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Yangshuo’s 2 Day Trip: What to Do?

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According to me, it’s completely geared towards tourists, particularly westerners. As I made my way towards Yangshuo, a southern Chinese city, I thought, “Great, just the kind of place that I dislike.” Although Yangshuo’s downtown caters to tourists from the west, there is so much more to the city that the bars and restaurants of West Street. I avoided Yangshuo’s tourist centre as much as possible, but fell in love with the beautiful surroundings and picturesque bike trails. You must visit Yangshuo if you are in Guangxi and Guilin. It’s second only after the Longji Rice Terraces. This two-day itinerary will show you Yangshuo’s natural beauty.

Day 1: What to do in Yangshuo

Bamboo Raft to Yangshuo’s Yulong River

Although the Li River is the most well-known, Yangshuo can be reached via a slower journey down the Yulong River. The Yulong River, a tributary to the Li River, is where bamboo rafting is possible. This is not an option on the Li River.

Yulong River bamboo rafting

Two people can use the rafts, which cost Y=320 for a full-length trip. The rafts are hand-rowed by one or more of the local oarsmen who are waiting in rotation. The river can feel crowded at launch. However, there are rafts available for hire for shorter loops. It becomes a calm and peaceful trip down the Yulong River once you’ve gotten past the initial 5-10 minute mark.Yangshuo Yulong River

The Yulong River, like its larger cousin, is lined by many karst formations that are covered in lush greenery. Although the river isn’t very deep, there are many small drops that your oarsman can navigate with ease. These drops are reminiscent of the Thunder Mountain roller coaster at Disney.Yulong River waterfall

Trips are only one-way. You can be picked up by your driver at the end, or you can ride with the raft operators if you’ve biked or driven yourself.

See Picturesque Villages and Ancient Bridges

Yangshuo is surrounded with picturesque villages, which are great for a relaxing walk or a photo shoot. The region is home to many ancient bridges, which are very popular among local couples for wedding or engagement photos. With their serene waterways, symmetrical architecture and lush overgrowth, it’s easy to see why. Fuli Bridge is one of the most well-known in the village.fuli bridge yangshuo

The Scenic Ten Mile Gallery: Cycle through

You can rent a bicycle to go on an afternoon adventure for Y=10 per day. Ask your hostel for directions to the Ten-Mile Gallery (also known as Shili Hualang in Chinese). The Ten-Mile Gallery was named so that you can cycle or walk down the scenic stretch of road like you are in a painting. It is also home to many viewpoints and natural attractions. The north gate of Ten-Mile Gallery Scenic Area is the most convenient entrance for foreign tourists. As you drive along the asphalt road, look out for clearly marked signs to spot farmers in their fields. You will then be able to see the Yulong River at Gongnong Bridge from a different angle.Yulong River Gongnong Bridge

Although the scenic area can be accessed for free, all attractions along the path will require admission at different rates. There are many attractions, including butterfly springs, caves that have mud swimming pools and ancient banyan trees.

Yangshuo moon hill

You have the option to either exit the Ten-Mile Gallery Scenic Area via a south gate and return via another route to Yangshuo, or you can turn around and go back to the original way. This path is full of beautiful and amazing details that I would not mind returning to. You can also explore the local villages by following dirt roads and cement roads if you have plenty of time.

Day 2: What to do in Yangshuo

Cruise down the Li River

A cruise down the Li River is a must for any trip to Guilin-Yangshuo. If you are planning to do the entire Guilin–to-Yangshuo route I recommend a shorter rafting trip, unless you have the time or money.

You can take minibuses from Yangshuo to Xingping, where you can go on a rafting tour along the famous sections of the Li River. The official ticket is required to use the rafts. This makes it more difficult to negotiate than in previous years. The bamboo rafts have been replaced by PVC pipe-rafts. Each raft can hold 4 people and costs Y=216. You can purchase the empty seats for Y=25 each, which is directly paid to the boat handler if you have fewer than four people. Book the night before through a Yangshuo travel agent to save money. We paid Y=110 per person including roundtrip transport.

The launch dock houses one of the most iconic landmarks of the Li River: the famous karst mountain feature on the back of Y=20.Li River 20 yuan

Pro tip: Make sure you take this photo on the walkway before heading down to the dock. It can be very crowded in the river, so it is difficult to take a photo with your phone.

Another landmark is the Nine Horses Fresco Hill. You will see the nine horses if you have enough imagination.li river cruise

Laozhai Mountain offers a workout and an aerial view.

While most people will continue their journey after the raft trip on Li River, the best view of the famous waterway can be seen from land, especially from the top of Laozhai Mountain, the town of Xingping. After you have disembarked from the Li River River raft, go to town and ask for Laozhai Mountain. There are no signs to indicate it because the mountain trails have been abandoned. Luckily, Xingping, which is a key point of the Li River’s launch, has many English-speaking tour guides that can direct you in the right direction.

Take care when you climb up Laozhai Mountain. There is no maintenance at this location (although there are many signs to remind you of it) so be careful and steady. Attention to those who are afraid of heights: To continue up the ladder, you will need to climb a narrow and steep ladder. The pavilion offers spectacular views once you reach the top. You can also climb to the top of the rocks for 360-degree views. However, there are no safety precautions and people have had difficulty getting down.

It’s well worth the climb to get a bird’s-eye view!Li River Laozhai Mountain

Get on the West Street

Although West Street is crowded with tourists from all over the world, you should still visit Yangshuo to see West Street. You can explore the streets early so you don’t get rushed by crowds. The ancient West Street, Yangshuo’s oldest street, is truly an east-meets–west street that blends the modern with the old. There are many restaurants that sell the local specialty beer fish, as well as German beer gardens. You might also consider purchasing artisan pottery after enjoying freshly baked osmanthus cakes.West Street Yangshuo local eats

Take it slow along West Street and the alleys around. Take the time to try local cuisines, shop in the many shops, and enjoy Yangshuo’s lights and crowds.

west street yangshuo vendor basket fruit

Are you familiar with Yangshuo? Which would you prefer, Yangshuo or Langsheng?

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