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Guilin, Yangshuo & Dragon Backbone Rice Terrace
   
Tour Code: STS-CN-003 Price per person from: RMB 4,780
Departure Date: Daily Departure Click for Price Details
   
 
Summary:

Located in the south of China, not far from Vietnam, Guilin is one of top ten destinations for both local Chinese and foreigners. It has China's most "Chinese" scenery, the subject of thousands of paintings in China and has been eulogized in innumerable literary works. The limestone carst peaks along the Li River are especially magnificent, as you see in many paintings, postcards and photos. Other typical sceneries includes farmers wearing straw and planting seeds and sprouts with water buffalos in the wet paddy fields; fishermen casting nets and cormorants lining up on the edges of the wooden boats. The life of Chinese minorities in the countryside is another attraction of the trip.

Yangshuo is located 70mk away from Guilin in the northeast part of Guangxi province. It is featured with the typical karst terrain. It is home to Zhuang, Yao, Miao and eight other minority groups what makes a stay very special.

In northeast Guangxi you will find the Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces (Longshen Rice Terraces) which offer an amazing scenery with minority villages scattered among it.

Summary Itinetary Prices Features Notes Customize This Trip

The View 7

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The View 2

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Tour Dates Destinations Today's Activities Meals Include

Guilin,Yangshuo & Dragon Backbone Rice Terrace
5 Days / 4 Nights (Private Tour)
Daily Departure


Flight Schedule
Day 01          CA1311         Beijing--Guilin             0730 1035
Day 05          CA1226        
Guilin--
Beijing             2105 2355

Tour Itinerary

Day01: Beijing--Guilin
Guilin. You will be met at the airport and transfer to hotel.Check in the hotel.

Overnight in Guilin.

Day02: Guilin--Yangshuo (B, L)

Li River Cruise through the picturesque scenery along the Li River. The steep hills are reflected in the clear water of the river that winds between the peaks. Fishermen with cormorants float by on their bamboo rafts. We arrrive Yangshuo in the early afternoon and check into the hotel, and then it is your free time to explore this amazing little town. You can tour by bike or electric cabs around the fascinating Yangshuo township, plantings fileds, market and explore the beautiful villages.

Optional: 'Impression Sister Liusanjie'- one of the most spectacular outdoor night show on the lake with the backdrop of the mountains, will be recommended.

Overnight in Yangshuo.

Day03: Yangshuo (B )

Free leisure in Yangshuo. You may cycle around to the countryside or just sitting in the bar on the west street reading book or chatting with friends.

Overnight in Yangshuo.

Day04: Yangshuo--Dragon Backbone(Longji) Rice Terrace (B,L)

To be transferred from Yangshuo to Guilin. City tour to visit most popular sightseeing venues: ReedFluteCave the natural beauty of a large amount of stalactites and stalagmites, with their endless variety of remarkable scenes. Elephant Hill which the whole hill looks very much like a giant elephant with a long trunk, it is the symbol of Guilin city. And then transfer to Dragon Backbone (Longsheng Longji) Rice Terrace.Check in the hotel on the summit of the rice terrace hill, then it is your free time to walk and hike the hills and take photos.

Overnight in Longji.


Day05: Dragon Backbone Rice Terrace ( Longji) --
Guilin--Beijing (B)

Stroll around at Ping an Zhuang village. Visit famous Longji Terraced fields which were built along the slope winding from the riverside up to the mountaintop, with the highest place of an elevation of 885m and the lowest 380m. The coiling line spirals up from the mountain foot to the top, making the mountain looks like huge snail seen from afar.

Evening transfer to airport fly back to Beijing.

 

Package Cost:

RMB4,780 per person

 

Children's discount-
Yes, child's discount is available.

All trips have different payment deadlines depending on the destination and dates of travel. We will contact you by email in the weeks before the trip to let you know the deadline.
Late booking will probably result in higher fees.

  Price Inclusions and Exclusions

Included feature:
* Round trip economy class air ticket

* 1 night accommodation in Guilin, 2 nights in Yangshuo and 1 night in Longji

* Daily breakfast

* Meals mentioned in the itinerary ( L- Lunch)

* Transportation for sightseeing in Guilin, Yangshuo & Longji

* Return airport transfer by private car

* English speaking tour guide

* Admission fee for sightseeing mentioned in the itinerary

* All government tax & Service charge.

 

Exclusions-
* Alcoholic drinks & drinks at mealtime + Optional visits + Personal expenses (e.g.Telephone, laundry)
* Personal travel insurance
* Personal expenses
* Tips for guide, driver, boat crew & hotels' porters
* Meals other than those mentioned above
* Other services not clearly indicated in the Package Inclusion above

Guilin Yangshuo

Get around

Getting a local map from a tourist guide or shop for ¥5 is a good idea. This will show the location of most of the sights as well as details of bus routes. Buses are an ideal way to get around Guilin on a budget. Many city parks and river spots can be accessed easily by bus. All the buses starting with 5# are free. A useful one is bus 58 which runs from the train station (& bus station) to many of the attractions. Bus fare are capped at ¥1 per trip.

Taxis are also inexpensive and easily hailed within the city. Usually hard to catch during peak hours(5:30-7PM).

See

*  Reed Flute Cave, Ludi RD (about 5km west of Guilin. Catch bus 3 or rent bikes and buy a map for a pleasant cycle). 8AM-5:30PM. This limestone cave with impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations is worth a visit. An English-speaking guide will take you around the various artificially lit formations supposedly resembling lions, monkeys, old men, the skyline of Guilin, etc. You may have to wait a while for a large enough group to accumulate. Avoid the hawkers by taking the elevated path on the side of the hill, rather than the tarmac road. ¥90.  

*  Elephant Trunk Hill, Bingjiang Rd (Within walking distance of the town center and near to bus routes 23 and 16), +86 773 2803000. 7AM-10PM. This park on the banks of the Li River contains a hill with a large natural arch cut into it. This resembles the trunk of an Elephant dipping into the river. This scene is frequently used as a symbol of the city and so has developed some fame. ¥40.  

