Top Outdoor Activities in Yangshuo
Different from China's major metropolitan centers of Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, Yangshuo is quite peaceful and tranquil, with stunning natural scenery. Karst hills, rivers, and valley farms make Yangshuo an excellent place for outdoor activities.
Cycling in the Countryside
Cycling is one of the best ways to explore the countryside in Yangshuo. You can rent bicycles in many places. Popular routes start around West Street, passing between fields, and by the Yulong River. While cycling you can witness the colors of the season, among which the golden rice fields in autumn are most spectacular.
The convenient road condition makes biking an excellent way to explore the off-the-beaten-track scenery of Yangshuo. It’s common for you to encounter visitors with backpacks, who pedal down countryside trails in groups while appreciating the fine views along the way; it’s a highlight of traveling in Yangshuo.
As a matter of fact, there are many well-developed cycling tracks in Yangshuo, of which the most classic one is the so-called Ten-Li Gallery. The Ten-Li Gallery starts at the Stone Horse Roundabout (Shima Roundabout) and ends at Moon Hill, where the scenery is picturesque and poetic, and the wonderful attractions along the way include Totem Ancient Trail, Butterfly Spring, Big Banyan Tree, Jianshan Temple and Assembling Dragon Cave.
Rental services for both mountain bikes and light-style bikes are available at Yangshuo West Street. You can rent a mountain bike for 50 RMB/day and a light-style bike for 5 RMB/day in addition to paying a 200 RMB security deposit.
Yangshuo is a holy place for rock climbing in China in terms of both its quality and difficulty level. The limestone-structured mountains enable rock climbing to become a challenging adventure for both beginners and highly experienced climbers alike.
Over 80 routes have been developed for rock climbing in Yangshuo in the past ten years, most of which are concentrated on Moon Hill, Thumb Peak (Muzhi Peak), Golden Cat Cave (Jinmao Cave) and the Big Banyan Tree Scenic Area. You’re highly recommended to go rock climbing on Moon Hill which is eight kilometers south-west of Yangshuo, and it’s dubbed the best rock climbing site in Yangshuo.
Moon Hill has 15 rock climbing routes, of which the one pioneered by the American rock climbing whizz, Todd Skinner, is very popular. No pain, no gain, and you are rewarded by being able to appreciate the beautiful view of the karst cave, Moon Palace, when climbing to the top of the hill. As a matter of fact, Moon Hill is very suitable for intermediate-level rock climbers, and you’re advised to wear a helmet in case of falling gravel.
Because of the great natural conditions and years of development by local climbing outfits and visiting experts, Yangshuo has some of the best climbing in the world, suitable for rock climbers of all ability levels. Even senior travelers and kids will be able to find something to climb enjoyably and safely. See Rock Climbing in Yangshuo.
Yangshuo's Rock Climbing Festival is a grand festival celebrated every November, attracting some of the world's best climbers and enthusiasts.Also read The 5 Best Places to Go Rock Climbing in China.
Kayaking down the Li River gives you a different view of the karst scenery. Paddling along the quiet river and connected with nature under a guide's supervision, you will feel calm and relaxed.
Yangshuo has many incredible scenic places for hiking, among which Yangdi to Xingping and the path along the Yulong River are the best. The best times for hiking in Yangshuo are spring and autumn, when the natural scenery is breathtakingly attractive.
Hiking from Yangdi to Xingping along the Li River you will see mountainous and water scenery: the beautiful Li River, villages, farmers working at fields and fruits gardens.
Along the hiking route, the major natural scenic spots include the Nine Horse Fresco Hill, the Yellow Cloth Shoal and the scene printed on the back of a 20 yuan note, and the cultural heritages are represented by Xingping Ancient Town. It takes about five or six hours to complete the hiking route.
For those whose physical strength cannot stand up, you are advised to take a raft instead of hiking; for those who are physically active, you are advised to visit the fishing village which was once visited by Sun Yat-sen and Bill Clinton.
Bamboo Rafting on Yulong River
Bamboo rafting on the Yulong River is a popular activity of Yangshuo tours. A bamboo raft ride is an excellent and relaxing way to take in the amazing views of the Yulong River or Li River — watch the countryside just drift on by. Rides range from half an hour to five hours.
The 43.5-kilometer long Yulong River originates from Guli River at Lingui County, and meeting Jinbao River before emptying into the Li River at Yangshuo Gongnong Bridge, and it's definitely among the best sites to take a bamboo raft around Yangshuo.
The bamboo rafting route starts at Yulong Bridge Pier and finishes at Gongnong Bridge, which passes across Xiatangzhai Pier, Chaoyang Pier, Hongqi Pier and Fengche Pier (028 Pier) along the way. It takes about 4.5 hours or more to complete, however, it's absolutely worth completing every section of the route.
The idyllic scenes unfold before you one after another during the rafting trip, including the rustic cottages, grazing buffaloes, the old beaten-up water mills and artless locals, and all are feasts for your eyes. As a matter of fact, the whole scenery is primordial without the slightest trace of chiseling, and you can fully appreciate the highlighted attractions along the way, including the Double-Flow Ferries and the Dreamlike River Valley.
Explore the Beauty of the Golden Water Cave
As the biggest subterranean karst cave in Yangshuo, the six kilometers long Jinshui Cave (Golden Water Cave) is a manifestation of the uncanny craftsmanship of Mother Nature, where the strangely shaped stalagmites and stalactites are scattered everywhere. The Golden Water Cave is just like a subterranean labyrinth, and it is cool in summer and warm in winter.
It's composed of two parts: the Dry Cave on the left and the Water Cave on the right. The Dry Cave is known for its dazzling array of stalagmites and stalactites, which are extremely fantastic under the lights due to their grotesque shapes. The Water Cave is a wonderful place for those with sightseeing-weary bones to rest, where a natural pond that can accommodate 300 people is available, and you're highly recommended to take a mud bath in the pond owing to its health care function.
After the mud bath, you can take a shower under the waterfall which is 15 meters away from the cave entrance.
Other Interesting Activities
- Watching the grand and fabulous night performance Impression Liu Sanjie on the Li River.
- Learning tai chi in Yangshuo Park, taught by an experienced tai chi master
- Learning Chinese painting and calligraphy in West Street
- Yangshou Countryside Biking & Cave Exploring Tour
- Yangshuo Park Morning Taiji Tour
- Yangshuo Kayaking Tour
Questions and Answers About Top Outdoor Activities in Yangshuo
I updated this article on February 16, 2014
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