Yangshuo is a busy town surrounded by bushes of green and mountains that blur into the clouds. If you like the countryside, then this place is for you! Our trip included lots of hiking, river activities and, well, just being outdoors!
LING WING – HIKE (8:00)
To start our trip off we decided to hike Ling Wing mountain. It takes about an hour to hike up but along the way you can enjoy admiring the incredible view, slowing watching the river, homes and people getting smaller and smaller!
Once you reach the top, you have to pay a small fee to the gatekeeper, but you can spend as long as you like up there. The mountain man even let us sit in his shelter drinking the boiled water he gave us.
The best thing about this hike was probably the lack of commerciality and people. We only saw one couple hiking down as we were going up, then Ben and I had the mountain to ourselves!
TIP: Go early before the heat and wear tonnes of bug repellent!
LI RIVER – KAYAKING (13:00)
Paddling through Yangshuo’s most popular river is the best way to take in the scenery! There’s no time limit or river traffic, so it’s perfect for a peaceful and relaxing exploration.
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MESSAGE & HOT CUPPING (18:00)
You can walk down most streets in rural China and find a place for a message. There’s many options, but the most famous ones are hot cupping or a traditional Chinese message.
Personally, I was too much of a wimp to try the hot cupping, however a friend, who we met on the trip, did not recommend it! It’s said to be painful and it continues to hurt, even after the message. Plus, it leaves marks for days!
In contrast, the Chinese message was total relaxation, despite how much they cracked my bones and walked on my back! It’s a must try!
CLOUD 9 RESTAURANT (19:00)
Like every restaurant in China, they served traditional food, which was delicious! However, the main attraction here was the view across West Street, watching the fountain display and the beautiful lights.
BIKE RIDE & BAMBOO RAFTING (9:30)
Start the morning by renting a bike and cycling through beautiful scenery, until you reach the Yulong river where you can hop on a bamboo raft! The rafts are steered like a punt or gondola, with a man at the back digging a long stick through the water. You can usually fit two people per raft and you can choose whether or not to have a colourful umbrella on top!
Although this sounds like a calm activity (which it was for the most part) there was some exciting bursts where the raft practically sank all the way under water as it floated over mini waterfalls in the river.
TIP: This is a very common attraction in Yangshuo, so go early and miss the herds of tourists!
BUDDHA WATER CAVE – MUD BATHS & HOT SPRINGS (14:00)
Situated 8km from Yangshuo town, these caves are 6km long and run through 8 mountains. Inside, it’s very impressive, however if you are claustrophobic then this is not for you. It’s a very tight space that you will be walking in for around 15 minutes until you reach the mud bath.
The mud bath is a fun experience, it even has some small slides! Although, their naturally formed, so it’s not the most comfortable slide down. After this you can jump into the hot springs- there’s many different pools, which have various temperatures to help relax you.
Although I would recommend this excursion, be prepared for many tourists, souvenir shops and a sense of artificiality within the cave.
SWISS CHEESE MOUNTAIN – ROCK CLIMBING (9:00)
If you’re a beginner then this is the perfect place to climb due to its simple routes. However, there are some trickier ones too. The ground for starting the climb is shaded by forestry, but the view from the top of the climb is exceptional.
Once again, there is little tourism here which makes the activity even more special. The instructors are amazing too!
RENTING MOPEDS (13:00)
Renting mopeds is super cheap in China. You pay one price for your chosen engine size and then you can have it all day! There’s no time you have to bring it back, which was amazing for Ben and I as we had planned to explore with no map or sense of direction.
On our journey, we found the ‘big Banyan tree’, which we payed quite a bit of money to see, but as you may assume it wasn’t worth it! Never the less we had a lot of fun venturing off without a tour guide and trying to hustle our way through China’s crazy roads!
MOON HILL – SUNSET HIKE (17:00)
After about a 45-minute hike you’ll come to an impressive gap in the middle of the rock, which allows you to see awesome views while the sun sets!
WEST STREET – NIGHTLIFE (22:00)
West street offers the best nightlife in Yangshuo, with hundreds of restaurants, quirky shops, rooftop bars and night clubs there’s plenty to do! The town is also decorated in colour and lights, which adds to the buzzing atmosphere. Plus, the street has lots of entertainment and KTV bars (karaoke booths, which are loved in China.)
Yangshuo was by far my favourite place in China, it will be missed!