*  Fubo Hill, +86 773 2803000. A park in the northeast of the City on the banks of the Li River. The park contains historical stone carvings and Buddhist inscriptions. Fubo Hill itself is an impressive shear sided rock.  

*  Seven Star Park, (Qixing Rd). A large park on the East side of the city and about 15-20 minutes walk from the main pedestrian area in the centre of town. Has a small zoo area on the East side farthest from the entrance with the main attraction being the two giant pandas. ¥35.  

*  Yaoshan Hill Park, Jingjiang Rd (Several km east of the city center. Bus routes 10 and 98 run nearby but still leave a lengthy walk to the park), +86 773 5864592, This is a large country park which encompasses the highest peak in the area. Foot paths run to the summit, however the chair lift provides an effortless way to attain the top and enjoy the scenery. There are extensive views of the surrounding area from the summit. There is a toboggan run down part of the mountain. To access this, dismount the chairlift at the station half way down the mountain. A taxi to and from the park will cost about ¥30 each way. 60.  

*  Jing Jiang Princes City Park, +86 773 2803149, In the center of the city lies a small forbidden city. Once home to the Princes of the area. The palace buildings are now a museum and park. 70.  

*  Ocean Aquarium, On Zhongshan Road (South of the city center. Bus routes 4, 11, 12, 19, 99 and 56 pass here. Next to the South Stream Hill Park), +86 773 3816822. One of the largest aquariums in Asia. This ԌEԌ range of fish and other aquatic animals.  

*  Longji Terraced Field (Longji Terraced Field), Longsheng Country. Longji Terraced Fields is in the Heping town in Longsheng, a 2 hours drive from Guilin. The terraced rice fields, like ladders, wind from the bottom of the mountain to the top. The elevation varies from 380 meters to 880 meters with a drop of 500 meters. First built during the Yuan Dynasty, these rice fields were built with the determination, sweat and blood of generations of people. It is a testimony to the ingenuity of agriculture in mountainous areas. These fields are often belt-shaped, narrow and long, most of which are only wide enough for two rows of crops. The largest patch is only one Mu. There are about 66 square kilometers of terraced fields in southeast Longsheng. 130RMB 1 day tour with CITS only gives you 1.5 hours at rice fields but there is an option to stay overnight. 50RMB by bus.  

*  Solitary Beauty Peak(Jingjiang Prince City), (Take a taxi or bus no. 1 or 2 from the Guilin Railway Station. Both buses drop passengers off at the western entrance of the peak area.), (0773) 280 3149, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.. Rising dramatically above the center of Guilin, Solitary Beauty Peak (Duxiu Feng) offers spectacular views of the city and surrounding countryside. As with so many peaks and rocky upthrusts in and around Guilin, centuries of visits have led to the creation of a carved stairway leading to the summit. The pathway starts at Wang Cheng, the Ming Dynasty palace located in the center of town, now home to the campus of Guangxi Normal University and also the site of nightly performances by local ethnic minorities. There is nothing left of the old city which is not clear at the ticket office. RMB 70.  

Do

*  Li River Cruise, (info@lirivercruise.net), 4h. A popular activity for travellers. The boats are frequent and easily organised by any hotel in Guilin. Most tourists will go from Guilin to Yangshuo (a very picturesque smaller town downstream of Guilin). The river winds through some truly spectacular limestone formations and a slow boat trip there and back (with a stop in Yangshuo) will take a whole day. For those looking for a cheaper option, take a bus to Xingping and take a smaller boat through the best parts of the scenery for ¥180 for 2.5hours. ¥480(luxury), ¥360(ordinary), ¥140(bamboo).  

*  Four Lakes' Cruise, +86 773 2831040, 2888805, day and evening. A boat tour around the four lakes and two rivers of Guilin. At night, the scenery is spectacularly flood lit. At the mid point in the tour, there will be a demonstration of traditional cormorant fishing. Tours last between 60 and 90 minutes depending on the route purchased. ¥150 per adult.  

*  Dreaming on Li River Show, +86 773 2851279. 70min. A theatrical dance and music performance daily. The show tries to recreate the culture of the various ethnic groups around Guilin. 150.  

There are many more activities nearby in neighbouring towns and villages:

*  Wu Pai River Drifting, (2 hours north of Guilin (in Zi Yuan County)), +86 773 4315888, White water rafting down the scenic Wu Pai River in Zi Yua county.  

*  Guilin Shangri-la park, (Halfway along the road between Guilin and Yangshuo). Set in beautiful scenery, this ethnic theme park tries to introduce visitors to the wide range of local nationalities and their cultures. A short boat trip will take you around the butterfly lake. On the way, various performances are staged on the shore of the lake, demonstrating different aspects of the culture. The boat will drop you off at the 'village' where you can see displays of local crafts including weaving, embroidery, buffalo horn carving and calligraphy. These crafts are produced on site and you may watch them working.  

*  Butterfly Cave, +86 773 8811466, 8811498, 8811469, 8829978 (silinj@glhdq.com), fax: +86 773 881498, 8829978), A pair of sheer sided mountains surrounded by a butterfly themed park. One of the mountains has a cave running through the core of it. Inside this cave are many strange rock formations including stalagmites and stalactites. One particularly unusual formation is shaped like a butterfly, lending the hill its name. A rope bridge connects from the cave's exit over to the other mountain. At the side of the bridge, a waterfall cascades down the mountain side. The path takes you around the summit of the second peak and down to the gardens below. A dance performance greets each tour party here. The final stage is a walk inside a netted area in which a large variety of butterflies may be observed.  

*  The Guilin Merryland World Resort, located about 1 hours drive north of Guilin offers two attractions:

*  Golf Course, +86 773 6229898 (fax: +86 773 6229906). Beautiful golf course with 27 holes. A bit on the expensive side but well worth the money.  

