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Visiting Yangshuo County, China

Updated on June 30, 2013
Iammattdoran profile image

Matt is an avid traveller and self-confessed 'man of the world'. He is passionate about his home city, Manchester, and about travelling.

Yangshuo picture

Yangshuo picture
Yangshuo picture | Source

Where is Yangshuo

Yangshuo County is located in the Guangxi Province of South West China in the administrative region of Guilin. Yangshuo is incredibly popular with domestic Chinese tourists but more and more international visitors are now making their way here to experience the other-worldly landscapes and vistas of Yangshuo. Most visitors will enter the region via Guilin, the regional capital of Guangxi. It's just a short bus, train or boat ride to get down the Li River to Yangshuo. Although no longer the quiet oasis it probably once was before it was discovered by mass tourism, Yangshuo is still a lot smaller and a lot quieter than many Chinese cities and large towns and it's really easy to get away from it all and escape into the surrounding Yangshuo countryside.

Yangshuo Map

A markeryangshuo -
Yangshuo, Guilin, Guangxi, China
get directions

Moon Hill picture

Yangshuo Pictures: Moon Hill, Yangshuo
Yangshuo Pictures: Moon Hill, Yangshuo | Source

Climbing Moon Hill, Yangshuo

Moon Hill is located a few kilometres outside of the main Yangshuo town. It is very easy to get there by hiring either bicycles or motorbikes. It's essentially a flat, straight road out of Yangshuo town, along which are a number of interesting sights. When you get to the Moon Hill area you will have to park your bike and pay a small entrance fee to enter the path up to the top. It's a gentle walk up to the top but take it easy if the Yangshuo weather is hot and make sure you've got some water with you. The last point isn't massively important as local Chinese women will likely try to sell you drinks as soon as you enter the path and then you will see them at various points along the way up Moon Hill as they continue to try and sell to you. It's really quite amusing telling them you have water and hearing them say that you're going to run out so she'll follow you up so you can buy some when you get to the top!

At Moon Hill, Yangshuo

The views from the top of Moon Hill are stunning. From here you can't see the main town of Yangshuo which means you get splendid views of the beautiful and awe-inspiring countryside around you. Make sure you've got your camera with you as there are some truly stunning images to capture. Take you time at the top and then wonder back down and grab your bikes and go for a ride through the fields and tiny villages around the county. You may get lost but this is all part of the adventure!.

Picture at Moon Hill

Views of the Yangshuo landscape from Moon Hill
Views of the Yangshuo landscape from Moon Hill | Source

Dried Fish picture

Dried fish snack
Dried fish snack | Source

Explore Yangshuo County

Once you get off the main road you can follow the tracks in any direction you like. The karst peaks can act as a landmark, so try to identify one that has a distinctive look and use it to ensure that you keep your bearings and can find your way back. Out here you'll see people working out in the fields and tending to animals etc. and it can be a really peaceful and enjoyable experience where you can feel a million miles away from the huge population centres of China's busy cities. If you are feeling adventurous head down to the Li River and go for a ride on a traditional bamboo raft. There aren't many places that offer the traditional bamboo rafts as the ones closest to Yangshuo are all now made of plastic tubing and are not good for the environment. Whatever you do be sure to have packed yourself a picnic and make some time to stop and have a rest alongside the river. This is a good opportunity to watch the Chinese tourists float by on the rafts, and it's likely that they'll be doing their 'thing' of squirting each other with water pistols!

Big Banyan Tree, Yangshuo

Also along the road between Yangshuo and Moon Hill is the 2000 year old Banyan Tree. It costs 15 Yuan to get into the place but it is a lovely park and the tree is very impressive when you consider how old it is. When you get up close you can see that humans are giving it a helping hand in giving it 'crutches' to stop it's huge meandering branches from collapsing. It's a really cool sight and very popular with domestic tourists. I'm not really sure it lives up to the local billing of '8th wonder of the world' though!

