Yangshuo (阳朔) is an extremely popular tourist destination in Guangxi Province.
Getting There and Away
The most popular way to reach the area is by boat from Guilin, the capital of the province along the Li River.
We took the highspeed train from Guangzhou Railway to Guilin North after work on a Friday, and stayed at the Guilin Hongsheng Hotel, about a block and a half away from the train station.
Although you can probably figure out taking the boat from Guilin to Yangshuo yourself, we went though the Concierge at the Amari Hotel in Yangshuo to arrange the tickets. We paid 450 RMB each for the boat, which included a driver who picked us up from our hotel and helped us get tickets.
The boat trip is approximately 4 hours and is incredibly beautiful. In fact, one of the views along the river became the picture on the back of the 20 RMB note.
Yangshuo also has a high-speed railway, which is fairly far outside of town but much closer than Guilin. If you can’t get a train out of Yangshuo Station, there are busses you can take to Guilin.
It’s very easy to walk around downtown Yangshuo, which centers around West Street. There are lots of places for shopping, restaurants (Chinese and Western style food), and bars. There are even clubs where half naked women dance in the window, which got a lot of window-gazers because such things are rarely seen in China.
You can stay downtown, but there are also plenty of car taxis and motorcycle taxis around if you stay a bit further away.
We stayed at the Riverside Retreat, which was absolutely beautiful and has a pool! There’s a ferry that takes you across the river to downtown, but it was a bit hard for us to find from the non-hotel side.
Getting around Yangshuo
There are plenty of car and motorcycle taxis. If you take a motorcycle taxi, make sure you negotiate the price ahead of time.
You can also rent electric scooters or bicycles from your hotel or from vendors around the city. We spent one day biking around with the electric scooter, which was a lot of fun.
Things to do in Yangshuo
Our first day was the boat trip from Guilin to Yangshuo. I highly recommend this!
Here’s a link to a video of the view from the boat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGLvoI2b8TA&feature=youtu.be
Be sure to check out the Yangshuo photo gallery for more pictures.
Just outside of downtown, there is an area called Ten-Mile Gallery that has a lot of different tourist sites. This is very popular among tour groups, so go early! Each tourist site has an entrance fee. You can visit as many or as few as you want, but I’d recommend figuring out what your priorities are and hitting up those first.
We made two stops at the gallery: Moon Hill and at Silver Cave. Although Yangshuo has been on our to-visit list, Moon Hill was actually our catalyst to go to Moon Hill over a three-day weekend last September – it was a photo that showed up on the computer lock screen, and we spent about 30 minutes trying to figure out where it was.
Silver Cave was really cool too. In addition to seeing some interesting cave formations, which are all lit up, there were hot springs and a mud bath. You can also pay to have fish eat dead skin off your feet – which I definitely recommend doing, but we passed up on that here.
After finishing up at Ten-Mile Gallery, we drove around the countryside, enjoying the view and stopping at a couple of the little towns listed on the map from the hotel.
For a video of the countryside, check out this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSgbOjLC15E
We took the ferry from the hotel to downtown, then a motor taxi up to take a bamboo raft tour along the Yulong River. This tour was about an hour, and they had a box to keep our bags and shoes dry.
After we got off the bamboo rafts, we rented bicycles from the dock, which we were able to drop off downtown, where we wandered around a city park for some more views.