*  Theme Park.  

Learn

* The Chinese Language Institute ( http://www.studyCLI.org )- CLI is a branch of Guangxi Normal University (GXNU) that expands upon GXNU's program to provide all students with 5-20 weekly hours of one-on-one lessons, options of home-stays and immersed housing with Chinese graduate students, weekly activities and monthly travel excursions, 24-hour emergency assistance, pre-arrival assistance, and visa and housing assistance. CLI offers classes ranging from a few days, to a few weeks, to a semester, to an academic year. CLI benefits from being operated by an international staff.

* Guangxi Normal University - the finest university in Guilin, offering a wide-range of Chinese language and culture classes. see The Chinese Language Institute above for the premier program offered at GXNU

* Guilin University of Technology Tel/Fax: +86 773 5895613 - You may join regular or part-time Chinese Language and Cultural Courses provided by Guilin University of Technology which stands near the Seven-star park in the downtown area.

* Guilin University of Electronic Technology

Eat

The local delicacy is Guilin Rice Noodles (Gui Lin Mi Fen), also available as stir-fried (Chao Fen). This is served everywhere, but try to avoid the joints near the train station. Traditionally the noodle and the topping is first eaten without soup, and once the topping has run out there is usually a pot of soup to add flavour to the rest of your noodles. There are also various pickles and condiments that you can add to your noodles.

A local snack is "horse hoof cake" (Ma Ti Gao), which is a crumbly cake stuffed with red beans filling. Another delicious breakfast item is sweet tofu infused with a certain flower. Look for roadside vendors adding orange-coloured liquid to a steaming hot bag of tofu, which you then drink with a straw.

Budget

Cheese Man- Decent Cheese is hard to find in Guilin, if you live there or are passing through. A bit of Western food in your backpack seems to do the trick when on the move. This guy has Cheese and lots of other western food stuffs if you have a hankering for something not so oily. He has Feta, Gouda, Cheddar, wines, Muesli and Cereals,etc. Email him for the full list. He says he delivers free to most places around the town. The email is scott@ezymail.us

Mid-range

There are many restaurants around the main streets, Jiefang Road and along the river, but many of them are either overpriced chains and/or tourist traps and the food they serve is less than authentic. Do not be fooled by them being crowded, they are not worth the money. A better option may be to wander the side streets.

Restaurants often assume westerners do not like spicy food and will make your food bland as hell if you do not insist otherwise. Even then there is a chance they will not believe you.

* Hao Heng Shi Jia, 2nd floor, 9 Middle Zhong Shan Road. Good steaks, western and Chinese food. Located on the main shopping street. Internet cafe just upstairs.  

* Rosemary Cafe, (In the pedestrianized area near Jiefang Bridge). Good coffee and western food. Decent sandwiches with wholemeal bread. Free Wifi. A few books for sale or exchange. Staff are polite and efficient, though perhaps slightly cool in their attitude.  

* Sharon's Coffee (格格咖啡), Chuanshan South Road (穿山南路) (Street to Chuanshan Park, at the corner Lijiang Road, near by Li River Chuanshan Bridge), +86 773 5861855, Pleasant atmosphere, coffee, cocktails, excellent Western food (try the Schnitzel and the iced coffee). Free WiFi. Sharon, known as 'Shaz' to the Aussies, is your hostess and goes out of her way to help you. For Taxi: 格格咖啡,穿山南路(穿山公园路口)  

* Zhengyang Souper Restaurant. Despite the tacky name and shambolic decor this restaurant on the main pedestrian area near the clock tower is popular with locals (do not be fooled by the empty outside tables, they all prefer to sit inside). It has an English menu and helpful staff. Serves a good variety of Chinese dishes including local delicacies like Steamed Li River Fish. ¥18-60 for main dishes.  

Splurge

Drink

Liquan beer and osmanthus tea.

* Kaya café & bar, Zhonghua Lu 6 (from the walking street, walk to Solitary Beauty Peak (North), at the gate, go right and first left again, 50 meters on your right side). One of the few real bars in Guilin. Very laidback atmosphere. Located in a quiet street near the center. Offers chilled out music. They have regular parties, concerts, movies, etc.. They also have a branch in Yangshuo.  

* 100 C, Binjiang Road (near sheraton hotel). Very good bar with great music.  

* Red Lips -- On the Road -- Usual Place -- Go In, Chuanshan South Road (street to Chuanshan Park, at the corner of Lijiang Road, close to Li River Chuanshan Bridge). Four new bars nearby, each nicely decorated and with relaxed atmosphere, some with Internet Access, young audience, often English speaking Chinese students. Also Sharon's Coffee for excellent Western food (e.g. steak, schnitzel, burgers and baguettes) close-by.  

* Le Feitz (Irish Pub), 1-8 Chaoyang Rd, 540004 Guilin (100m from Guangxi Normal University north gate), (+86)13737734082, 19:00-03:00. Le Feitz is an authentic Irish Pub located in the universities area. Unique atmosphere with parties and live music (band and singers).  

 

Get around

By bike

Renting a bike and taking off into the countryside, with or without a guide, is one popular strategy for exploring the area. There are several places around the main street catering for short-term rentals charging from ¥5 upwards. (If you want to play it safe, some places will get you a helmet for extra.)

By taxi

Normal taxis in Yangshuo are very few compared to in bigger cities. However, there are numerous open air three wheel style taxis and motorbike taxis. Agree to a price before getting on and bargain hard. If you are staying outside of the main town, try to arrange transport in advance if you want to avoid haggling or being ripped off. Most of the actual taxis don't have meters, or the meters will be turned off. The price for a trip about 5km outside of town is ¥20-30.

By foot

Yangshuo is a small place; the town can easily be covered on foot. There is an electric minibus network consisting five routes covering most parts of town. ¥1 per ride.

If you're planning on walking around the many streets and caves around Yangshuo, a map is recommended. Artistic tourist maps are available for sale for around ¥5-10 at tourist shops all over town, but the free maps are better for finding your way.

For those who want to wander a little further afield, or to check the attractions in the area, there are several options.

By boat

There are boat tours up or down the river.

By bus

Local buses serve some locations. From Yangshuo's bus terminal, minibuses (xiao mian bao or "little bread loaves") go to Gaotian (for Yueliang Shan/Moon Hill), Jinbao via Baisha (for Yulong Qiao/Dragon Bridge), Shazhi (for Fuli village), Xingping (for the Xingping-Yangdi scenic area) and further afield.

By car

It is possible to hire private cars for others.

Tour Guides

Most hostels or hotels can arrange transport and a guide if you want one. A guide may be very helpful for things like cycling tours. Guides can also be found at 'Expat Services' on Chenzhong Rd, next to 7th Heaven. Alternately, you can choose your own tourist guide by working out a deal with one of the many who will accost you on the street. Some local guides are simply savvy street wise individuals trying to make some money, whilst others are registered and take government examinations. Whilst some of the unlicensed guides can be very good at what they do, be careful that you are not simply being taken on a 'shopping' tour where you feel pressured into spending money you do not wish to. If you want to go and see a larger region or even start a tour to the rest of the province or the neighbour provinces, you can get in touch with one of the local foreigner-run travel services. They can give you good advice or organize an authentic-orientated private tour for you with your own car/driver and experienced tour guide. There are a few in Yangshuo like Bon Voyage China (specialized on Southwest China), Carnets de Yangshuo, ...

See

Karst landscape

The area around Yangshuo is renowned throughout China, if not the whole world, (even making it into the backdrop of Star Wars Episode III), for its karst landscape where there are hundreds upon hundreds of limestone hills dotting the countryside. The beautiful scenery here is a common subject of Chinese paintings as well as the inspiration for poetry. There are several popular areas for karst landscape sight-seeing which can be covered by river cruises, bamboo-raft cruises, cycling, trekking and combinations of the various modes.

*  Yangdi-Xingping scenic area, (Catch a direct river cruise from Yangshuo or get to Yangdi (90mins, ¥8) and Xingping (45 mins, ¥5.5) by minibus from Yangshuo bus terminal, or cycle out there and then take boats or rafts to reach the scenic area.). This stretch along the Li River is probably the most renowned and popular. The traditional bamboo rafts along this stretch have been replaced by rafts made of plastic pipe and 2 stroke motors. The "raft experience" is now a boom industry and hundreds of these small rafts cruise this route when the big tour boats have passed. The rafts are safe and the better operators provide life jackets. Touts in Yangshuo advertise prices as low as ¥88 for this trip, but equilibrium price is about ¥150 per trip. Expect incredibly aggressive hawkers when you arrive in Xingping. The more common Guilin-Yangshuo boat ride passes through this area. There is also a 24km (5 to 6 hours) track for easy hiking along the Li river.  

*  Yulong River valley, (Turn west into a small road from the main Yangshuo bypass road just south of the Sinopec petrol station at the junction of Pantao Lu (there are road signs in Chinese). Or, use the road to Jinbao from Baisha town 9km north of Yangshuo on the main road to Guilin. Minibuses from Yangshuo bus terminal to Jinbao go near Yulong village). The pretty Yulong River valley is said to rival the Yangdi-Xingping stretch in terms of beauty. Besides rafting down the river on bamboo rafts, another popular way of seeing the valley is by cycling along riverside tracks. The journey will bring you through many farming villages and past several stone bridges across the river such as the Yulong Qiao and Fuli Qiao. Be warned though that the track is complicated and it is easy to get lost; using a local guide will ensure you stay on track.  

*  Moon Hill, (Take a Gaotian minibus Yangshuo bus terminal. If you plan to cycle, Moon Hill is located about 8km south of Yangshuo on the road to Wuzhou.). Another popular scenic spot south of town. The main attraction is a hill with a huge hole in the shape of a moon. The hills here can be climbed for spectacular vistas from the top.
Getting there: There is a ¥15 entry fee. It's not an incredibly long trek to the top but the gradient and strange angle of the steps can do something strange to your legs on the way down. The Moon Hill Cafe at the base of the hill sells fairly mediocre food at ridiculously high prices, and you may need something after the trek up and down. Alternatively there are a few other places to choose from in nearby Moon Hill Village, and plenty of hawkers selling cool drinks. If it is a slow day, don't be surprized if a hawker follows you up the mountain to make a sale when you are thirsty. The hawkers are mostly harmless old farm women, but they are aggressive. ¥5 is a fair price for two bottles of cold water. They will try to sell it for triple that price. On the road back to Yangshuo, not far from Moon Hill, is the 'Big Banyan Tree' scenic area. A ¥18 entry fee gets you into this popular park by the Yulong river, featuring a 1,400 year old banyan tree. Be sure to use the official entrance (ticket offices at the front), as hawkers will attempt to lure you into an alternative entrance that is lined with dozens of souveneir stalls.  

*  Cormorant Fishing. Local tourism companies offer evening boat trips to watch fisherman using a traditional night fishing technique that employs cormorants.  edit

*  People’s Park, (just opposite the bus station). A great place to observe the locals playing cards, a national pastime so it would seem. You’ll also see groups of women sitting around talking whilst doing their knitting, some even walk along the street whilst knitting and chatting.  

Do

Rock Climbing

Yangshuo has over 300 climbing routes ranging in difficulty from 5.6 to 5.13. There is a lively climbing scene in town, so experienced climbers will have no problem finding a partner, just ask in the climbing places and they should know other climbing travelers you can hook up with. For beginners and climbers traveling without their own equipment several climbing companies offer equipment rental, one/multi-day trips and places to hang out chatting about potential routes or to find a partner. The "Yangshuo Climbing Guide", a guidebook showing route topos, grades, etc. can be purchased from any of the climbing companies. Climbing shops in Yangshuo:

*  Spiderman, (marked with a conspicuous sign), on Xianqian Road (the first cross street off West Street as you come up from the river).  

*  Karst Cafe, on Xianqian Road,

*  China Climb, Xi Jie (West Street), Has a bar and a bouldering wall. China Climb guides and other climbers hang out there in the evenings.  

*  Terratribes, on Fu Qian Road,

*  Xclimber, on Guihua Road (a right turn then a left turn before the start of West Street),

*  Blackrock, on Guihua Road.  

Other outdoor activities

*  Bike riding. Wandering through the countryside on a bike and getting lost is one of the best things about Yangshuo. The villages often have dramatic mountain backdrops, and the people are generally friendly. Another popular trip is to take a boat ride with a bike, then bicycle back to town. Bike hire starts at ¥5 per day, and tandems are a bit more. The bikes tend to be poorly maintained, so be sure to check brakes and gears before you set out. For travelers craving reliability, Bike Asia (on Guihua Rd, above Bar 98) has well-maintained specialized mountain bikes for ¥50. Bike Asia also has free bike maps of the area, and can advise on where to cycle. Find an farmer woman for ¥100 per day to give you a guided tour of the local paths. This may include lunch at her place if you're lucky. From ¥5 per day.  

*  Yangdi - Xingping. This walk is a far more peaceful way to enjoy the Li river and mountain scenery than a loud noisy boat down the river. It takes you along the pebbly shores of the river, through many small villages, fields and bamboo forests. To do the walk, you must purchase a ticket (¥16) from the ticket office (look for the sign in English) right near the wharf in Yangdi; this covers the first two (of three) river crossings, and access beyond a checkpoint about halfway along the walk. The first ferry crossing departs near the end of the wharf (i.e. downstream), and is a blue boat with a yellow "<--->" sign on the roof. If you get tired during the walk, you can always rent a bamboo raft to float down the river; don't worry about availability - you will be turning down offers of 'Bamboo? Bamboo?' the whole way. Typically this walk is done Yangdi -> Xingping, however vice-versa is possible. There are plenty of people selling food and drinks along the way, ranging from single sellers to sit-down cafes.  

*  Exploring caves. There are an abundance of caves riddling the limestone hills. Guided tours are available. More serious cavers should talk to the staff at the various climbing shops (listed above) for information about possible cave climbs.  

*  Swimming in the Li Jiang River. During the summer the water and air temperature is good for swimming. Locals swim from the docks on the Li Jiang (Li River) a short way upstream of the town centre. The Lijiang water quality is average, and it is possible to swim as long as you comfortable with some undesirables in the water. Also tour boats that travel the Li Jiang coming from Guilin are a hazard. The Yulong River is also good for swimming, offering some quality swimming spots, although some parts of the river are crowded with bamboo rafts.  

*  Bamboo Rafting. Rafting along the Yulong river is particularly popular in summer, but travelers should take care not to go rafting if the water is brown and turbulent. In 2005 there was a fatality during high floods.  

*  Hot Air Ballooning, +86 773 8814919. Expensive by Chinese standards, hot air ballooning in Yangshuo is still a bargain compared to the West. Safety is a concern; four Dutch tourists were killed in a 2009 accident. A new hot air ballooning company, China Hot Air Ballooning ,has recently been established by the Australian company, Outback Ballooning. Flights are run to the highest balloon safety standards and are for 1 hour. Transfers leave daily from Guilin. US$290 for a one hour flight.  

Shows

*  Impression Liu Sanjie. Nightly during the high season. 70 minutes long. The show, set to the music from the movie of the same name and produced by the same person that did the Beijing Olympic games opening ceremony, is grand and impressive, but not particularly entertaining. It features a cast of 600+ wearing traditional Zhuang, Miao and Yao dress, and a highly impressive light show. Liu Sanjie translates as Third sister Liu, the heroine of an old Chinese story. You can see the show cheaply from a boat on the river, or even from across the river, but far the best view is from the official seating area. Tickets only sell out in the very height of the summer tourist season. Seats are assigned. ¥188 face value, travel agents sell for ¥130-150.  

Learn

Martial arts

Prices in Yangshuo tend to be higher than those in the rest of China.

*  Budizhen International Kung Fu, Tai Ji & Qi Gong School, (at the top of West Street), +86 13977350377 or +86 13677862400 (budizhen.info@gmail.com), Master Mei teaches classes in Taichi, Qigong, Kungfu, Taekwondo, and other martial arts. Lesson: ¥40.  

*  Green Lotus Kung Fu Classes, (West Street).  

*  LongTouShan Taichi School, (half an hour walk from West street), Taichi, Qigong and Yoga classes in a beautiful spot located in the country side  

*  Master Fu Nengbin's School, (in Shi Ban Qiao, within lovely walking distance from Yangshuo), Tai Chi Chuan & Kung Fu  

*  Taiji with Master Huang, 13558136725, Sufi "Henry" Huang a deeply knowledgeable master deep into Taoist philosophy and able to teach all forms, from meditative Qi Gong through restorative Yang to the potentially deadly Quan. Whether only passing through for a day or staying a week or more, you'd do well to check him out. The qi is strong with this one. ¥40/hour.  

*  The People's Park Tai Chi Classes. 8:00AM Daily.  

*  Yangshuo Tai Chi School, Tai Chi Teacher Training Courses  

*  Wang Zhi Ping Tai Chi Training Centre, (behind the park on Baoquan Road), once off lessons, weekly and monthly rates, plus professional training in various forms of Tai Chi  

Cooking

*  Yanghsuo Cooking School, 13788437286, Run by an Australian living in China. Single and multi-day classes in traditional Chinese cooking. 2 different menus depending on which day you go (morning/lunch or afternoon/dinner classes), and typical dishes include beer fish, stuffed pumpkin flowers, egg-wrapped dumplings and stir fried pork with vegetables and oyster sauce. A tour of the local market and hotel pick up is included.  

