21 years of legendary service and breathtaking views on the Yulong River
A riverside gem among Yangshuo hotels, Yangshuo Mountain Retreat was originally conceived as a simple eco lodge where expat friends could escape from the chaos of polluted Chinese mega cities. As word spread beyond China, we continually upgraded facilities, adding free wireless broadband and a pizza oven...but guestrooms have remained simple as when we began: no telephone, no TV, and locally made furniture. We've stayed true to the authenticity of our original concept, like offering a simple farm to table menu, with western favorites and our own bakery. Our restaurant now has great wines too, and we are one of the only sustainable Yangshuo hotels where guests from around the world can responsibly experience the beauty and serenity of Yangshuo China. We're unique among Yangshuo hotels for our commitment to sustainability and empowering the wonderful local people who run the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat. Since the beginning we have been strong practitioners of localhood - creating authentic experiences for guests by empowering local people and giving them ownership for the quality of results. Yangshuo Mountain Retreat is one of the few Yangshuo hotels entirely run by people from local villages, over 90% of them women.
Authenticity and serenity in a stunning setting
The healthy riverside escape in China since 2001
The first thing you notice at Yangshuo Mountain Retreat is the warm smile from the local people who run the property. Hired from the surrounding villages, many of us have worked here as families for over 16 years, sharing profits and continuously learning as part of the Mountain Retreat mission. Much of our local produce comes from our families’ own farms and is cooked in local style. At Yangshuo Mountain Retreat, we believe in the beauty of localhood, and welcome you as a passing member of our community. We’re unique among Yangshuo hotels in that no taxis or buses are allowed in the scenic area that surrounds our property, meaning guests enjoy a tranquil stay. Our commitment to the environment means no disposable or single-use items at the hotel. No plastic bottles in the room or throw-away cheap amenities. A stunning scenic walk along the Yulong River runs right from The Yangshuo Mountain Retreat parking lot. We are built for welcoming families as well as couples and friends.
Moon Hill Yangshuo
Also known as the Yangshuo arch, this amazing natrual structure is just a 20-minute bike ride from Yangshuo Mountain Retreat through village scenic paths. Moon Hill Yangshuo is also part of the Moon Hill Scenic Area that is directly across from our sister hotel Yangshuo Village Inn. On the rooftop of Village Inn is Luna offering Italian and Chinese delights overlooking Moon Hill since 2008. Upon arriving at Moon Hill there is a gate to enter the Moon Hill Scenic Area and a ticket of RMB 14 per person. There are public toilets here and a nearby coffee shop which may or may not be open. There are 700 steps to the top of Moon Hill, which at a good pace will take you 30 minutes. You'll want to wear good walking or hiking shoes because the steps can get slippery after rain and are often covered with leaves from the surrounding bamboo forest. There are a few different paths that lead up the steps. About 1/3 of the way up you'll see a sign pointing left to the Dressing Mirror and tight to the Moon Palace. To reach the top of Moon Hill you will stay to the right. The views from the top of Moon Hill are beautiful, looking North to Mountain Retreat and the Yulong River or South over Li Village and Yangshuo Village Inn. To get the best views, at the top of the steps under the main arch, continue up a few more steps straight ahead which lead to an elevated wooden deck with a viewing platform. You can also take a footpath from here up to the top of the arch itself. You will find village ladies at the entrace to Moon Hill and sometimes at the top of the steps, who will ply you with water and coca-cola. We recommend that you give first choice to the ladies who have carried the ice and drinks in heavy coolers up all those steps! If you don't find them at the top, then you can buy on the way down. They only charge a few extra yuan for all that work. Moon Hill Yangshuo China is a must-visit for guests at Mountain Retreat and is a great activity in all seasons for all ages.
