¥5.
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 busses 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 RMB each way, pay when getting off or when the 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 6:30PM.
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. At the entrance of west street,guides will be found there too.
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 100Y 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/driver and experienced tour guide.
View of Yulong River valley from Yulong Qiao (Yulong Bridge)
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 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, (catch a direct river cruise from Yangshuo or get to Yangdi (90mins, ¥8) and Xingping (45 mins, ¥7) 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 and 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. Touts in Yangshuo advertise prices as low as ¥88 for this trip, but equilibrium price is about ¥150 per trip. Expect incredibly aggressive hawkers when you arrive in Xingping. The more common 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.
- 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 9km 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 8km 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 surprized 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 souveneir stalls.
- Assembling Dragon Cave, (is located 6 kilometers south of Yangshuo. It is in between the Big Banyan Tree and the Moon Hill), . The karst cave was such 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 located next to the exit of the Assembling Dragon Cave. The Magical Stone Palace is actually 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.
- Sanjie Liu Above-Water Park (刘三姐水上公园).
- Yangshuo Cultural Relic Landscape Garden (阳朔文物景观花园).
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 Road, ☎ +8613737734124. Claim focus on quality instructions, bilingual guides and safety. Offer other activities such as abseiling, kayaking and ziplining.
- Insight Adventures (县前街45号), Xian Qian Jie (off West Street), ☎ +86 773 8811033, . Insight Adventures are the largest operator in Yangshuo and offer climbing as well as many other activities such as kayaking, caving, biking and abseiling. Their location has a relaxed lounge area and a bouldering wall. They are the most expensive outfit in town and offer a large staff of foreign and Chinese guides. (32.1524903,119.9376365)
- Karst Cafe, on Xianqian Road, .
- Spiderman, (marked with a conspicuous sign), on Xianqian Road (the first cross street off West Street as you come up from the river).
- Terratribes, on Fu Qian Road (府前巷12号), ☎ +86) 773-8822005, . 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), ☎ +8615807731200. 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. This walk 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. To do the walk, you must purchase a ticket (depending on group size between 120 and 150 ¥; you can bargain a bit.; if you do on the opposite direction many times you can skip buying the ticket) from the ticket office (look for the sign in English) right near the wharf in Yangdi; this covers the first two (of three) river crossings, and access beyond a checkpoint about halfway along the walk. If you go early in the morning, the ticket office is not available, and you will have to take a bamboo raft the first part of the journey. Just tell someone you want to go "walking" and they will take you, but be sure to bargain. The first ferry crossing departs near the end of the wharf (i.e. downstream), and is a blue boat with a yellow "<--->" sign on the roof. 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. This walk can be done in both directions, and if you do from Xingping->Yangdi in many cases you can skip buying the expensive ticket. There is 3 river crossings, on 1st its a ferry(¥10), the other 2 local people will offer to do the river crossing for a fee, if the group is large you can bargain to ¥10, if the last river crossing you end up before the center of the wharf, no ticket purchase will be asked
- 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.
- 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 center. 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 am and after 3 pm 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 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. Unfortunately after a fatal accident with a Dutch family aboard, hot air ballooning trips are no longer available.
- Water caves. Make sure which water cave you are visiting since there are at least two of them about 15km south of Yangshuo. The Moon Water Cave is 2km west of GaoTian town, but the ticket office is 2km north-east of GaoTian town, on the road to an other cave called Water Cave. Both above mentioned caves state on fliers that they have hot spring baths but the one in Moon Water Cave appears to be artificially heated (ticket price ¥90).
- Impression Liu Sanjie. 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 the same person that did the Beijing Olympic games opening ceremony, is grand and impressive, but 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 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 accross 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 it's 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 higher than those in the rest of China but even so you will find that you get value for many 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), ☎ *86 773 8820866 ([email protected]), . Master Fu Neng Bin has won 17 gold medals in Tai Chi Chuan and was national push hands chapmion for five years. He is a 12th generation successor of Chen family Tai Chi Chuan and prefered 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), ☎ +86 13977350377 or +86 13677862400 ([email protected]), . 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), ☎ +86 (0)773-8822533 ([email protected]), . 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), ([email protected]), . Tai Chi and Qigong classes in a beautiful spot in the countryside near the Yulong River.
- Taiji with Master Huang, ☎ 13558136725, . 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. ¥40/hour.
