6 Free Things to do in Yangshuo
Yangshuo is located in the southern part of Guilin and is famous for its stunning natural beauty. Yangshuo is host to thousands of tourists every year, and though most attractions and activities have an entrance fee, there are still many free attractions and sites you can enjoy in Yangshuo. Follow us as we take you through the list.
Yangshuo Countryside along the Yulong River
The Yulong River, a tributary of the Li River, has a section from Shangri-La Scenic Area to Gongnong Bridge in Yangshuo, which is locally known as the "Little Li River". You'll find this area as beautiful as any other on the Li River. The distance from Yulong Bridge to Gongnong Bridge is about 15 km.
There are limpid waters, verdant hills, and fantastic farmlands. The whole scenic area is pristine with no intrusive modern construction and no urban hustle and bustle. Bamboo rafting on the Yulong River is quite popular with travelers, though there is a nominal charge. If you wish to travel for free, bicycling or hiking is a wonderful way to see this pristine area.
- You’ll pay 10–20 yuan to rent a bicycle for a whole day. You can hike anywhere within the area for free. If you have a tour guide, he or she will take you to a local family to see how they live their daily life.
- Suggested biking routes
- Where to rent bicycles: West Street or most hotels in Yangshuo.
- Best time to come: March or early April, when the rape flowers are in brilliant blossom.
Moon Hill from Afar
Moon Hill is located 1 km southwest of the Big Banyan Tree, 2.5 km southwest of Butterfly Spring, and 8 km south of Yangshuo. It is an enormous rocky hill with a round hole in its center that measures 50 meters wide and 50 meters tall. Stalactites of varying shapes grow under the arch of this huge moon-shaped hole, and at various angles it resembles the stages of the moon — from new moon to half moon to full moon. There is a charge for climbing the hill, but you can still view it for free by walking to Yueliang (‘Moon’) Village and enjoying it from afar.
Yangshuo Park is near Yangshuo Bus Station, not far away from West Street. There you can see local people doing exercises, dancing, or playing badminton. There are small hills inside the park, and you can make the easy climb to the top in about 10 minutes. From there, you’ll have a beautiful view of the hills and town of Yangshuo.
Xingping Ancient Town and the Scenic Surrounding Area
Located 25 km (15.5 miles) from Yangshuo, on the east shore of the Li River, the ancient town of Xingping has a history of more than 1,300 years. Apart from the well-preserved Ming Dynasty architectures and fine wood carving, dating back to more than five hundred years ago, Xingping boasts some of the best natural scenery in the area. The picture on the back of the 20 yuan note is of mountains that can be seen on the edge of this ancient town.
Along the riverside, Nine Horses Mural Hill and Yellow Cloth Shoal also belong to this scenic area. In 1998 former U.S. president Bill Clinton visited Xingping Village, a fishing village 2 km from Xingping Ancient Town, which brought more attention this scenic area. You can even trace the president’s footsteps there.
Transportation: Take a bus from Yangshuo to Xingping at Yangshuo Bus Station near West Street. It's about a 40–50 minute ride and 10 yuan will buy you a one way ticket.
Fuli Ancient Town
Fuli Ancient Town (more than 1,000 years old) is located in the east of Yangshuo County, 8 km from Yangshuo town, on the north riverbank ofthe Li River. The town is surrounded by green mountains on three sides and faces the river. It’s not only a tourist town with stunning scenery, but also the hometown of China’s painted fans. Farmers there produce fine large fans, hand-painted with beautiful landscapes, making each one of these artisan pieces an individual and unique work of art.
Transportation: You can take the bus from Yangshuo to Xingping at Yangshuo Bus Station near West Street. Get off at the Fuli stop along the way.
The 517-meters (1,696-foot) -long and 8-meter (26-foot) -wide street is located in the center of Yangshuo town. It’s paved with flagstones, meandering slightly in a flat 'S' along its length. The buildings along the streets are typical southern Chinese style and are about half restaurants/bars/hotels and half retail shops and stores. You’ll find a great variety of souvenirs, hand crafted items, and snacks there.
West Street is crowned as "the largest English Corner in China", and almost every vendor in this famed "global village" can speak simple English. Many visitors come for the street’s leisure activities and global merging of cultures and lifestyles. You can spend many hours strolling around the delightfully crowded street or just sitting in a café or bar.
The peak travel season is May to October and West Street can become especially crowded at night.
Special Yangshuo Experiences with China Highlights
If you're looking for a really special experience in Yangshuo, try taking some classes. Tai chi, cooking, painting, or calligraphy classes are all available. You can also try kayaking or rock climbing. China Highlights can help you tailor-made a Yangshuo tour to add all these interesting activities.
I updated this article on February 20, 2014
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