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Yangshuo (阳朔) is a small town in Guangxi, China, sandwiched in between hundreds of stunning karst peaks making this town truly beautiful. The rock formation starts further south in Laos and Vietnam, going through the stunning Halong Bay, then continues further north into Guizhou.
Until about 10 years ago, Yangshuo was a sleepy little village next to the Li River. Yangshuo’s big brother Guilin gained most of the fame during history and Chinese tourist flocked to Guilin over looking the neighboring, prettier town of Yangshuo for centuries. Foreign tourists started to go to Yangshuo in order to avoid the crowds in Guilin and to be closer to nature. This is because Guilin had exploded in size after becoming an industrial town for the northern area of the province.
More recently, Yangshuo has become a major backpacker hangout to rival any backpacker town in Southeast Asia. This is one of the few places in China where almost everyone speaks great English and reasonably priced foreign food is easy to find. This is slowly starting to change as more and more Chinese tourists have started to go to Yangshuo. Hopefully the backpacker vibe will remain strong in Yangshuo but with the fast pace in which everything moves in China nobody really knows.
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Most of the activities in Yangshuo revolve around the outdoors. There is great biking, hiking and climbing in the area. There are also several excellent caves for any amateur to advance cave diver to enjoy.
One of the more popular activities for Chinese tourists is to ride bamboo rafts down dammed sections of creeks running among the karst peaks. The rafts occasionally hit concrete dams that are about a meter high and people help push the raft over them. Just make sure to lift your feet up if you don't want them to get wet as the raft slides to the next level on the creek.
Although this might seem a bit tacky, it can be fun. Enjoying the sun, looking at the karst peaks and enjoying a beer or two can be a lots of fun during a boat ride. It is also a good way to meet Chinese tourists and enjoy some towns that don't even have roads to them. Another good thing about the rafts is that most of the people guiding them and operating them are local farmers trying to make a little extra money.
Most local bike tours offer some sort of raft ride as part of the package. If you decide to raft the entire creek this can take several hours. Most people only do a 20 to 45-minute section with their bikes strapped to the back to the raft. Prices can vary wildly depending on the time of the year and section of the creek.
In Yangshuo rock climbing has become extremely popular in the last few years. The peaks in the country side offer great chances to climb and experience great beauty. Several companies,own and operated by westerners, have opened in the last few years to provide climbing gear and guides. There are over 200 routes that have been documented and number is growing daily. Most of the routes are single-pitched bolted climbing routes, while more and more multi-pitch sport routes are beginning to be created. There is also plenty of traditional climbing. It is best to go with a guide that knows the local area because it is very easy to get lost or to go onto someone's private land.
Yangshuo can be hot and muggy in the summer (temperatures over 30 °C) and chilly in the winter (though rarely really cold). In general the best time to visit is in March, April, May or September, October, November, when weather is generally warm but showers are always possible.
Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (KWL) is the nearest airport to Yangshuo and is about 28 kilometres (17 miles) from Guilin. This medium size airport serves almost every major city in China, including Beijing, Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Guangzhou. It also has limited international service to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Seoul, Taipei Hong Kong and Macau. The budget airline Air Asia has service to this airport (to/from Kuala Lumpur). The only way way to reach the airport at this time is by taxi.
Nearest train station is in downtown Guilin, with direct services to cities like Kunming and Shanghai. Either book wel in front, or be happy with a standard seat, as berths fill up pretty quickly on the route.
Many hotels and guesthouses in Guilin will provide drivers with cars to Yangshuo.
The main bus station in Yangshuo is located just south of West Street and has a steady stream of buses going to the Guilin train station every day. If trying to get to Yangshuo the best way is to go to the parking lot in front of the Guilin train station, which has buses leaving every half hour starting at 6:00am and ending at 9:00pm. These buses are brand new and the ride is 14 RMB, although a little haggling could get you a slightly cheaper seat. Be prepared for some Hong Kong pop movies to kill the 1.5 bus ride. Stay on the bus untill arriving in the busstation unless you know where you are going and don't believe anybody who tells you otherwise (= hawks).
Express buses leave from the Guilin busstation, a 2-minute walk up the main road. They are usually less crowded and never stop on the way. Price is 15 RMB, although for some holidays they up the price a little. Go here if you want to feel safer with a lot of luggage or you want to be sure to be there in 1 to 1.5 hours, as local buses from the trainstation can be unpredictable if their business is slow.