2000 year old Banyan Tree, Yangshuo

Banyan Tree picture, Yangshuo
Banyan Tree picture, Yangshuo | Source

Xing Ping near Yangshuo

If you have time, it's worth taking the bus from Yangshuo to Xing Ping (or you can cycle) and maybe stay for the night in the 'This Old Place' Hostel. The bus takes around 45 minutes winding it's way through little villages within Yangshuo county before finally ending the journey at Xing Ping.

Almost immediately opposite the Xing Ping Hostel is the start of the trail up to the summit of the Bird's View Pavillion, a 220 metre high limestone karst peak that offers views over the Li River and the town of Xing Ping and as far as the eye can see (which, being China isn't so far!). The best time to make the climb to the top is before sunset when the light makes the views even more spectacular. Be careful though as the way up can be especially steep and narrow in places and there is a small amounting of having to hoist yourself up onto rocks involved. It's all worth it though. Be sure not to leave your camera at the bottom! But do remember to check the Yangshuo weather forecast before you set off. It can be very dangerous up there if it's wet.

The Li River at Xing Ping

Xing Ping picture: View from Bird's View Pavillion at dusk
Xing Ping picture: View from Bird's View Pavillion at dusk | Source

Yangshuo Poll

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Travel in China

The Rough Guide to Southwest China
The Rough Guide to Southwest China

Fantastic guide from Lonely Planet to South West China. Includes a section on yangshuo. There isn't so much english spoken in this region which makes the Lonely Planet all the more handy.

 

View over Xing Ping

View over Xing Ping
View over Xing Ping | Source

Back in Yangshuo

Back in Yangshuo there are plenty of options for eating and drinking along the established tourist street called West Street located in the heart of the town next to the river. There are many bars, restaurants and cafes here with many western style restaurants, If you want something a bit more traditional then it's best to move away from this street and head over the street that runs out of town towards Moon Hill. There's an excellent noodle canteen-style restaurant that provides cheap and tasty noodle dishes that are very popluar with locals and domestic tourists. The main beer available is TsingTao and costs about 5/6RMB for a 500ml bottle.

Remember: Obey the Rules!

If you've ever travelled in China you'll probably have noticed that they're a bit keen on stating the rules. Only, the translation is not always quite as it should be!

Rules posted at the Big Banyan Tree

A friendly tip (or 8!)
A friendly tip (or 8!) | Source

Travel in China made easy

Lonely Planet China (Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet China (Travel Guide)

Regions covered: Beijing, The Great Wall, Tianjin & Hebei, Shandong, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Anhui, Henan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Hunan, Hong Kong, Macau, Guangdong, Hainan, Guangxi, Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan, Chongqing, Xinjiang, Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Qinghai, Tibet

 

Travel in China help

National Geographic Traveler: China, 3rd Ed.
National Geographic Traveler: China, 3rd Ed.

This beautiful guide makes the vast enigma of China accessible to every traveler. Filled with a myriad of useful information and travel tips, it features cut-away illustrations of renowned structures, detailed maps, and sumptuous photographs.

 

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    • jabelufiroz profile image

      Firoz 3 years ago from India

      Useful travel guide. Voted up.

    • Iammattdoran profile image
      Author

      Matt Doran 3 years ago from Manchester, UK

      Thanks Jabelufiroz, glad you found it useful. Thanks for the vote up! Cheers. Matt

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 3 years ago from North America

      This is an incredible set of photos! I have never been in China, but listen to stories of two friends who taught English there for two years.

    • Iammattdoran profile image
      Author

      Matt Doran 3 years ago from Manchester, UK

      Thanks Patty! Glad you liked the photo's. I'd love to go back and spend more time in China. I thought it was a wonderful country to travel in.

    • marion langley profile image

      marion langley 3 years ago from The Study

      I thoroughly enjoyed this, thank-you! Voting up!

    • Iammattdoran profile image
      Author

      Matt Doran 3 years ago from Manchester, UK

      Thanks Marion, I really appreciate your comment and vote. Glad you enjoyed reading and I hope you enjoy future hubs I write about China. Matt

    • April Dawn Meyer profile image

      April Dawn Meyer 3 years ago from Belle Fourche, South Dakota

      Moon Hill looks amazing! :)

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