Yangshuo (阳朔; Yáng shuò) is a small town (by Chinese standards) surrounded by karst mountains and beautiful scenery near Guilin. It has been a popular backpacker destination since the 1980s and the surrounding area has excellent rock climbing opportunities which attract another large group of tourists, As a result, it has seen much development and now gets many tour groups, mostly but by no means all Chinese. There is also a community of resident foreigners.

Yangshuo Town is the county seat for Yangshuo County; county population is about 300,000 with most of them in the town. This article concentrates on the town but also covers some expeditions into the countryside. There is a county website, but as of March 2015 it is in Chinese only.


The town, seen from a nearby hill

Yangshuo is popular for its incredible karst scenery, beautiful mountains, rivers, caves, and temples as well as its laid back cafes and bars. However, as a result, there is no shortage of mainland Chinese tourists, expats and other foreigners.

Yangshuo is not a typical Chinese town and does not have the big-city feel of other Chinese cities. That means it is relatively air and noise pollution free, (provided you get away from major roadways), is very clean (by Chinese standards) and does not usually suffer from endless massive traffic chaos. It is much more like a vacation town, with wonderful restaurants and shops and again quite developed by mainland Chinese standards. It is also a nice place to stop and explore the local countryside by bike or even try your hand on the world class rock-climbing sites.

Yangshuo has a reputation as a foreigners' village in Southern China and is a major stop for many independent travellers. It is on the Hong Kong to Kunming overland route and the Chinese offshoot of the backpakers' Banana Pancake Trail through Southeast Asia.


Looking up West Street from near the river

Businesses in Yangshuo such as restaurants, bars and guide services frequently move — so frequently that they may not even bother posting their street address. If you cannot find a business where you think it is, it's very possible that it hasn't gone bankrupt but simply moved to another location. Ask the locals or check the current location online.

The main tourist area of Yangshuo is laid out roughly like a ladder. The two main tourist streets run more-or-less parallel up from the river and end at one of the town's larger streets. There are assorted smaller streets (rungs) crossing between the two larger streets. The street (ladder vertical) on the left seen from the River is West Street (西街 Xijie) and is the older more established tourist street, the real centre of things. The other long tourist street is Diecuilu (畳翠路).

There is a small creek that runs down the centre of the ladder; some of the prettiest bars and restaurants in town are on balconies near it. The street there is called Guiha Lu. It has recently undergone heavy rebuilding and now has many new shops, bars and restaurants. Toward the river end, it curves to intersect Diecielu.

At the foot of the ladder by the river is an open area with a large number of vendors hawking all sorts of tourist stuff, both from shops and from handcarts. There are also a number of rather nice riverside hotels.

Across the top of the ladder is a major street (Pantao Rd) with many hotels. The town's main bus station is at the corner where that main street meets Die Cui Lu. The intersection has a large open area that becomes very busy at night, with dozens of restaurants and hundreds of diners. Do not expect English menus or non-Chinese dishes.

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) 13.6 13.8 17.8 23.5 28.3 31.1 33.3 33.3 31.8 27.3 21.3 16.5
Nightly lows (°C) 5.6 7.0 11.0 15.9 20.3 22.9 24.4 23.9 21.8 17.2 11.7 6.9
Precipitation (mm) 50 86 120 147 322 321 193 188 93 74 57 47



Get in

By plane

Yangshuo has no airport. The nearest airport is Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (airport code KWL) in Guilin, served by many Asian carriers with several daily flights from Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. It is generally cheaper to fly to Guilin from Shenzhen than from Hong Kong, just across the border as flights from Shenzhen are considered a domestic flight, whereas from Hong Kong is international. There is also a daily flight from Kuala Lumpur by Air Asia.

An airport shuttle operates non-stop between Guilin Aiport and Yangshuo taking around 90 minutes. Tickets can be purchased in Guilin airport close to the arrivals exit. Buses leave from outside the airport and travel to the Yangshuo northern bus station. There are departures from Guilin Airport at 09:30, 11:30, 13:30, 15:30, 17:00, 18:30, 20:00 and 22:30. Tickets cost 50 yuan per person.

An easy but comparatively costly way to get to Yangshuo is by taxi. It is far better to have your pick-up arranged by your hotel as waiting taxi drivers at Guilin will overcharge you and drivers generally do not know anything else in Yangshuo than the bus station where they will drop you off and you need to arrange transportation from there onwards. Expect to pay between ¥260-400 depending on the vehicle, and depending on whether you take the G65 Baomao highway (additional ¥30 for toll fees but saves about half an hour). 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 40 km/h on the regular road.