*  Cooking Classes @ Cloud 9 Restaurant, (0) 13507838851. Run by Linda Liang and William Lu  

Language

*  Chinese Language Institute (CLI), A branch of Guilin's Guangxi Normal University (GXNU) that expands upon GXNU's program to provide all students with 5-20 weekly hours of one-on-one lessons, options of home-stays and immersed housing with Chinese graduate students, weekly activities and monthly travel excursions, 24-hour emergency assistance, pre-arrival assistance, and visa and housing assistance. CLI offers classes ranging from a few days, to a few weeks, to a semester, to an academic year. CLI benefits from being operated by an international staff.  

*  Mandacentre, Professional Mandarin classes.  

*  Omeida Chinese Academy. Chinese language programs that meet the needs and goals of students at all levels. Survival Chinese course is specially designed for those backpacking around China. Travelers may take the course and be equipped with essential Chinese phrases.  

*  Yangshuo Cultural Centre, Guihua Lu #69 (Behind Famous West Street), 13878374343, Study Mandarin in small groups, with a private teacher or online. You can even join a two-week Chinese Painting Holiday.  

Buy

There are a number of banks located in town. On West Street there is the Bank of China, Agricultural Bank and ICBC. On Pantao Lu there are a few others, including the China Postal Bank and another near the fresh food markets. Be aware that not all banks have ATMs, and not all ATMs will handle foreign card transactions.

Beware of the fresh market. If you are sensitive, then cages full of dogs waiting for the slaughter may just upset you enough to put you off your food. There are plenty of stalls out on the streets where you can buy lots of fruits, no need to face the grim meat market.

Tourist stuff

There is a huge amount of touristy stuff available:

*  Pashmina scarves (Cashmere by a different name).

*  Silk products: ties, kimonos, scarves, dresses.

*  Pottery, bronze, stone carvings, bracelets, and knickknacks of all sorts.

*  Scroll paintings, fans and embroidered cloths.

Much of this stuff is lovely, really very tempting. However, quite a bit of it is fake and nearly all of it is available all over China and cheaper outside of Yangshuo.

Asking prices for such stuff in Yangshuo are horribly inflated. Here is a table based on some travellers' experience:

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Item

Asking price, in yuan

Price paid

A local says it is worth

 

elsewhere

Yangshuo

Yangshuo

 

silk ties

10-20

75-120

50 for 3

 

small silk scarves

 

80-100

20

 

large scarf/wrap

60-80

120-200

50

 

old silver dollars, nearly all counterfeit

20

80-150

6-10

 

large tapestry

 

150

55

30-40

Wooden dolls with minority style clothes

 

up to 50

6

20 CNY for 10-12 dolls

Half-meter (18") wooden Buddha

 

400

100

less

Getting the prices shown took hard bargaining, often based on knowledge of prices elsewhere. Of course, even those may not be the best possible prices.

Many tourists, having no idea of the real Chinese price, are grossly overcharged. After all, even ¥120 (about $17 US) would be a great price for a nice pure silk tie back home, and even without haggling skill you can no doubt beat him down to 60 or 80. However, when they may not be real silk and routinely sell for far less in China, even 60 is excessive. On the other hand, there is no need to be rude while haggling. The guy who asks ¥120 for a tie that is worth maybe ¥20 is not a thief; he's just trying to make a living, charging what the market will bear.

Advice for tourists who have no idea what the Chinese price should be:

*  Assume nothing on offer here is worth more than a fourth of the asking price, and most things quite a bit less.

*  If you are prepared to haggle, offer about 10% of the asking price and go from there.

*  If not, offer 20% to 30% and stick to it. Walk away if the vendor will not meet your price. They often follow after you with better prices.

Consider the classic mother-to-daughter advice "Men are like buses. You don't worry if you miss one and you never chase them, because you know there will always be another one along." This applies very much to vendors of tourist goods in Yangshuo. If one is too expensive, or even if you are not sure the price is fair, you can always try another.

The main drag of West Street and the street along the river are more expensive. You can find the same stuff cheaper at Xingping, the small town North of Yangshuo, or in the back streets.

Local goods

There are also a few things not usually available elsewhere:

*  Postcards and picture books of the area, in stores or hawked by older women on the street.

*  Chinese paintings of the local Karst scenery.

*  T-shirts

*  Chinese characters with different slogans, such as "I have no money", or "Foreigner coming" on the front and "Foreigner going" on the back.

*  Hard Rock Cafe T-shirts are common. There has never been a real Hard Rock Cafe (part of the chain) in Yangshuo, though at least two now defunct places used the name.

*  Silver and embroidery pieces by local minorities.

*  Prices for large pieces are high, but some pieces may be worth them.

*  Small pieces, such as embroidered Zhuang minority love balls, are also available.

You should also bargain on these, of course.

Other interesting things

*  Nature House, On Die Cui Lu about half a block from the river. Sells various rocks, some are interesting geological specimens while others are carved and/or painted. Fascinating.

*  The Chopstick Shop, on West Street. Their factory is in Guilin and they sell wonderfully gift wrapped chopstick sets.

*  Used Bookstore, 13237831208, There is a used bookstore and reading room (with a large selection in English and some books in several other European languages) at Cafe Too at 7 Cheng Zhong Road. Prices are higher than at used bookstores in Western countries, but cheaper than new books. You can buy coffee and read them free. It is great for people living in China and missing Western books.

CDs and DVDs - Available at several stores on West Street or nearby. Nearly all such products in China are unauthorised copies, but many in Yangshuo look real. General quality, especially the packaging, is far better than the usual. Many come with booklets of lyrics or artist biography. Some have full-colour advertising printouts for the label's other offerings, I cannot imagine a "pirate" duplicating that. Selection is also good, the English music is not all Backstreet Boys and the Carpenters. Prices are also higher, ¥15-25 versus ¥6-8 for the cheap copies all over China.

