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This was written from an amazing hostel, at the foot of a 200 foot karst mountain, on the shore Li Jang river awestruck by the scenery in front of me. Yangshou, you are something special…

yangshuo china
I wish I took this, it’s my buddy’s pic

Yangshou is a small town next to Guilin in Guang Xi province in southern China, from Chengdu ( gotta love the  pandas!) it’s a 26 hour bus/train ride (300 RMB/$50) to Guilin, then another 90 minute from Guiling to here bus here but it’s worth all the effort.


Yangshou is surrounded in tall, rocky karst limestone mountains, the entire region is literally covered in them. I’ve chosen to spend 2 or 3 days here and it really is something special. Here’s a list of the stuff I did, and that I’d recommend:


1)   Water Cave

The first thing I did in Yangshou, the water cave is about 6km from the town centre. You can get a minibus from the bus station or cycle (like I did it, sore ass for days!). Anyway, you pay 100 RMB ($15) to enter the cave which includes an English-speaking tour guide. The entire ‘tour’ takes about 90 minutes but it’s towards the end where the real highlight lies. After checking out the 3 levels of the cave, underground rivers etc, which is all amazing in its own right, you reach the mud bath. Here you strip off and jump in a pool of water about 80 metres underground and cover yourself in the mud from the pool, it’s bloody freezing but great fun. Luckily though within a quick 2 minutes step you’re in the final attraction – underground hot springs. Awesome!

Yangshuo water cave

water cave yangshuo

2)   Moon Hill

The iconic image of Yangshou is often Moon Hill, which is basically another beautiful hill but with a huge hole in the middle of it. It’s really close to Water Cave so you can hit two birds with one stone on that trip. It costs 15 RMB ($2.50) to enter the park, although you can see it from the road too. About 6km from the town centre.

Yangshuo Moon Hill 

3)   Boat up the Li Jang river to Xingping

The true tourist activity in Yangshou and justifiably so. Xingping is a slower, more relaxed town about 30km from Yangshou, no MacDonalds and KFC here. Lots of people spend a night or two here but if you want to uplack your back and base yourself in Yangshou, you can take a boat from Yangshou to Xingping and a bus back. The trip takes around 4 or 5 hours, you meander through the breathtaking scenery, see the area from the 20 RMB bank note and once you reach Yangdi, you jump on a minibus back to town. It couldn’t be simpler. Bookable at your hostel fro 160 RMB ($25)

Boat to xingping

4)   Cycling around the area

Most hostels offer bike rental for around 15 RMB per day ($2.50) and with the landscape calling you from every direction it’s a great way to get a feel of the area. You can cycle out to Water Cave, Moon Hill and even all the way to Xingping if you’re feeling energetic (I wasn’t!). The bikes aren’t in great condition though so prepare yourself for a seriously sore bum afterwards, I’m still recovering! You also get a chance to stop off and see some great sites, even if the locals are more concerned with photographing you, not the landscape!


cycling in yangshuo
That’s me squeezed in there…

5) Wander down West street

Yangshou’s very own little Khao San road, albeit a less seedy, boozey version. West Street is tailor made for tourism, a million and one trinkets for sale

yangshuo west street

I spent 2 and a half days in the Yangshou/Xingping area and I can honestly say it’s one of the most spectacular towns I’ve ever visited. I’m off to Jangjaijie, the mountains that inspired the landscape of Avatar on a night train. Happy travels!

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0 thoughts on “Yangshou, China – the most beautiful place I’ve ever been?

  1. Hey Jonny,

    So if I decided to go over to mainland China for say 2 weeks at christmas time: how much should I expect to spend? Hong Kong to China, back again, accommodation + food? I realise if I want to hold a panda, etc it’s going to get a LOT more expensive. But just the basics 🙂


  2. Thanks for the help mate! Buzzing to go on the 28th, think the plan is to do shanghai and Beijing with stops throughout! I know you’ve previously said it can be same price for alcohol over there but like I did in Thailand are there garages etc that sell drink cheap to drink before going out? (Love saving some cash)

  3. Spent 5 days in yangshuo volunteering at an English College and loved it there! We even got to celebrate Halloween with the students – they got all dressed up, painted their faces and then we paraded around West street to show off the costumes!

  4. I was in China for 1 month with my husband. I took a 4 hour boat ride down the Li river from Guilin to Yangshou. I remained in Yangshou for 4 nights staying in a Australian hotel. This was the most beautiful amazing experience while I visited China, a must see. I rented a scooter with a travel guide since I was alone, my husband traveling through out China on business. We visited remote villages approximately 30 kilometers outside Yangshou ,never seen by a blonde, American female. Wow what an experience, you see how the real Chinese live. They raise dog to eat, but they all look the same, like a red fox therefore, not a pet,I found this truly acceptable. I saw rice patties and mango trees along the way. Along the river and parts of the country side you see these large mountains, formations of lime, once they were under water.

    1. Hi Tanya,
      thanks for the useful information about Yangshuo. We will go this area in March , and I need some info about the boat trip from Guillin (as we will arrive there by train) to Yangshuo, becouse we intend to sleep there 3-4 nights. Has this boat a timetable, or this is a kind of turist boat trip package what contains boat trip to Yangshuo and a bus trip back to Guillin? And what willages did you visit from Yangshuo, and what was the price of this privet tours from Yangshuo?
      Thanks in advance!!

      1. sorry mate, what u see is what u get, i’m not a tour operator i’m afraid 🙁 However, if u turn up in Yangshou, there are so many operators who can help 🙂

  5. Wonderful, I haven’t made it to Yangshou when I was in China, it will definitely be a must-stop next time, I’ve heard it’s paradise on earth!

  6. I thought Yangshuo was very scenic. I liked the Longji rice terrace nearby as well. One thing to add, lots of very poor old ladies will follow you on your Moon Hill hike attempting to sell you overpriced water. As they are really old, it is a kind gesture to buy from them.

    I took so many pictures while I was there that it took me 3 blog posts to post them all. 🙂

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