Yulong River Scenic Area
Yangshuo Mountain Retreat lies in the very heart of the Yulong River Scenic Area, also known as the 10 Mile Gallery. We were the first Yangshuo hotel in this area nearly 20 years ago and despite its development, there are some little-known walks and bike rides that we have created for guests on our exclusive professional maps. The easiest way to experience the Yangshuo scenic area is via a walking path that leads right from Yangshuo Mountain Retreat for 5km up river to Chaolong Village and the bamboo raft jetty. You can find more information about Yulong River bamboo rafting on our Outdoor activities page. Yangshuo Mountain Retreat has our own bamboo raft landing, an exclusive feature among Yangshuo hotels which allows guests to disembark from the Yulong River at the end of a journey directly to our embankment. No other Yangshuo hotels offer this. Along the walking path, in addition to spectacular views, you will find an ancient water wheel, many flowering trees and quiet rest areas on the river bank. For the more adventurous there is Treasure Cave, which requires a hike along an unmarked trail, high up into a mountain cave that overlooks the valley. This route is also highlighted on our professionally created Yangshuo map. From the opposite side of the river, which can be accessed by wading across a stone wier or crossing a bridge 500 meters down river from Yangshuo Mountain Retreat, there is a path through Fenglou Village that leads out to the 321 Highway and the entrance to Moon Hill Yangshuo. Along this route is a good opportunity to see rural village life, including a primary school and many orchards and rice fields.
Longsheng Rice Terraces
Longsheng Rice Terraces also called the Longji Rice Terraces are located just over an hour from Guilin and make a worthwhile excursion during Spring and Autumn especially. During these seasons, the hundreds of hand-sculpted Dragonback Rice Terraces shimmer in relective pools of emerald green. You can see more about this remarkable area on our dedicated web page Longsheng. Longsheng Rice Terraces are located in the village of Ping An which is part of the Longsheng Autonomous District, 130km from Guilin. There are four other village of Zhuang minority people in Longsheng occupying unique, multi-story wooden buildings. These villages are built into steeply terraced hills which are flooded in the early Spring to prepare for rice planting, which is an amazing sight. Particularly in the morning as the pools of terraced Dragonback Rice Terraces shimmer in the sun. Longsheng weather is somewhat cooler due to altitude and the evenings can be chilly. The hills are also quite steep so you should have good shoes for this and expect to get a bit muddy. Staying in Longsheng we recommend the Li-An Lodge Also written as Li'An Lodge, the lodge is perched at the top of an unobstructed hill and is built to match the style of other traditionally built wooden houses in the Longsheng Rice Terraces. Li-an Lodge(理安山庄) was built by well-known Chinese-American photograpgher and artist Keren Su. For those planning to stay in Longsheng, Li-An Lodge is a top choice recommended by Yangshuo Mountain Retreat for over 10 years.
Our Yunnan sister hotel
Tucked away in the foothills of the Himalays in Northwest Yunnan Province is the beautifully preserved market town of Shaxi. The town lies in a high valley between the tourist centers of Dali and Lijiang and played an important part of the ancient Tea Horse Road caravan trade. In the village of Duan on a hill overlooking emerald rice fields, is an opera stage built in 1782. This theatre also houses a Daoist shrine where local families come to pray for their children's success in examinations. The temple complex, which includes a courtyard with guestrooms and a restaurant, is the stunning Old Theatre Inn. The seven-time TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice Award winner is a collaboration between a local teacher and an American designer in China and features just five guestrooms. There are five local women who run the Old Theatre Inn, who in their spare time also work in their family fields nearby, ensuring there is always fresh produce. The Dancing Mule is the Old Theatre's restaurant, offering indoor and outdoor dining year round. A world away from the touristed Yangshuo hotels or those of its neighbors in Dali or Lijiang, Old Theatre Inn offers a glimpse into the past, with authentic rural life, walking paths through traditional villages along the Heihui River and into Shaxi Old Town. The Shaxi Friday Market is a must see, teeming with local traders and minority women in traditional dress, as well as Shibaoshan, a mountain temple complex above Shaxi housing a Buddhist nunnery and hidden grottoes over 1,000 yeard old.