Eat

Yangshuo is a great place to eat. There are dishes from all over the world and just about any region in China. You can eat cheaply in the markets with the locals or you can try comfort food in one of the many cafes in town.

Local specialties:

*  Grapefruit or Pomelos (sha tian you) - locally produced, they are very sweet and juicy and can be bought everywhere for ¥1-2. Ask the vendor to choose one with a small top and cut it up for you.

*  Beer fish - A local specialty, something most Chinese tourists try.

Beware: If you buy fish, the price displayed on the menu may be the price per 500g. A largish fish may cost you well over ¥100. Also, the local cuisine can be spicy but you can request keeping the chillies out if you don't like your food hot.

*  1 place for Cheese and Western foods (Cheese guy in Yangshuo), Delivers to your place, 15007832936. This American Guy Paul has all sorts of Western products. Gouda, Cheddar, Feta and Camembert Cheese. Has Cereals and lost of other Western stuff. Prices are good because they sell direct. You kind of get tired of the Yangshuo Western food sometimes. You can email his sidekick and get the full product list and abit of advice on Yangshuo. scott@ezymail.us  

Western food

It seems almost every restaurant in Yangshuo offers burgers, shepherd's pie, and a Western breakfast. Most of the staff in these places speak reasonable English, a few excellent.

In general, the standard of the food is quite high. However, there is much menu copying and some places serve rather bizarre impressions of Western dishes as prepared by Chinese chefs without the original recipe. In particular, be prepared for odd looking and tasting bread and copies of western cakes and deserts. Also, in these places the standard of the Chinese food is generally hit or miss, since Western food is their specialty.

Prices are considerably higher than eating in China usually is. However, they are generally better than prices for Western food in major Chinese cities.

Many of these offer free Internet access, but they generally only have one machine so you may have to wait a bit.

*  7th Heaven Cafe, Cheng Zhong Road. Western and Chinese cuisine.  

*  Balcony Bar, Xianqian Jie. Fairly decent French food and crepe, movie every night at 9 and free internet.  

*  Buffalo Bar, Xianqian Jie. Aussie run, with meat pies and quiz night on Thursdays. Wireless internet and a pool table.  

*  Minority Cafe, Guihua Lu (A few doors down from Backstreet Cafe which is run by the same people). Friendly staff and tasty food with decent size portions. The burrito and the chocolate and banana pancake are particularly good. Wireless internet and two computers available for customers. Regular expat hangout. western food around ¥25, Gin and tonic ¥10, Beer ¥6.  

*  Cafe China, on the corner of West Street and Xianqian Jie. Great coffee, great cheesecake, packed most nights, wireless internet, and good chocolate milkshake (though small). Brandy: ¥7.  

*  Cafe del Moon, West Street (near center of West Street). Ghastly croissants but the rest is good. Excellent value if you are hungry or want a lot of coffee. all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet: ¥32.  

*  Cafe Too, 7 Cheng Zhong Road. Has English books to read, buy or trade.  

*  Green Lotus, 100 West Street (next to Youth Hostel). Expensive.  

*  Indian Restaurant, Guihua Lu. Great Indian food. Indian owned.  

*  Karst Cafe, Xianqian Jie. Climber hangout with good pizza (if you've been in China long - but don't spring for the stuffed crust), comfortable sofas, and wireless internet.  

*  Luna ((听月餐厅)), Moon Hill Village (On the rooftop of Yangshuo Village Inn), 86-773-8778189, 12:00-01:00. Italian restaurant Designed by Yangshuo Mountain Retreat  owner, Chris Barclay, Luna offers gorgeous views of Moon Hill and the surrounding village. They also serve gourmet Chinese dumplings and offer a full bar. There's no elevator so be prepared to walk up. $5-6/plate.  

*  Kelly's Cafe, Guihua Lu. Great service and food, cheap beer. Foreigners living in Yangshuo often hang out here. Also offers free wireless internet. The Kelly's Cafe on Guiha street is better than the one of the side street- they both have milk shakes and their veggie burger is in fact the best in China as claimed. Also, a nice view and an ample breakfast.  

*  MC Blues, Xianqian Jie. Good cocktails, happy hour from 6PM to 8PM, great music, wireless internet, 2nd floor lounge and open late.  

*  Red Star Express, Guihua Lu (Turnoffs from both West Street and Xianqian Jie are marked with a flag showing a Red Star.). Excellent burritos and enchiladas.  

*  River Bar, Bing Jiang Lu (upstream of Li River). 5PM to late. The only riverside bar and restaurant. Relaxing setting, stunning views. Order a mixed tapas plates, fresh home-made dumplings (both available vegetarian), Chinese banquet by request or order pizza, pasta or Chinese from nearby Rock n Grill.  

*  Roof Garden ((屋顶花园餐厅)), Yangshuo Hidden Dragon Villa, Big Banyan Tree scenery zone (Rooftop of Yangshuo Hidden Dragon Villa nearby Yulong River), 086-0773-8816268, 8:00-23:00. Rooftop of Yangshuo Hidden Dragon Villa in Big Banyan Tree scenery Zone nearby Yulong River. Overlooking the peaceful and beautiful mountains, Yulong River and rice paddies, the Roof Garden Restaurant divides into the open rooftop restaurant and enclose rooftop restaurant, each can accommodate 40 persons at the same time, 80 persons in total. The enclosed rooftop restaurant combines the Restaurant, Wine Bar and Tea Bar together. $3-6/plate.  

*  Soul Cafe, Guihua Lu (opposite Kelly's Cafe). A great coffee house.  

*  Alley, Guihua Lu (Just across the Kaya). Offers very good beef steaks and burgers, excellent italian style pizza, the best Gongbao Chicken in Yangshuo. Big outside sitting area, nicely decorated and a real western bar atmosphere with Duvel, Leffe, Erdinger..., free wireless, live european football, and more than 40 cocktails - try the Super Mojito. Always good Promotions.  