By train

Yangshuo has no train station itself, however it has a number of close by train stations.

The nearest railway station with the most amount of trains servicing 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(¥15, 50–60 minutes).

GongCheng is a high speed railway station that opened in 2014. Now offering high speed trains to and from Guizhou, Guangdong and Shenzhen, it is become the most popular method of travelling to and from the Guangdong/Hong Kong region. Trains to and from Shenzhen now only take 3 hours. To travel from GongCheng Railway Station to Yangshuo, take the public bus to the GongCheng Bus Station (10 minutes) and the bus to Yangshuo (40 minutes).

XingPing has a high speed railway station and also operates trains to and from Guangdong.

By bus

From Guilin, there are frequent minibuses and express buses to Yangshuo. There are two services, private and government run.

Private buses depart from the square in front of the Guilin Railway Station (80–90 minutes, ¥18, buy tickets on the bus once it is underway. Invariably touts will try to sell you a more expensive ticket before the bus departs, even coming onto the bus. The best approach is simply to ignore them. Be aware that if the bus is not full enough to the driver's liking, they will delay in order to get more passengers. This bus will stop to let on and take on passengers en route.

The government run service are express buses that depart every twenty minutes from the Guilin Bus Terminal off Zhongshan Zhong Lu and take about one and a half hour (¥22, buy tickets from counter inside terminal).

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.

Note: Buses from Guangdong really don't go to the bus station; they just let you off in town, a ten-minute walk from the main tourist area following the signs to West Street.

By boat

Li River

There are also boats that travel down the Li River from Guilin, slower and more expensive (¥400+) than buses, but a very scenic journey. You may be able to travel for about ¥100 by joining a tour group. You will pass some of China's most famous scenic views, including a mountain view that can be seen on all ¥20 bills. Do check with your travel agent or hotel which boat you will be on as standards can vary a lot. Ask for a picture to be sure it is what you had in mind. Do not go with the CITS travel agents that approach you just when you get off the train and will either overcharge or sell you devalued trips in their office inside the train station.

In the winter time, which is the dry season, the boats often only travel starting halfway down the Li River from Guilin. A tour company should inform you of this. It is still worth taking the journey. You will then travel part of the way by bus or private taxi, then join the boat where the water is deep enough (this may vary).

In case you do not come on a Li River cruise, numerous boat trips on motorized rafts can be booked anywhere in Yangshuo. It is also very nice to hike the most scenic part between Yangdi and Xing Ping.

Get around

By bike

Renting a bike and taking off into the countryside, with or without a guide, is one popular strategy for exploring the area. There are several places around the main street catering for short-term rentals charging ¥20-50.

Most times you get what you paid for. Be sure to check brakes and gears before you set off so not to get your day spoiled by mechanical problems that could be avoided. Generally the SPX, Giant's and Hunter's are the brands to go for. Expect to pay ¥50 for a TREK-bicycle, the best ones to be found here. If you want to play it safe, some places will get you a helmet for extra.

Beware of robbers who operate on a motorbike and will try to snatch your camera, rucksack or handbag from the basket behind if you leave it open. Try to one that closes and lock it with your bike lock.

By motorbike

There are a number of motorbike rental options available throughout Yanghsuo. Generally they can be found at the same locations as bike rentals, particularly at the top of West Street. Be aware that it is illegal to operate any petrol driven vehicile without a Chinese license, in saying this police seem to turn a blind eye to scooters but may stop you if riding a motorbike. Electric scooters do not require a license and typically get around 40 kilometres on a battery charge. Expect to pay around 100 yuan for a day, petrol driven vehiciles often come with a empty tank. At least two guesthouses offer motorbike rent:

By taxi

Taxis in Yangshuo are very few compared to other bigger cities, because they are limited by the government. They are more expensive than elsewhere in China, and they will all refuse to use the meter if they have any; thus you have to bargain and agree to a price before getting on. Taxi drivers will ask you ¥25-30 for a ride within the town (from 100m to 3 km), but, after bargaining, you can easily achieve a price of ¥10 for the aforementioned distance.

There are numerous open air three wheel style taxis and motorbike taxis. Agree to a price before getting on and bargain hard. If you are staying outside of the main town, try to arrange transport in advance if you want to avoid haggling or being ripped off. Some hotels offer free or low-price shuttle services, and it is often a good ideal to take advantage of these services. For a trip about 5 km outside of town the various taxis (normal, three wheel, motorbike) will ask at least ¥35, but the final price can be lower after bargaining.

