Yangshuo is a backpacker town located at the end of the Li River Cruises departing out of Guilin. It is a unique, incredible, unpredictable place- full of guesthouses and budget hotels, cheap cafes and restaurants, and enough activities to keep one busy for WEEKS. Night markets, cooking schools, rice terraces, rock climbing, rooftop bars, and one CRAZY laser light show, Yangshuo has a bit of everything, and is one of those places you’ll find yourself liking more and more the longer you stay...
As mentioned, many of the Li River Cruises that depart from Guilin end their trip in Yangshuo, so it’s an easy find. If you’re not doing the Li River cruise (why not?!), you can easily get to Yangshuo by bus from Guilin.
Things to do in Yangshuo
- Hang out in town- Yangshuo is just a cool place to hang out. Find a cafe, grab a seat and a bowl of chow mein, and watch the world go by. Another day in the life...
- Learn to cook- want to know how to COOK that chow mein? Yangshuo has plenty of authentic cooking schools that offer day-long classes. Visit the local market for fresh ingredients, then head out into the beautiful countryside for a culinary experience unlike any other.
- Climb some rocks- surrounded by karst limestone formations, Yangshuo is an ideal place for rock-climbing. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, the local shops will get you kitted and fitted.
- Raft the Li River- hire a bamboo raft and glide down the Li River for some unique views of the surrounding landscape. Unbelievable scenery, for sure...
- Visit the Longji Rice Terraces- Part of the larger Longsheng Terrace complex, the Longji Rice Terrace is a gorgeous spot out in the local countryside. Immaculately manicured terraces climb the valley walls, each shimmering in the yellow sunlight. A great spot for photography buffs...
- Shop- Yangshuo is a great spot to do some bargain shopping, but you’ve got to bring your skillz... These vendors are used to preying on the naive tourists that flock from other parts of China, and start WAY above what they will actually end up selling for. Be aware, and stick to your price.
- Float the river- you can rent tubes for a relaxing float trip down the Li River- ask at your accommodation for availability.
- Go to the Laser Light Show- uniquely Chinese, this show was created by Zhang Yimou- the same guy that directed the iconic Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. While you’ll probably have NO IDEA what is going on, it is quite a spectacle, and something worth seeing for sure.
- Have a Night Out- Yangshuo thrives on its nightlife. Backpacker bars, cheap restaurants, and hopping clubs line the streets, with the party often spilling out into the alleys and onto the corners. It is quite a scene.
- Monkey Jane’s Rooftop Bar is an icon in Yangshuo- the mojitos are FANTASTIC, the Happy Hour specials are second to none, and the scenery- well, you’ll just have to check it out.
- If you hire a bamboo raft to float down the Li River, be aware that tipping over/getting wet is a very real possibility. Take your camera at your own risk.
- You can actually visit the Longji Rice Terraces from Guilin as well- the prices for the trip are similar, it just depends on what your itinerary looks like.
- Check out the locals using trained cormorants to do their fishing for them- a pretty impressive method of catching dinner.
- There are HEAPS of hostels and guesthouses in Yangshuo- check around for prices, ask to see the rooms, and if you’re not happy, move next door. Too easy.
- The stalls vendors have set up by the boat docks are NOT the place you want to shop- they are WAY overpriced, and the vendors generally aren’t willing to come down much from their initial offer. Shops along the streets further into town are a much better bet...