*  Twin Peaks Cafe, West Street. Standard western fare. Slow service.  

*  Valentine, Guihua Lu (on the corner of Guiha Lu and the small bridge towards west street). French Chef Nicolas with a romantic atmosphere. Original first class fusion cuisine. Great desert and best chocolate cake of all the city. A good selection of tapas and cocktails.  

Chinese food

*  Cloud Nine — A popular Chinese place on West Street.

*  Dumpling King Just off the walking steet from the bus station. This cheap eatery states 'We may not be in lonely planet but we are good for you' ...It is not, it is awful.

*  Snow Lion A great place just outside of town. Eat on the terrace by the river. Well known for its Crispy Duck dishes with fresh plum sauce.

*  Ganguoyu (干锅鱼) — A "dry pot" fish restaurant very popular with the locals. It is located beside the pond on Jiefang Lu (between the petrol station and the tunnel).

*  Yangshuo Ren (阳朔人) — A Chinese restaurant very popular with the locals. It specializes in beer fish and other hot pots. It is on the market street between Sunshine 100 and the 99 supermarket.

*  Beifang Jiaozi Guan (北方饺子馆) (Note: sign also reads in English "Dynasty of Dumplings") — This "northern dumplings" restaurant on Xianqian Jie near the intersection with Die Cui Lu and right around the corner from the Magnolia Hotel has fantastic North-East Chinese cuisine.

*  Huang Jin Lian — This is a good restaurant on Diecui Rd (parallel to West St) serving the local delicacies. The local shrimp dish is interesting as you eat them whole so they have a bit of crunch. Be prepared to pay ¥1 for the provision of the shrink wrapped dish set and ¥1 for a bowl of rice. This restaurant is quite close to the market that runs along the river and service is friendly.

*  Gan's Noodles, (this noodles shop is located about a 20 minute from the main bus station, down the road toward Guilin, on the right). Specializing in handmade noodles, this tiny shop is an out of the way treasure most tourists will never visit. For 8 rmb you get a great spicy beef noodle bowl. With a beer to wash it all down, this little 4 table shop had excellent service, while the servers don't know English, the menu has pictures and English names, and whatever you end up with will be amazing.  

*  The night market — Used to be located near the bus station, now head into the markets across the road or down to Gui Hua Lu. There is quite a variety of food, much of it at low prices (although still more expensive than elsewhere in China). They even serve dog, rat, oysters, mussels, rabbit, duck, shrimp, frog, the local mud snails and a variety of other surprising dishes! Make sure to haggle. WARNING: Take very good care of your belongings -- there are some very accomplished sneak thieves and pickpockets specialising in wallets, phones and passports.

*  Sichuan Restaurant A great Sichuan Restaurant on FuRong Rd. Maybe 100m along Die-cui lu travelling away from the water then right (big sign). The fish flavoured eggplant is great as are the fried green peppers (not on menu - just hope someone has them and point). Menu with English and pictures.

Vegetarian

*  Pure Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant (暗香疏影 素菜馆) — Down near the river end of Die Cie Lu. Word of caution though: If you are absolutely strict about not wanting to come into contact with meat, be the reasons morally or religiously, know that the staff of this restaurant uses the kitchen to cook their meat in the same pans as the vegetarian dishes. Very yummy food - XO "steak" and vegetable balls and carmelized tarro. The stuffed tomatoes are not good, and neither is the spicy tofu.

Drink

Cafes

There are Chinese tea shops where you can sample ‘ten year’ old tea, or even ’fifteen year’ old tea. It looks very black, but produces a very mild light looking and tasting tea, all served from miniature teapots into miniature teacups. But beware many tea houses are ridiculously over priced. One of the most popular scams in China is the standard, "Do you speak English?, Do you have time? I was about to go get some tea, want to come with me?" and out goes hundreds of kuai. It is a scam; do not fall for it. They are not your friends.

Clubs

Considering its size, Yangshuo has a pretty boisterous nightlife. Most restaurants along the main street stay open late and serve alcohol. Several have live music.

There are also several clubs located near the bus terminal, which sometimes stay open until 5 or 6AM and other nights are shut by midnight. There doesn't seem to be a method to their hours, worth going down and seeing if they're open. There should be no cover, and frequently there's an opportunity to see young PLA soldiers from the nearby base in a decidedly un-military context.

Bars

As with Guilin, the local drink is Guilin Three-flower Wine, although most residents seem to prefer a glass of Tsingtao or Baijiu.

*  Bar 98. Wireless internet and a pool table. Run by one Australian, has Aussie meat pies and good burritos. The mixed drinks are real - a lot of Chinese run places have very weak drinks that aren't worth the price. Also, just a nice bar feel with out the too-loud pop music.  

*  Buffalo Bar, Xianqianjie #50 (Just off West St), Australian run bar in the town centre and popular with westerers. Has a pool and fussball table. Run table quizs and pool competitions and have WiFi. ¥8 local beer.  

*  Cafe le Votre. Set back from the street with a courtyard in front, is a brew pub with its own beer. They have two brews, a wheat beer and a dark beer, both are rare finds in China. They also have French and Chinese food. Their courtyard is a great place for people-watching, but unfortunately it is also convenient for touts to find you.  

*  Kaya, Guihua Lu 47 (Next to Dr Lily Li). A reggae bar, with a larger range of music though, often has good live music (permanent open mic) and very laidback atmosphere. Also has a branch in Guilin city. 10 kuai local beers and wide range of cocktails and other drinks.  

*  Alley - Yangshuo Beer Bar, Guihua Road. This bar is a great place for a few drinks and decent western food (pizza and steaks are excellent), very nice music selection. They offer a great variety of imported beers (Duvel, Leffe, Stella and Erdinger...), and plenty of cocktails as well as harder stuff (absinthe, single malts etc.) Nice outside sitting area, good service, very good english . From 10 Yuan for a local beer.