- The People's Park Tai Chi Classes. 8:00AM Daily.
- Yangshuo Tai Chi School, . Tai Chi Teacher Training Courses
- Wang Zhi Ping Tai Chi Training Centre, (behind the park on Baoquan Road), . once off lessons, weekly and monthly rates, plus professional training in various forms of Tai Chi
- Yanghsuo Cooking School, ☎ 13788437286, . 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, ☎ (0) 13507838851. Run by Linda Liang and William Lu
- Chinese courses at Omeida Chinese Academy (Omeida Chinese Academy), (49 Longyue Rd. Yangshuo, Guilin, Guangxi, China), ☎ +86-773-8812233 ([email protected]). Omeida is a Chinese school based out of Yangshuo that provides a total-immersion program to foreigners interested in learning Chinese. The school provides the choice of 3 standard course types as well as 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!), ☎ (+86)13657832132 ([email protected]), . 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.
- Chinese Language Institute, ☎ (+86)13788587005, . A branch of Guangxi Normal University (GXNU) that expands upon GXNU's program to provide all students with 5-20 weekly hours of one-on-one lessons, options of home-stays and immersed housing with Chinese graduate students, weekly activities and monthly travel excursions around Yangshuo, Guilin, and Guangxi, 24-hour emergency assistance, pre-arrival assistance, and visa and housing assistance. CLI offers classes ranging from a few days, to a few weeks, to a semester, to an academic year. CLI benefits from being operated by an international staff. Frommer's 2012 said: "If you would like to extend your time in China, then we recommend the Chinese Language Institute in Guilin as one of the best places in the country to work on your Mandarin skills."
- Mandacentre, ☎ 13737399685 ([email protected]), . 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), ☎ 13878374343, . Study Mandarin or join a two-week Chinese Painting Holiday.
There are a number of banks located in town. 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. Be aware that not all banks have ATMs, and not all ATMs will handle foreign card transactions.
- T-shirt painting: Several artists line up on West Street, willing to paint your face or a famous face on a t-shirt.
- Vintage postcards of Yangshuo and scenic areas
- 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 horribly inflated. Here is a table based on some travellers' experience:
|| Asking price, in yuan elsewhere
|| Price paid (Yangshuo)
|| A local says it is worth (Yangshuo)
|| 50 for 3
|small silk scarves
|old silver dollars, nearly all counterfeit
|Wooden dolls with minority style clothes
|| up to 50
|| ¥20 for 10-12 dolls
|Half-meter (18") wooden Buddha
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.
Unlike other touristy places in China, shops in Yangshuo are notorious for overcharging not just because you are a tourist. They do it because you're a foreigner.
Many tourists, having no idea of the real Chinese price, are grossly overcharged. After all, even ¥120 (about $17 US) would be a great price for a nice pure silk tie back home.
Being rude at haggling usually gets you nowhere a basic ask-first-and-walk-away strategy will more likely work.
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 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.
See also How to haggle.
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
- Junxion Bookshop, 52 Guihua Lu (Opposite Alley Bar). A small bookshop with a good selection of new and used books at discount prices. Also stocks a good range of DVDs, rolling papers, tobacco and other useful supplies for the traveller far from home. The friendly staff can help you out with right about every question you might have about Yangshuo. They also offer English Tea, coffee and other beverages.
- 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, 13321730517, (). 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, 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 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.
Another cheap solution is eat on the several Chinese self-service line up on Chengzhong Road, just before the Hospital, where they fry your selection of vegetables and meat.
- 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 jiou 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 (1kg), 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. There is another, brand new one, opposite the Gas Station on Pantau Rd.
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", an euphemism for weird tastes among local people. Prices in those places are also higher than average Chinese standard. 15-40 Yuan 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 from 12 am. Serves mostly steaks, pizza, burgers and drinks. The steaks are great and Pizza, starting from around RMB 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 9 and free internet.
- Buffalo Bar, Xianqian Jie. It Closed January 2011
- Minority Cafe, Guihua Lu (A few doors down from Backstreet Cafe 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 Street (near center of West Street). all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet: ¥32 Excellent value if you are hungry or want a lot of coffee. Ghastly croissants but the rest is good..
- Cafe Mimosa, 16 Gui Hua Road (Half way between Minority Cafe and Kelly's), ☎ 0139 7735 1239. A very friendly small cafe with excellent breakfasts that include bacon, sausage, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms and baked beans. Western meals come with British style chips rather than American style fries.
