Yangshuo County. Mountain Range in China, Asia

Yangshuo County

Mountain Range in China, Asia

1 Balloons over Yangshuo Photo © Blazej Mrozinski

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Yangshuo County

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Yangshuo, Guilin, China - Yangshuo County
Yangshuo, Guilin, China - Yangshuo County. Photo by Bernd Thaller
Yangshuo is located nearby Guilin, in the south-east of mainland China. It is bordered by the Li River on one side and the karst peaks on the other, and is easily accessed from Guilin. With 300,000 people, it is one of the smaller cities in China, and experiences all four seasons. The winters are warm and dry, while during the spring and autumn, its cooler. Summer is when Yangshuo is warmest, but you may also get caught in the heavy rains during May and June when it is monsoon season. A famous destination throughout China, the picture on the back of the 20 yuan bill is taken at the Li River, near Yangshuo.

Li River - 漓江 - Yangshuo
Li River - 漓江 - Yangshuo County. Photo by Juan Llanos

Economy and Lifestyle

One of Yangshuo’s most defining features is its breathtaking landscape. Limestone, dolomite, and gypsum make up the karst mountains that surround Yangshuo. Most karst topography has a natural drainage system involving caves, such as those in Yangshuo, making it a relatively weather-resistance material.

Yangshuo’s main economic income is from tourism, with rivers, caves, temples, and peaks alongside lounge restaurants and bars to attract international and national tourists.

 - Yangshuo County
Yanghuo. . Photo by Sergei Zalivin

As a Tourist Destination

Moon Hill (Yueliang Shan) from Fenglou village - Yangshuo County
Moon Hill (Yueliang Shan) from Fenglou village - Yangshuo County. Photo by Sakke Wiik
Yangshuo first gained popularity with foreign tourists in the 1980s and packaged tour operators soon began to cash in on its popularity. Teaming with hostels, Yangshuo is a particularly popular place with foreigners, offering a sense of tranquility and spaciousness that is rare to China. Recently, domestic tourists are flocking to Yangshuo, and by 2005, domestic tourists significantly outnumbered foreign tourists.

Rock Climbing

In 1992, Yangshuo was placed on the rock climbing map by Todd Skinner, an America climber who established a number of lines ranging in difficulties. There are now thought to be over 200 lines, most of which have been established by foreigners and international tourists. Yangshuo’s popularity with climbers continues to grow and there is now a ‘Climbers Inn’, a perfect spot to meet climbing partners, as well as several climbing companies that will rent equipment and provide guides with day and multi-day trips.

Li River

Even if you are not interested in rock climbing, Yangshuo is worth a visit. Equally as popular is bike riding, especially along the Li River, which provides ample swimming opportunities. Following the river, you pass through several villages, filled with friendly locals who are used to foreigners asking for directions or advice. You can also combine a boat trip with biking and almost all boats will accommodate you and your bicycle. There are several bike shops in Yangshuo that can provide maps, helmets, and locks, as well as guides if you feel it is necessary. Additionally, most hostels rent bikes, and some rent mopeds, allowing you to cover a much greater distance in a day. The speed of mopeds also provide some relief from the burning Asian sun, and intense humidity.

Li River
Li River
Swimming in the Li River is a must for anyone visiting during the summer months. The river's water is mostly clear and safe, but it is best to avoid the main ports, and instead walk a little further up the river. There are some strong currents, which you should be wary of, especially if you are not a strong swimmer, but most of the river is relatively calm. There are several bridges from which you can jump, if you are daring. On the Yulong River, there is the Xiangui Bridge, at 8 meters high from which you can jump. It is also common for locals and domestic tourists to use the bridge as an engagement photo setting.
For the more adventurous, there is also white water rafting and white water drifting. You have the ability to take a raft down a superficially enhanced river with big drops and steep waterfalls. There is also bamboo rafting and water caves where you can go swimming. All of these activities and more can be arranged through your hostel or hotel in Yangshuo, or local tour companies. Keep in mind that because of the high number of tourists, it is becoming more and more difficult to find ‘authentic’ experiences in Yangshuo.

Getting There

Yangshuo’s proximity to Guilin means it is easily accessible from both mainland China and internationally. The nearest airport is Guilin Liangjiang International Airport, a short bus or taxi journey from Yansghuo. The nearest train station is also located in Guilin, and there is a direct overnight train from Shenzhen (just outside Hong Kong). A more scenic and exciting way to arrive in Yangshuo is by boat on the Li River. You can travel with a tour group, or book a private boat. It is worth doing some research because the trips can vary in terms of boat size and cost can range dramatically as tour companies compete for business. This is the most scenic way to travel from Guilin to Yangshuo, but can be more expensive and difficult to organize online.

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Author: hannahbarkan. Last updated: Feb 03, 2015

Pictures of Yangshuo County

5 Biking across Yangshuo - Yangshuo County
5 Biking across Yangshuo - Yangshuo County. Photo by Blazej Mrozinski

Bamboo Rafts on Yulong River - Yangshuo County
Bamboo Rafts on Yulong River - Yangshuo County. Photo by Frank Kehren

twin ride - Yangshuo County
twin ride - Yangshuo County. Photo by Baba G


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