Sadly the public boats don't run on the Li River any more between Guilin and Yangshuo. There are several private tourist boats that still do this multi hour trip. Although most of the trip is not super pretty and from Yangshuo there are half day trips to take a shorter boat rides just a long the prettiest section of the river. You might recognize some of the scenery from the back of the 20 RMB note.
Remember during the fall and winter the Li River can get very shallow. Even though the boats between Guilin and Yangshuo claim to run year round, during late autumn they scrape the bottom of the river during most of the ride. Usually during the winter the tour operators just stop running the boats entirely until the start of spring.
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Everything a tourist needs is located on West Street, including a brand new Bank of China with an international ATM. There are several restaurants, bars, clubs and shops located on and around West Street. Although there are several budget guesthouses on West Street it might be better to stay in one of the guesthouses located in the myriad of allies.
Motorbike rides are easy and cheap to hire anywhere in town.
There is very little official public transport in Yangshuo itself.
Walking is the best option for getting around. If your staying on New West Street everything you need is within walking distance. To get to some some of the further out tourist sights bikes are the best way.
This tourist area was made for bike riders. Other then for river tours, which require a bus or car to get to, bikes are your best option. Renting a bike is very easy and many hotels include them for free. Most places will give you a basic map that will tell you were most of the sights are and how to get there. Although it can be easy to get lost biking around fields there are always farmers around to guide you back in the right direction. Hiring a guide for a day is not expensive and can be a good idea for the first day.
There is plenty of great night markets around. Try the local specialty of rice noodles in a steaming pot. Just watch out for the rat on a stick at the local night markets. Wood fired pizzas are the big rave around town. Just look for a popular restaurant and try one out. A couple of restaurants have truly amazing blue cheese pizza!
Bars and discos have popped up all over West Street. Just choose a crowded one. Remember during slow times you can always ask for a discount on the drinks. Qian Xian street is a side road of West Street, more foreigners, especially climbers hang out there.
Another good option for drinking is Guihua Lu, paralel to West street. Bars here are cheaper, and filled with the local foreigners, students and longstay travellers, which makes it more laidback than touristy west street.
Many of the guesthouses, hostels and hotels have bars in them. Some are better then others, such as the roof top bar on Monkey Janes might have the best view in the city. Just remember it is worth branching out.
There are hundreds of cheap guesthouses in Yangshuo now. Although be careful because many of the cheaper Chinese hotels, especially those far from West Street, offer you great rooms for next to nothing and everything else for a high price. There are also several bargains during the slow times of the year. During certain times of the year you might be able to get a very nice room in a very nice hotel for a very low price.
Monkey Jane’s Guesthouse is located at the far end of West Street and down an alley at 28 Lianfeng Zhongxiang. Although the rooms are can be a little basic for the price and the hotel is very vertical there is one very nice factor about this place. The rooftop bar is amazing! This bar possibly has the best view of Yangshuo and is worth climbing the 8 flights of stairs to get there.