- Cafe Too, 7 Cheng Zhong Road. Has English books to read, buy or trade.
- Green Lotus, 100 West Street (next to Youth Hostel). Expensive.
- Dosa U.K., 110D Yang Guang, ☎ 1-89-3480-9877. 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. for INdian
- Karst Cafe, Xianqian Jie. Climber hangout with good pizza (if you've been in China long - but don't spring for the stuffed crust), comfortable sofas, and wireless internet.
- London Tavern, Gui Hua Rd.. 4.00 p.m. until late. English style pub opened in August 2012. Run by two Brits who cook good quality authentic English favourites like fish and chips, bangers and mash as well as a wonderful Sunday roast. 28RMB to 70RMB.
- Lucy's Place, 5, Guihua Rd., ☎ 13977351663. 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), ☎ 86-773-8778189, . 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. $5-6/plate.
- 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 of 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, Xianqian Jie. Good cocktails, happy hour from 6PM to 8PM, great music, wireless internet, 2nd floor lounge and open late.
- Nature's Cup, 15 Binjian Road (Follow Li River north towards the school - across from the ping pong tables), ☎ 15078960100. 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), ☎ 086-0773-8816268, . 8:00-23:00. 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. $3-6/plate.
- Soul Cafe, Guihua Lu (opposite Kelly's Cafe). A great coffee house.
- Twin Peaks Cafe, West Street. 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. WARNING: 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 to 10 yuan.
- 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 steet 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. more info
- 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 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 rmb 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), ☎ 0773-8868387. 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.
- Pure Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant (暗香疏影 素菜馆)  — Down near the river end of Die Cie Lu. Very yummy food - XO "steak" and vegetable balls and carmelized taro.
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. But beware 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 5 or 6AM and other nights are shut by midnight. They often change the opening and closing hour from days to days so better check it up by yourself.
Entrance fees are not common but in special occassions they may have minimum charge for each table. The cheapest beer often starts from Y25.
As with Guilin, the local drink is Guilin Three-flower Wine, although most people prefer a 700ml bottle of Liquan which is sold in between Y8 to Y10 in a bar catering for the Westerners. On the contrary, a bar or pub catering for Chinese tourists often charge at least Y20 for a 350ml bottle of beer. Many of the bars have Y50 bottles of Jack and Coke.
- Bar 98. If you're a climber this is the place to go. Right in the middle of town, on the water. Wireless internet and a pool table. The mixed drinks are real - a lot of Chinese run places have very weak drinks that aren't worth the price. Also, just a nice bar feel with out the too-loud pop music. Update: Has been taken over this year by a pair of aggressive halfwits. no longer worth visiting, such a shame.
- 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.
- Kaya, Guihua Lu 47 (Next to Dr Lily Li). A reggae bar, although with a larger range of music. Often has good live music (permanent open mic) and very laidback atmosphere. Also has a branch in Guilin city. 10 kuai local beers, 15 kuai standard mixers as well as a wide range of cocktails and other drinks. Shisha 35kuai. 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 night's on Tuesday nights often attract a good crowd. Check out the Tsingtao dark beer on tap, really good!
- Mono Roof-top Bar, lianfeng lane #44 (Just off West St, opposite Cavalier Bar), ☎ 0773-8821717 or mobile 13377324477 ([email protected]). Open 8pm, Close late. Newly opened bar. 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 Alley - Yangshuo Beer Bar & Restaurant, Guihua Road, ([email protected]), . 12 am till late. The Alley Yangshuo Beer Bar is 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 Yuan for a local beer.
- The London Tavern - Bar & Restaurant, Guihua Road. 4pm until 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. Opened in Summer 2012 it has quickly become 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 8:30.
There are many places to stay in Yangshuo from ¥20/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....
Noise: 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 2AM.
- Breeze Inn, 30 Furong Road ([email protected]), ☎ +86 773 8815959, . In a quiet street just 4 min walk from West St. Great mountain views. Wi-fi plus free internet on in-house computers. From ¥100.
- Climbers Inn, 66 Guihua Rd (in little alley right across from Insight (50 feet from Spiderman)), ☎ +86 773 8814370 ([email protected]), . 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, oppisite Yangshuo Park), ☎ 0773 8822538 ([email protected]). Probably the busiest hostel in the off season. Internet, free wifi, bike rental and laundry service. Dorm ¥20 (members ¥15), twin ¥70-100, 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.
