Sharing with you today things to do in and around Yangshuo! If you’ve got this area of China on your list, you’ll have heard of Yangshuo, Guilin and Longsheng Longji Rice Terraces. But, where to stay? Each of these places are nearby each other making it hard to decide when it comes to planning your itinerary.
After visiting myself, this is what I recommend. Stay 4-5 nights in Yangshuo and use this as a base to do day trips out to Guilin (about 1 hour away) and surrounding areas. Then, follow this up with an overnight stay at Longsheng Longji Rice Terraces, which is about a 4 hour drive away from Yangshuo.
If you can, make friends with cab drivers in Yangshuo and then ask them if you can book them as a private driver. Most cab drivers in Yangshuo do private driving and would be more than happy to negotiate a deal with you. This is what we did – and we ended up booking a guy who drove us around all week taking us from Yangshuo to Longsheng Longji and finally dropping us off at Guilin. So convenient, and so handy too!
Now, onto the fun stuff. Here are some places in Yangshuo and surrounding areas that you totally must check out!
XiangGong Mountain / Hill
XiangGong Mountain was one of the most beautiful viewpoints we visited, and also one of the most popular! You’ll need to hire a driver to get here and it’s best for sunrise, when the breeze gently brushes the clouds away (‘yun hai’, ‘sea of clouds’ a phenomenon local Chinese tourists just love!) to reveal a stunning vista of mountains and the river below.
It costs 60 RMB entry, and once you arrive at the base, it’s a short 15 min walk up stairs to the viewpoint. At the viewpoint, there a numerous viewing decks for crowd control. China seems to be really good at crowd control.
We stopped by Fuli bridge on one of our mornings – this ancient bridge is more than 500 years old and made completely with stone. It’s a beautiful sight and in the mornings, quite quiet! However I did hear it gets absolutely packed during the day as there are plenty of food stalls nearby and even bamboo rafting too.
There are plenty of places to take a bamboo rafting experience, with one of the most popular places being Xingping. We didn’t do our rafting at Xingping though – we chose to do the complimentary bamboo rafting with Banyan Tree Yangshuo and it was really quite lovely as it was a lot more intimate and quieter in the section of the river we visited.
If you plan to do bamboo rafting at Xingping, it’s extremely busy with lots of long lines, so do be prepared for that and go during a quieter time.
Guilin Sun Moon Pagoda
A stop at the Sun Moon Pagoda in Guilin city is a must do. It’s quite beautiful here and during the late afternoon you can come visit and watch as the lights turn on!
Wuzhi Hill in Cuiping
Wuzhi Hill is definitely a more off-the-beaten-path viewpoint. This one is located in the village of Cuiping and is a small hill you can climb to get a view of the patchwork fields below.
The view is beautiful with a little winding river, however it’s definitely no where near as busy as Xianggong Hill which attracts huge crowds. This place is best visited during sunset. It’s so stunning.
20 Yuan Note Viewpoint (Xingping)
Just for fun, stop by the very touristy viewpoint as seen on the 20 yuan note!
West Street, Yangshuo
This is the bustling city / tourist centre of Yangshuo itself. Come check it out for an hour or two for food and shopping!
Longsheng Longji Rice Terraces
I definitely recommend an overnight stay at the Longsheng Longji Rice Terraces which are really quite stunning, especially when they are being irrigated. There is so much to see here so you definitely won’t want to miss out on exploring it all. I’ll probably do a full post on this part of our trip, as there are lots of details to cover!
Note about LaoZhai Mountain
I had every intention to visit this popular spot for photos on the top however after meeting our local driver, he informed us that LaoZhai Mountain was dangerous to visit and that there were signs put up by the government at the start of the trekking telling people not to visit this mountain as it was not an attraction that was maintained. The story behind this is that once a wealthy old Japanese man climbed the mountain and loved the view, and so privately paid to have a path constructed for others to climb. However, the footpath is not maintained and as it is not something the government looks after, it is not that safe.
Because of this, I decided not to visit LaoZhai Mountain anymore, as it isn’t the type of place I would encourage my audience to visit when there are plenty of other beautiful and safer places to see!
I hope you enjoyed this travel guide and find it useful in planning any upcoming trips! I really think China is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve visited and I can’t wait to go back to discover more to share with you.