By motorbike taxi

On many street corners there are men waiting on their motorbike. They will take you anywhere in town for a fee of ¥8 to ¥15 within town.

By foot

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.

By boat

There are boat tours up or down the river.

By bus

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 each way, pay when getting off or when the girl comes around, and please have small bills or exact change. After climbing just go back to where you got dropped off and you'll be picked up shortly. Last returning bus picks up Egg climbers at 18:30.

By car

It is possible to hire private cars for others.

Tour guides

Most hostels or hotels can arrange transportation and a guide if you want one. A guide may be very helpful for things like cycling tours. Guides can also be found at 'Expat Services' on Chenzhong Rd, next to 7th Heaven.

Alternately, you can choose your own tourist guide by working out a deal with one of the many who will accost you on the street. Some local guides are simply savvy street wise individuals trying to make some money, whilst others are registered and take government examinations. Expect to pay around ¥100 a person per day. Whilst some of the unlicensed guides can be very good at what they do, be careful that you are not simply being taken on a 'shopping' tour where you feel pressured into spending money you do not wish to.

If you want to go and see a larger region or even start a tour to the rest of the province or the neighboring provinces, you can get in touch with one of the local foreigner-run travel services. They can give you good advice or organize an authentic-orientated private tour for you with your own car/driver and experienced tour guide.

As elsewhere in Asia, many shops pay commissions to guides who bring in customers, such shops are usually overpriced, and some guides will take you only to those places. To get good prices, go shopping without a guide and be prepared to bargain hard. See the #Buy section below for more information.


Moon Hill
Image taken from Moon Hill

Karst landscape

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.



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. 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:

Other outdoor activities

A Xiangui bridge crossing the Yulong river outside of Yangshuo, China
The trail from Xingping to Yangdi



Martial arts

Yangshuo is an excellent place to learn martial arts in China especially the internal styles known as Tai Chi. This is the set of slow movements that you may have seen people performing in parks across China. It can be practiced for health or as a martial art and there are many schools in the area around Yangshuo. Each school has its own special qualities, but each will give you a really good foundation in the form no matter if you stay for a day or a year. Prices in Yangshuo tend to be 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.



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.


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.

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.

Tourist stuff

There is a huge amount of touristy stuff available:

Much of this stuff is lovely, really very tempting. However, quite a bit of it is fake and nearly all of it is available all over China and cheaper outside of Yangshuo.

Asking prices for such stuff in Yangshuo are usually seriously inflated. Here is a table based on one travellers' experience:

Itemasking pricePrice paid
silk ties18-2075-12050 RMB for 3
small silk scarvesunknown80-10020
large scarf/wrap80120-15050

Getting the prices shown took hard bargaining, often based on knowledge of prices elsewhere. Of course, even those may not be the best possible prices.

Many tourists, having no idea of the real Chinese price, are grossly overcharged. After all, even ¥120 (about $19 US) would be a great price for a nice pure silk tie back home.

Advice for tourists who have no idea what the Chinese price should be:

If you plan to travel to other Chinese cities, you might want to do your purchases elsewhere. Apart from a few specific items, most of what you see in Yangshuo may be found anywhere, with much better chances of paying a fair price.

See also Bargaining.

Local goods

There are also a few things not usually available elsewhere:

You should also bargain on these, of course.

Other interesting things

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.

Local specialties:

When you buy fish, the price on the menu is customarily quoted per 500g, called 斤 (jin). A larger fish may cost you well over ¥100. For 3-4 people, a fish with 2 jins (1 kg), along with 3-4 more other dishes, is usually enough.

There are more than one species of fish cooked with beer. Each with its own unique texture and taste. For example, MaoGu fish (毛骨鱼) has the least amount of bones.

The local cuisine can be spicy and contain MSG but you can request keeping them out. However, for a big fan of chillies, local dining place, including an Indian restaurant, tend to assume westerners can't take any real spicy food no matter how you insist it.

Western and Indian food

Many cafes in Yangshuo offer burgers, shepherd's pie, and a Western breakfast, however authentic western foods are still rare. The quality of Chinese foods in those western restaurants are hit or miss, sometimes regarded as "Chinese foods in a western style", a euphemism for weird tastes among local people. Prices in those places are also higher than average Chinese standard. ¥15-40 for a coffee, ¥40 for a pizza and ¥30 for a slice of cake is common. A general guideline is that the best Chinese restaurants do not serve Western food, the opposite counts too.