- 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 DVD's, free WI-FI. Hit and miss on the cleanliness of the rooms, but tour desk is more then helpful when you are trying to organize your days.
- 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)), ☎ +86 773 8777688 ([email protected]), . 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 road Yangshuo, ☎ +86 773 8881289 (fax: +86 773 8881289), . dorms starting from ¥ 20.
- Riverside Lodge, Government Front Road (not far from the river, north from West St), ☎ +86 773 8824279. 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 recently renovated rooms with air conditioning, bike rental is also possible without deposit. ¥70.
- 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), ☎ +86 773 6919780, . checkin: 24 hrs; checkout: 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), ☎ +86 773 8820933 ([email protected]).
- Blue Lotus, near middle of West St. Shower, TV, and Western toilets. Singles ¥60.
- Fawlty Towers, (on the main street (opposite the Bus Station)), . Decent rooms, helpful staff. ¥50 (private room, off-season).
- 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), ☎ +86 773 8828696. 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), ([email protected]), . 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 enviroment. Aircon, WIFI, Traditional Chinese homecooked dinners, rooftop lounge with dvdplayer 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), ☎ +86 773 8813899 ([email protected]), . 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)), ☎ +86 773 8817109, . 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, pooltable, 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, ☎ +86 773 8822688, . ¥200.
- RockAbond Inn, 23 FuQian Rd, ☎ +86 773-8822325 ([email protected]), . Quiet street, home cooking, full bar, friendly, english speaking. Owned/operated by Abond (best climber in China) and his wife Ting. Free wifi. Relaxed and fun hotel with 10 clean/cute rooms that each have a different theme. All rooms have private toilet/shower, air conditioning, and TV. Ting is also helpful setting you up with river raft, Longji rice terraces, etc. From ¥80-120 ($12-18/night).
- 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, ☎ +86-773-8822533 ([email protected]), . 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, (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 6PM (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, seems to be a bit less active as he does not practice tai-chi with guests. But he is very helpful and friendly with any needs or questions you might have. ¥70.
- 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 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 to 480 yuan.
- 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), ☎ +86 773 8817023 ([email protected]). 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 ¥80-160.
- 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. +86 773 8828950.
- 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), ☎ +86 773 8819288 (fax: +86 773 8819218), . 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), ☎ +86 773 8778999 ([email protected]), . 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), ☎ +86 7738826879 ([email protected]), . 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, ☎ +86 773 8777091 ([email protected]), . 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, ☎ +86 773 8776369 ([email protected]). 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.
- Xi Town Riverview Inn, (Fu An dock, at the end of the small road next to Green Lotus), ([email protected]). checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00. A new hotel on the bank of the Li river. Almost all of its 35 rooms have a river view, the best ones have a huge balcony overlooking the river and the karst mountains. 308-488 Yuan.
The post office is on Pantao Lu, opposite the top end of West Street. It's open from 8AM until 9PM.
Being the first backpackers' destination in China in the 1980s, Yangshuo is a well developed touristy place which, sadly, comes along with many annoyances that are not common in other places in China. Some wikitravelers call Yangshuo the worst place in China for overcharging, persistent touts and tour pimps, and illegal occupancy of a route to extort money from tourists.
On the West street, besides annoying pimps 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 an illegal checkpoint to request Y20 for any entrance. Rock climbers have also experienced similar practices on some hills.
Pickpockets are rare now, particularly as Yangshuo has installed security cameras in tourist areas. 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 occurence, 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-yuan 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 1am, 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's 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.
- 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 (2PM) or picked up in Nanning the next day (7PM). 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 8:00AM, 11:30AM, and 3:30PM daily. Tickets cost ¥150. This cost includes a free water when you get on the bus. There is no actual stall for the Nanning bus at the Yangshuo bus station, but it will pull in on the North side of the parking lot for the buses. Just show one of the many workers there your ticket and they will direct you. In Nanning, the bus stops in the Langdong bus terminal. This is the terminal that the bus to Hanoi leaves from as well, and tickets for that bus can be purchased upstairs and on the south end of the station for ¥148. This price includes a water and bread when you get on the bus, as well as lunch halfway through the journey.
- 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 Y180-200, 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.
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