More budget options in Yangshuo include:
|Yangshuo Backstreet Cafe Hostel||No,11 Guihua Rd, Yangshuo Guilin city China||Hostel||-|
|Backstreet International Youth Hostel||60 Guihua Nan Rd, West St.||Hostel||-|
|Bamboo House Inn||23# Guihua Rd. West Street||Hostel||-|
|Breeze Inn||No. 30 Furong Road Yangshuo||Hostel||-|
|Climbers Inn||66# Guihua Lane||Hostel||86|
|Giggling Tree||Mainstreet 10-13, Aishanmen village, Yima Guangxi Province||Hostel||87|
|Happy Hotel||#102, Pan Tao Road||Hotel||-|
|Rock Climber Welcome||Pantao Road,Post office 100 metres down||HOSTEL||-|
|Lisa's Mountain View Lodge||No.10 Fu Yong Road||Hostel||-|
|Lisa's Shangri-la||Xijie Yangshuo, Guilin||Hotel||-|
|Monkey Jane's Guesthouse||24 Lianfengxiang||Hostel||70|
|Camellia Resort||No.300 Big Banyan Tree||Hotel||-|
|Peace Family Holiday Hotel||No.12 Diecui Road||Hotel||-|
|River View Hotel||No. 15, Binjiang Road||Hostel||-|
|Showbiz Inn at West Street||lianfeng xiang #4||HOSTEL||88|
|Mo's Home||15 Guihua Lu (street)||HOSTEL||-|
|West Lily Hotel||#28 Billan Lane||HOSTEL||-|
|Xingping This Old Place International Youth Hostel||No.5, Rongtan Rd. Xingping||Hostel||89|
|Yangshuo 11 Hostel||No.11 Lianfeng lane Yangshuo,Guilin||Hostel||88|
|Yangshuo Culture House||No.110 Beisan Xiang Chenxi Road||Hostel||78|
|Yangshuo Explorer Hotel||No.40 Xian Qian Street||Hotel||-|
|Yangshuo Liriver International Youth Hostel||No.25 Bingjiang Rd. Yangshuo||Hostel||-|
|Yangshuo Outside Inn||Helan Fandian Jima, Chaolong||Hostel||91|
|Yangshuo Senior Leader International Youth Hostel||No. 36 Fuqian Lane, Diecui Road Yangshou||HOSTEL||69|
|Yangshuo Tai He Zhi Hostel||9 Fu Qian Street||Hostel||-|
|Yu long River Village Inn||Chaolong Village Beside Yu Long River||Hostel||-|
|Trippers Carpe Diem||Shi Ban Qiao village nr 35||Hostel||89|
|Xingping Our Inn||Dahebei Village Xingping Town||Guesthouse||-|
|Charming Inn||24 Guihua Rd West Street (Xi Jie)||HOSTEL||82|
|Bamboo House Hotel||12# West Street, Longmu Alley||HOTEL||86|
|Yangshuo Zhenghe Hostel||No. 19, Ave.1, JiangJunLu Rd||Hostel||-|
|Yangshuo Boutique Hostel||54 Bilian Lane Yangshuo||HOSTEL||-|
|Good Friends International Youth Hostel||No.30 Xiangshui Bridge||HOSTEL||-|
|Long Time No See Hostel||No.29 Chengbei Road Yangshuo||HOSTEL||-|
|Hangout Hostel||LianFengXiang 51#||Hostel||-|
|Bamboo House Resort||10 # Chengzhong Rd, Yangshuo Guangxi, PR China||Hotel||-|
|Garden Hostel||Mushan Village||HOSTEL||-|
|Yangshuo Travellers Land Hostel||No 36, Wu Teng Lane||HOSTEL||86|
|Yangshuo Sunshine Hotel||No.68 Bilian Lane Behind New Century Hotel||Hotel||-|
|Fun Sam's Bed and Breakfast||No.27, Xiangshui Road||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|C&C Inn||NO.42 Fu Qian Xiang Die Cui Road||HOSTEL||-|
|No Kidd Inn||No.12 Cheng Bei Road||HOSTEL||76|
|The Donkey Hostel||19 Fu Qian Xiang Diecui road||HOSTEL||-|
|Bob's Village Inn||Dongling Road||HOSTEL||-|
|How Flowers Hostel||No.90,Pantao Road||HOSTEL||84|
|The Stone Bridge||22 Shi Ban Qiao||HOSTEL||86|
|En Attendant Godot Youth Hostel||No.33 Guanlian Road||Hostel||87|
|Yangshuo Mountain View Retreat||Moon Hill Big Banyan Tree Scen||Apartment||-|
|CTN Trip Boutique Hotel||#28, Long Tou Shan Shi Ban Qiao village||HOTEL||-|
|The Cosy Garden||No.35 Shi Ban Qiao||HOSTEL||88|
|Arcadia Youth Hostel||No.27-1 Chuanyan Village||HOSTEL||93|
|Yangshuo Dozycat Youth Hostel||16#ChengBei Road||HOSTEL||81|
|Southway Hostel||No.161 Xinjie Road Xing Ping Town||HOSTEL||-|
|Yangshuo Hidden Dragon Villa||Jo Wo Du Village Big Banyan Tree Scenic Area||HOTEL||-|
|Yangshuo Gold Riverside Hotel||Qiqiu Shu Village Gaotian Town||HOTEL||-|
|Xi Town River View Inn||NO.3 KanZhan Road||HOTEL||-|
|Michael's Inn & Suites||No 76, Shima Road Yangshuo County||HOTEL||-|
|Guan Jing Lou Guesthouse||No.60，Lane Bilian Yangshuo County Yangshuo China||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|The Sleepy Teepee||No 45 Shi Ban Qiao||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Tian Ran Ju Inn||In the middle of west street, Gui Hua Rd Hotel str 30 meters down on the right||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Huanghe||No.42 Feng Ming Xiao Qu||HOTEL||-|
|Yangshuo Orange Inn||No. 43, Ave 4, Lanhua Road||HOSTEL||-|
|Greenforest Hostel||Chengzhongcheng Business Street Diecui Road||HOSTEL||91|
|Beautiful Hutong||Mushanzha village, Dongling Road||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Times Inn||No. 11 Pan Tao Road||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Xitown River View Hotel||Fu'An dock, No. 3 Kang Zhan Rd||Hotel||-|
Many people work in Yangshuo as English teachers, tutors and in strange import/export ventures. Another option is to just open up a bar, restaurant or hostel to make money from the foreign tourists.
