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China > General information > Yangshuo travel guide

Yangshuo travel guide 


Some 40 miles south of Guilin, Yangshuo sits amid some of the most spectacular karst scenery in the region. Stretching along the west bank of the Li River, Yangshuo is still a small rural town, with a population of 32,000, but it’s developing fast as a tourist resort and sees hordes of Chinese and overseas visitors during the summer.  


Like much of Guangxi province, Yangshuo was traditionally a poor rural area where farming was hindered by the countless limestone towers dotting the landscape, but ironically it is this same landscape that now brings so many visitors to the region. 

While no longer the backwater it once was, Yangshuo still offers quaint old streets and has an amazing array of trendy shops, bars, cafés and restaurants serving everything from steak to snake along with an ever-expanding range of good-value places to stay, some of which are beautifully located out in the countryside.  


There’s also the opportunity to study traditional arts and partake in adventurous activities such as climbing and kayaking. Most importantly, this pretty little town still has immediate access to some of the most beautiful countryside in China, maybe the world. 


Yangshuo’s sights are in the surrounding countryside, but if you don’t want to leave town, Yangshuo Park (daily 6 am-9 pm), across from the bus station, is pleasant for a stroll (or hike if you choose to climb a peak). It’s also a good place to witness, or participate in, morning exercises, ranging from ballroom dancing to tai chi. 


To complete Yangshuo’s aspirations as an all-round resort, the town now has a cultural show, Liu Sanjie, which was choreographed by the master moviemaker and cinematographer, Zhang Yimou, who is also overseeing the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics. The show centers on the tale of Liu Sanjie, a farming girl from the nearby city of Liuzhou.
A cormorant fisherman

Liu Sanjie sang to pass the time in the fields and became famous for her beautiful voice. One day she took a bamboo raft to Yangshuo and fell in love with a local boy.

The story is acted out on the river and features bamboo rafts, cormorant fishermen and dramatic lighting.

Tickets cost ¥188, although you may be able to find them cheaper if you hunt around the agents in town, and the show lasts an hour. 

A cormorant fisherman

Golf buggies are provided to shuttle people to and from the show on the river and cost ¥2 each way for the 10-minute journey.


In Yangshuo you can find an extensive collection of handicrafts from all over the country, as well as the usual plethora of Mao nicknacks, outdoor clothes and tacky t-shirts. Just make sure you buy before or after the big boats appear, as the shops will be packed with people ready to pay Guilin hotel gift shop prices. It’s far more soothing to gently accumulate over the course of a few days, gradually chipping away at prices. 


Many goods here come from other parts of the country but, if you’re after more of a sense of authenticity, you can buy original works from painters here and in Fuli and even have them painted onto T-shirts! Look out for the Chinese Picasso (or Forest to his friends) who has a small stall that sets up after 5 pm outside Café China on West Street.
Forest can and will paint just about anything onto a T-shirt; they cost ¥60 and usually take about 15 minutes.  Yangshuo’s local crafts include oil-painted umbrellas and wood and bamboo carving, all of which can be found on West Street and the riverside market.


For a touch of local life, Yangshuo’s lively produce market on Pantao Lu is where local farmers come to trade their goods, and is a colorful and noisy spot where you can watch the locals haggling over their shopping. Besides the foods on sale, you’ll see a number of caged animals and birds, some of which are for consumption while others are to be bought as pets.

You’ll also get the chance to see some of the more exotic fruits grown in the region, including pomelos, persimmons, kumquats and rambutans.

Yangshuo is one of the most family-friendly places in China. Despite ever greater numbers of Chinese tourists, Yangshuo first developed as a foreign backpacker’s haven and this 20-year history of exchange has seen locals embracing this interaction. There are places organizing everything from balloon rides to climbing, and tai chi to cookery courses.

Most hotels can arrange activities, but if you want a general agent who can help you put together an adventurous few days here. Read more about activities in Yangshuo. 


If you want a bit of exercise without leaving Yangshuo, try climbing Green Lotus Peak, in the heart of the town, just behind West Street. It only takes about 30 minutes to ascend and offers superb vistas over the town and surrounding area. 


See also

Getting there & around

Yangshuo cultural experiences
Yangshuo Adventures : Hiking, biking,

Climbing, Caving, Water Sports, Ballooning

Yangshuo pictures
Maps of Yangshuo

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maps of yangshuo and yangshuo surroundings
yangshuo glossary
yangshuo - getting there and around
yangshuo adventures - hiking and biking
yangshuo adventures - climbing, caving, water sports, and ballooning
yangshuo cultural experiences
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Travel guide to China : Yangshuo tourism, Yangshuo travel guide, Yangshuo attractions, Yangshuo sightseeing