After traveling through several large Chinese cities, I thought I had seen enough of China. I was overwhelmed (and partly underwhelmed) by the pollution, crowded subways, and huge shopping centers stocked with knock-offs which are characteristic of many Chinese cities. Once I stepped foot in Yangshuo, I completely changed my mind. There is so much more to China than the popular big cities. For more reasons than one, Yangshuo is by far my favorite destination in China.
Here are just a few highlights:
Yulong River Tour
The Yulong River tour is absolutely breathtaking. You have the chance to cruise down the gorgeous river seated in a bamboo raft. Of course, this is still China. Along the tour, you will find rafts selling water guns and beer. For some it may tarnish the experience, but the tour should not be missed. If you’re lucky, your guide may even let you steer the raft. Spoiler: It’s not as easy as it looks!
Ticket cost: Prices for the Yulong River tour start at 150 yuan per person for a two-person journey. Tickets start at 200 yuan for a single journey. It’s best to book through your hotel as the costs spike though individual agents.
The lively market is chock full of good food, delicious snacks, and souvenirs. The restaurants can range on the pricier side. I’d recommend eating dinner off of the main street and eating snacks in the market.
The wilder side of the night market has many bars and clubs. The night market begins around 5pm each night.
Many tourists come to Yangshuo just to get a peak at one of China’s most celebrated sights. Xingping Village is home to the view captured on the Chinese 20 yuan note.
This village is full of charm. Along the river, you will find many inspired artists painting the views. It’s a great way to casually spend a few hours.
Buses to the Xingping south bus station from Yangshuo costs 8 yuan. The total trip takes about 45 min to 1 hour.
Hiking the TV Tower
Looking for a quick hike during a short weekend in Yangshuo? Hiking the TV tower is your best bet. The top of the TV tower gives you an unmatched view of the city. The hike takes about 2.5-3 hours.
Ask your hotel for directions. If you’d prefer a guided hike, the Wada Hostel gathers a group for a sunset hike every night at 5pm weather permitting.
Wada Hostel (阳朔瓦当青年旅舍)
No. 43 Pan Tao Road, Yangshuo, Guilin
Guilin vs Yangshuo
When deciding on travel to Yangshuo, the inevitable Guilin vs Yangshuo debate will arise. If you only have a few days, I’d recommend skipping Guilin and heading straight to Yangshuo. Although it has a few natural attractions, Guilin isn’t too different from the average Chinese city.
Getting to Yangshuo
Presently, you need to pass through Guilin to get to Yangshuo.
Take a bus to Guilin South bus station. There you will find the bus to Yangshuo. Tickets cost 22 yuan. Make sure to have Yangshuo written in characters to show the ticket agent if you don’t speak Chinese.
There are also a wealth of buses departing from Guanzhuo and Shenzhen. However, due to traffic and difficult road conditions, taking the bus to Yangshuo is less than ideal.
I hope you love Yangshuo as much as I do. Happy traveling!