Most of the staff in these places speak reasonable English, a few excellent. Free WiFi is usually provided and several also have a computer terminal available.

Chinese food

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 ¥3-10.




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.

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 05:00 or 06:00 and other nights are shut by midnight. They often change the opening and closing hour from day to day so check it yourself.

Entrance fees are not common but on special occasions they may have minimum charge for each table. The cheapest beer often starts from ¥25.


As with Guilin, the local drink is Guilin Three-flower Wine, although most people prefer a 700ml bottle of Liquan which is sold in between ¥8-10 in a bar catering for the Westerners. On the contrary, a bar or pub catering for Chinese tourists often charge at least ¥20 for a 350ml bottle of beer. Many of the bars have ¥50 bottles of Jack and Coke.


There are many places to stay in Yangshuo from ¥40/night for a dorm room through US$100/night for a luxury bungalow. Hotel touts are to be found around the main bus station but best avoided. Prices are very negotiable in the off season, and the asking price will be many times lower than that advertised on signs in the hotel lobby. Don't be afraid to negotiate. Know the name of your hotel in Chinese, and best also the name of the location in Chinese, e.g. name of the street. It will be helpful for non-Mandarin speakers, bear in mind even local Chinese may get the name wrong due to the sound in pronunciation, a writing is better than thousand words....

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 02:00.





The post office is on Pantao Lu, opposite the top end of West Street. It's open from 08:00-21:00.

Most hotels, bar and restaurants operate a free Wifi for their customers. Just ask for the Wifi password.

Stay safe

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 travelers 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 a checkpoint to request ¥20 for any entrance. Rock climbers have also experienced similar practices on some hills.

Pickpockets in the town are rare now, particularly as Yangshuo has installed security cameras in tourist areas. Be vigilant on buses, when travelling from or to Guilin, the government run non-stop bus service is safer than the private operations. Reports of bag snatching by motorbike are frequently heard, the most common form are thieves using motorbikes to snatch bags in rear baskets of bicycling tourists; keep your bags locked to the bike and if a cage cover is provided with the basket, close and lock it, or better yet, carry belongings in front of you. Thieves will take opportunities presented to them, so keep all your valuables in sight at all times.

Theft reports are frequently made from swimmers. Despite numerous reports of theft, particularly at the Secret Beach (Shuan Tan), petty theft continues to thrive almost to a daily occurrence, and police seem disinterested in targeting the criminals. Thieves will go for bags and valuables, but have also been known to take even petty objects of seemingly no value. Do yourself a favor and bring only the necessities for swimming.

Touts of bamboo rafts for Yangdi to Xingping, a route best known for its landscape printed on the background of a ¥20 banknote, are notorious for a system to "claim" the ownership of a tourist. Once you talk to the touts on the bus, no one else can discuss the price with you except the touts from their own team. If you want to hassle by yourself instead of reserving a bamboo raft from a travel agency, DO NOT talk to any touts on the bus.

At nights, Yangshuo is safe but after 01:00, the streets are dark and you better carry your torch. In some bars popular with western tourists, boozers can also be disturbing and aggressive. Noise pollution is a major problem in hotels and on streets as in most of China. Pick your location wisely or bring ear plugs if holed up in the entertainment district.

Traffic regulations, if any, are also practiced half-heartedly. Pedestrians should not expect a driver to stop at a green cross-walk sign and motorbikes can come in any directions even on a pedestrian'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.

Lastly, Yangshuo Police have taken a proactive step towards being more approachable by tourists. A few designated police deal almost exclusively with foreigners and their English is extremely good. Yangshuo Police have tracked thieves down, caught culprits and managed to return stolen valuables. There is a small police box at the top of West Street or a larger police station on FuQian Xiang.

Go next


Further outside of town

Because Yangshuo is popular with backpacking tourists, you'll find a range of services and agencies not commonly found in China. There are ample places that sell plane tickets to all other provincial capitals and some international destinations. There are also bus and sleeper bus services available towards Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Kunming. Train tickets (which will depart from Guilin) are also available.

There are tickets available all the way to Hanoi in Vietnam. These aren't easily available elsewhere, and can save quite a bit of hassle at the China/Vietnam border. Vietnamese visas can also be obtained in Yangshuo in 2 days (14:00) or picked up in Nanning the next day (19:00). Call +86(0)773-8822533 for more information. They also offer bus tours to Hanoi for a most convenient journey.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, January 29, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.