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There are several places offering climbing, Tai Chi, Kung-fu and cooking lessons. Just walk along West Street to find out more information.
Many Chinese people come to Yangshuo to improve their language skills, and so do foreign tourists. Several language schools and private teachers offer English and Chinese lessons. The big schools often offer accommodation and Visa support, whereas private teachers have more intensive custom made courses and have more reasonable prices.
There are several gaming centers located just off of West Street near the bus station. Internet here is generally cheap and fast.
Wangba (联网) means internet bar in Chinese. Almost every town will have an internet bar or gaming center. The best way to spot an internet bar is to look for the 网(ba) character, which means net, and large digitized images of computer game characters. Often, there will be a sign saying Green Power in English at the entrance. Most gaming centers cost about RMB3 an hour. You prepay at the main desk and are then given a plastic card or a piece of paper. Once you are done you return the card or piece of paper and get reimbursed for the money you didn't spend. Be prepared for a place that might be dingy, basic and messy. Internet bars in China tend to get crowded starting in the late afternoon to the late evenings.
Some hotels provide access from the rooms that may or may not be free; others may provide a wireless service or a few desktops in the lounge area.
Also, quite a few cafes provide free wireless Internet service. Some cafes, even provide a machine for customer use.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The country calling code to China is 86. To make an international call from China, the code is 00.
When making international phone calls it is best to buy an IP card. They typically have a value of ¥100 but sometimes can be had for as little as ¥25. The cards have printed Chinese instructions, but after dialing the number listed on the card English-spoken instructions are available. As a general indication of price, a call from China to Europe lasts around 22 minutes with a ¥100 card. Calls to the U.S. and Canada are advertised to be another 20% cheaper. There is no warning before the card runs out of minutes.
If you already have a GSM 900/1800 cellphone, you can roam onto Chinese networks, but calls will be very expensive (¥12-35/minute is typical). If you're staying for more than a few days, it will usually be cheaper to buy a prepaid Chinese SIM card; this gives you a Chinese phone number with a certain amount of money preloaded. Chinese tend to avoid phone numbers with the bad-luck digit '4', and vendors will often be happy to offload these "unsellable" SIM-cards to foreigners at a discount. If you need a phone as well, prices start around ¥100/200 used/new. Chinese phones, unlike those sold in many Western countries, are never "locked" and will work with any SIM card you put in them. China's two big operators are China Mobile and China Unicom. Most SIMs sold by the two work nationwide, with Unicom allowing Hong Kong/Macau/Taiwan usage as well. There is usually a surcharge of about ¥1/min when roaming outside the province you bought the SIM, and there are some cards that work only in a single province, so check when buying.
China Post (中国邮政) is the official postal service of the People's Republic of China, operated by the State Postal Bureau of the People's Republic of China (website in Chinese only), and has more details about price to send letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. The Chinese postal service is very good. Remember that in more remote places usually only one post office in a city can handle sending international boxes or letters. Also many times it might be worth having the name of the country you are trying to send to in Chinese characters, because small town people might not know what Estonia is in English. Post offices have a striking green logo and can easily be found everywhere in the cities. They are mostly open every day (including weekends!) from 8:00am to 6:00pm, though small offices might have shorter opening times, while the bigger ones in central and touristic areas are sometimes open during evenings as well.
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I have travelled here for climbing. I have good knowledge of transport, hotels, food places, bars and rock climbing
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