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Yangshuo's topography offers good opportunities for outdoor adventure activities. Different from China's major metropolitan centers of Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, Yangshuo in Guilin is quite peaceful and tranquil, with stunning natural scenery. Karst hills, rivers, and valley farms make Yangshuo a dream destination for nature and outdoor lovers.
Discover the most popular outdoor activities, and pro tips on adventure tours in Yangshuo and Guilin below.
When it comes to Yangshuo outdoor tours, cycling is a must-do. Yangshuo Cycling is one of the best ways to explore the countryside.
Popular routes start around West Street, passing between fields, and by the Yulong River. On this Yangshuo adventure trip, you can witness the colors of the season, among which the golden rice fields in autumn are most spectacular.
The convenient network of small roads 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 ('5-km') Gallery starts at the 'Stone Horse Roundabout' (Shima Yuanpan — now actually a large crossroads) and ends at Moon Hill. 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.
You can rent bicycles in many places. Rental services for both mountain bikes and light-style bikes are available at West Street. You can rent a very good mountain bike for 50 RMB/day or a light-style bike for as little as 10 RMB/day in addition to paying a security deposit (maybe 200 RMB .
Our Yangshuo adventure tour is flexible. We can tailor-make cycling experiences based on your physical strength. Read more about Yangshuo biking.
Bamboo rafting on the Yulong River is the second most popular activity on Yangshuo outdoor tours. A bamboo raft ride is an excellent and relaxing way to take in the amazing views of the Yulong River — watch the countryside just drift on by. Rides range from half an hour to two hours.
The bamboo rafting route starts at Yulong Bridge Pier (or another pier further down the river) and finishes at Gongnong Bridge. You'll pass 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. (With all those piers there are plenty of options to shorten the experience though.)
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 Water Wheels and the Dreamlike River Valley.
3. Rock Climbing in Yangshuo
If you want to enjoy a more thrilling adventure trip in Yangshuo, you can experience rock climbing.
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.
Hundreds of routes have been developed for rock climbing in Yangshuo in the past twenty years. Locations include Moon Hill, Thumb Peak (Muzhi Peak), Golden Cat Cave (Jinmao Cave), Wine Bottle, Swiss Cheese, and the Big Banyan Tree Scenic Area. You’re highly recommended to go rock climbing on Moon Hill (or watch some). It's 8 kilometers (5 miles) 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 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.
There’s no better way to fully experience the scenery of the Li River and Yangshuo's countryside than by hiking through it. You can admire the stunning karst views along the Li River on a Guilin adventure trip from Yangdi to Xingping.
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 this amazing adventure trip in Guilin.
For those who don't want to walk so far, you could take a raft or local transport some of the way. We recommend visiting a fishing village to enrich your experience.
Hiking around Yangshuo, particularly around the Yulong River is also highly recommended.
The best times for hiking in Yangshuo are spring and autumn, when the natural scenery is breathtakingly attractive... and it's not so hot.
See more on Guilin Hiking.
Kayaking down the Li River gives you a different view of the karst scenery. Paddling along the quiet river and connecting with nature more closely under a guide's supervision, you will feel calm and relaxed, while being awed by the beauty of the countryside and limestone formations.
Want to discover more hidden gems and experience more active adventure activities in Guilin or Yangshuo? Travelling with a local expert like us opens up so many more possibilities than trying to figure it out for yourself.
Tell us your interests, and one of our specialists will help you to maximize your travel experience by suggesting the optimal trip for the time you have and the things you love to do.
Here are some classic Guilin itineraries for inspiration: