Here is a collection of articles that will help you understand and better explore Yangshuo outdoor activities.
The OVERVIEW tab on your left is a a quick summary, click on any of the other tabs below to read a full article.
Yulong River Yangshuo bamboo rafting has become one of the most popular attractions for visitors and guests of Yangshuo Mountain Retreat can easily walk or bike to nearby rafting landings to enjoy specatcular vistas on a leisurely drift down river then be dropped off directly at the hotel landing...
Since 2015, guests of Yangshuo Mountain Retreat have direct access to a stunning new river front path that leads from our parking area up the most scenic points on the Yulong River...
From April through September, guests can head up river to the historic Fuli Bridge, a swimming area known mostly just to locals...
Hiking from Yangshuo Mountain Retreat offers various trails to local caves, forests and villages and many are suitable for families...
With countless trails and paths leading through some of the most dramatic Yangshuo scenery mountain biking is an excellent way to get deep into the countryside and see a lot in a short space of time...
The amazing karst formations that form the landscape in the region were created by the gradual retreat of inland seas which through erosion has created fissures, sinkholes, underground lakes and streams and many caves. Most are inaccessible to the general public ...
Yangshuo is fast becoming the climbing Mecca of Asia, with over 70,000 peaks there is an almost endless opportunity for new routes to be bolted and crags to be explored. Because of the diversity of peaks, climbers of all levels can practice their climbing skills...
YULONG RIVER BAMBOO RAFTING
Jiu Xian Village to Yangshuo Mountain Retreat
Duration of rafting: 2 hours
Take a twenty minute taxi ride or walk upstream to Jiu Xian Village and then gently drift down the river from Xien Gui Bridge to the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat where there will be cold refreshments and delicious food waiting for you. Always negotiate the prices as particularly in high season they are likely to be steeper.
Yu Long Bridge to Yangshuo Mountain Retreat
Duration of rafting: 4 hours
Take a taxi (45min), bike (1.5 hours) or walk (3.5 hours) up to the Yu Long (Dragon River)Bridge. Here you can float back down the river with an ice cool water or beer and see the Yu Long River valley from a different perspective. If you have bikes with you, you can put them on the back of the bamboo rafts. The Yulong River is a small tributary of the larger (Li River) in Southeastern Gungxi Province, and runs through the major city of Guilin to Yangshuo. The Yulong starts in Northern Yangshuo County near Litang and runs for over 35km through small villages of the Yulong River Valley, including Putao, Litang, Chaolong, Yima and Gaotian town, before emptying into the Li River around the town of Ping Le. The Yulong River is a shallow river of around 5 meters maximum depth and an average of 25 meters across. As it is not located near any industrial areas, it is clean enough for swimming, though some brownish surface foam is visible in eddys, likely the result of agrigultural runoff from local fields. Unlike the busy Li River, it has no motorized boat traffic and relies completely on bamboo rafts to ferry passengers down river. This has become a popular tourist activity, with passengers beginning their journey that the Yulong Bridge, a 600 year old example of a classical Chinese stone arch style. The river just North of the Yulong brigde is also a natural swimming area, with clear pools and gentle currents. The Mountain Retreat also has a swimming area just opposite our VIP building. [CAUTION]: make sure to check with reception as to local weather conditions. The river is prone to flash flooding and can become dangerously strong very quickly. Swim at your own risk!
[Book] Yulong River bamboo rafting tickets at Mountain Retreat
[Call] +867738777091 or email us here for discount rafting tickets.
WALKING THE YULONG RIVER VALLEY
Yulong River Walk From Mountain Retreat
5km riverside path is most scenic in Yangshuo
Since 2015, guests of Yangshuo Mountain Retreat have direct access to a stunning new river front path that leads from our parking area up the most scenic points on the Yulong River. The path is suitable for running, walking or biking and connects with the bamboo rafting piers up river, allowing guests the option of returning down river on a raft directly to the steps of Yangshuo Mountain Retreat. For now, this newly opened route is a well kept secret, with only a few guesthouses up river referring their guests here. Early morning is the best time to get out on the path with a brisk walk or run.
For more information on the Yulong River walk and the great opportunities to experience rural Yangshuo along the way, please contact us at the bottom of this page, or call: (+86) 773 8777 091.
Yulong River Swim
Enjoy our natural swimming pool
Due to heavy rains in 2022 and increasing number of rafts in Summer, the Yangshuo River Management Office has stopped all swimming in the Yulong River until further notice. There are additional areas about 20km upstream which are uncrowded and pristine. Swimming may be possible here at certain times, but Ask at reception for more details on transportation and access.
The best trails in Yangshuo
Duration: 3 hours
This dramatic mountain dome arches over dense bamboo forests that afford amazing views of the Yulong River Valley from the top.
From Mountain Retreat head along the riverwalk following the river which flows South. About 600 meters down river is a small bridge that crosses into Fenglou Village. Follow the winding village roads Southwest, angling away from the river and after 20 minutes you will arrive at the 321 highway. Turning right onto the highway shoulder, the Moon Hill Scenic Area Park entrance is on your right about 200 meters up the road. 800 winding stone steps that are very steep in sections, take you through shaded bamboo forest, alive with many birds. A fit person needs 30 minutes to make the climb to the top. There is an additional footpath that leads even higher up on the dome. Tickets are RMB 14.
Hiking Yangdi to Xingping
Duration: 5 6 hours
There is an 18km track for easy hiking along the Li River. Jump on a local bus from Yangshuo to Yangdi for 10 RMB. The path crisscrosses the Li River three times so you will need to buy a ticket in Yangdi for the river crossings.
The walk lets you experience the Li River from a different perspective and soak in the peacefulness and dramatic mountain scenery. The path takes you through small local villages, fields, bamboo forests and along the shores of the mighty Li River where usually there are very few tourists. If you get tired, you can always rent a motorized bamboo raft that will take you 3.km from Xingping but there will be Tuk Tuks or electric buses for 2 3RMB that will take you to the bus stop in the town centre. The local bus from Xingping back to Yangshuo costs 7 RMB. Prices based on time of writing.
Dragon Bridge to Yangshuo Mountain Retreat
Duration: 4 hours
For those who are looking for a great walk to Yangshuo Mountain Retreat, start at the Dragon Bridge (Yu Long Bridge) and just follow the river downstream. It's about 12 km to the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat.
You'll walk in the Yu Long (Dragon) River valley surrounded by subtropical Karst formations and through sleepy rural villages and even a catch your own fish farm. [Tip]: The Yu Long River and Dragon River is the same thing
The Yu Long River Hike
Duration: full day
Set off early and enjoy the beautiful scenery on the way. Hike along the Yu Long River to the historic Village Jiuxian then go further to the Yu Long Bridge. This 400 year old bridge is located in a quaint setting.
Take your swim suits as there are many possibilities to swim in the river along the way. At the Yu Long Bridge you can catch a bamboo raft back or a bus ride back to Yangshuo where you will need to catch a taxi to the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat. The walk to the Yu Long Bridge will take approximately 3.5 hours and the bamboo raft back about 4 hours so allow for a full day to make this journey. Ask at reception for a route description.
The Lost World Wander
Duration: 1-1.5 hours
Between the Yulong River valley and Yangshuo are some very quiet and peaceful pastures surrounded by the karst peaks. At our reception we have 2 routes available that will lead you through this beautiful "lost world".
There is a short loop of about an hour and a longer one that will take around 3 hours. For more great hiking pictures go here
Bike rental from Mountain Retreat
With countless trails and paths leading through some of the most dramatic Yangshuo scenery mountain biking is an excellent way to get deep into the countryside and see a lot in a short space of time. We have great 2008 Trek mountain bikes available and the most knowledgeable guides to make the most of your yangshuo biking experience.
While there is bike rental in Yangshuo town, you would need to ride out to Yangshuo Mountain Retreat to get on local trails, so it is more convenient to rent bikes from our Yangshuo hotel. For those more advanced riders looking to bike Yangshuo, there are some secret trails in the Gaotian hills, near our sister hotel, the Yangshuo Village Inn. The trails are single track and hard pack narrow roads that wind for miles into the hills. You can also rent Trek mountain bikes from the Village Inn, located in Moon Hill Village, only 10 minutes from the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat.
You can rent the following bikes from the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat.
- -Trek Mountain Bikes in three different sizes
- -Push Bikes
Prices for rentals are:
1/2 day = 20 RMB, Full day = 30 RMB
Yangshuo biking routes to Moon Hill
Duration: According to route taken
Head towards the main road from the hotel and cross the Gongnong Bridge. Visit the Big Banya Tree on the left side before heading on to Moon Hill. Leave your bikes at the bottom of Moon Hill and climb to the top. Without visiting the Banyan Tree this will take about 30 min to Moon Hill and another 60 min to climb to the top and down again.
Another option is to head towards the main road from the hotel but this time take a right approximately 700 meters from YSMR. This path will lead you down to a large weir where you can cross the river. From here a small path but will take you through Fen Lou Village to the Jin Bao River. Cross the river and take the concrete road turning right when it meets the main road and bike 5 min to Moon Hill. This takes again about 40 minutes and is a very scenic taking you through two villages. Extending your day trip: Opposite of Moon Hill is the entrance gate to Moon Hill Village where you can relax and have lunch in a traditional farmers restaurant. Here you can also visit the Water Cave a large, complex set of caves with spectacular underground scenery (allow 1.5 hours for half tour and 3 hours for full tour).
Route to Dragon Bridge Yulong River Yangshuo
Duration: whole day
Follow the Dragon River (Yulong River)until Chao Lang village. From there make your way through small villages, bumpy roads and fields leading you to the 400 year old Yu Long (dragon) Bridge. Although the bridge is not particularly spectacular the scenery is magnificent and there are plenty of spots to go swimming on the way.
About half way to the bridge you can stop at the catch your own fish farm have a break and enjoy your catch of the day whilst admiring the beautiful scenery.
From the Yu Long Bridge there are many ways back so we have listed four of them.
The first option takes you from the from the bridge to a little town nearby called Baisha. From there it is about 10 km back to Yangshuo town and another 7 km to the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat (all on main roads).
The second option is to cross the Yu Long Bridge and take the dirt track heading down the river to Tongmen Hill where you can cross the river on a weir back to Yangshuo Mountain Retreat. This option has fantastic scenery but might take longer as the paths narrow towards the end and you may have to push the bike. The third longer alternative takes you up river to the next much larger bridge. Cross the bridge over the river and head towards Jin Bao Town then on to Gao Tian which is south of Moonhill. It's about 17 km from the Yu Long Bridge to Gao Tian and a further 7km back to YSMR.The final option is to simply go back the way you came ; )!
Bike to Liugong Village
Duration: whole day
From YSMR head to the main road crossing the Gongnong bridge and taking the second left Head on this path to the main road at Aishan and follow this south in the direction of Yongcun. The road to Liugong is half way between Aishan and Yongcun on the left hand side and about 20km from the Mountain Retreat.
Folow this road to the end where you'll enter the sleepy riverside village of Liugong. Here you can have lunch and walk around the ancient cobbled streets of this 800 year old village.
Near the village are also the famous three color ponds. The level of water in the ponds always remains equal throughout the year regardless of the water level of the Li River. As the name suggests the ponds have three different colors giving rise to many a local folk story about their supernatural existence.
For more information on Yangshuo Mountain Biking, go to: Bike Asia If you're considering an extended bike tour in China, visit Bike China.
Discounted tickets from Mountain Retreat and Village Inn
Yangshuo cave adventures - a great rainy or hot day activity
The amazing karst formations that form the landscape in the region were created by the gradual retreat of inland seas which through erosion has created fissures, sinkholes, underground lakes and streams and many caves. Most are inaccessible to the general public but many in Yangshuo County have been made safe and opened to the public. The following list is some of the major caves you can visit while staying in Yangshuo. All tickets to the caves can be booked at Mountain Retreat reception
Location: From YSMR head towards the main road in the direction of Yangshuo (2km).Turn right when you reach the main road, cross the bridge heading towards Moon Hill and the cave is approximately 1.5km on the left hand side of the road. Length of cave tour: 45 minutes
Features: The cave is very accessible for all ages with a paved path running through. The stalagmites and stalactites are lit up with various color lights giving it a magical feeling that children always seem to enjoy. There are a few underwater crystal clear ponds that look like mirrors in the dim light. At the end of a path you will exit on a boat as a large underwater pond stretches into the depths of the cave.
Real Water Cave
Location: From YSMR head towards the main road in the direction of Yangshuo (2km).Turn right when you reach the main road, cross the bridge and head towards Moon Hill (4km). On the left hand side opposite Moon Hill is Moon Hill Village. Head down the road towards the village. There are two large signs at the beginning of the village, the left sign promotes the Buddha Water Cave and the right is for the Real Water Cave which is this one. The ticket office to the Real Water Cave is at the other end of the village on the right hand side.
Length of cave tour: Short tour: 1.5 hours, Full length tour: 3 hours
Features: This cave is for the slightly more adventurous and stretches far back into the mountain. You enter in a small narrow boat meandering through stalactites and low hanging rock. The cave has huge cavernous halls and gigantic glimmering rock formations. Half way through the cave there is large mud bath that is excellent to lie in and float on. Towards the back of the cave are a series of clear ponds that are excellent to have a swim in and wash all the mud off. Tips: Bring your swimsuit, towel, shoes with good grip that you don't mind getting wet and be prepared for a wet, muddy experience!
Location: Ticket office in Xingping - please ask at reception for details
Length of Cave Tour: 1 hour
Features: The Lotus Cave is approximately 600 meters long reaching to 40 meters at its highest point. There are hundreds of formations inside including of course the famous lotus formations. The cave lotuses look very similar to real lotus leaves and range from 30 centimeters to 2 meters in diameter.
Location: Caoping - please ask at reception for details
Length of cave tour: 1-2 hours
Features: The commercialized Crown Cave is another favorite for families with children and is located near the village of Caoping on the Li River. It is part of a giant subterranean river system that stretches 12 kilometers. The tour however, only explores the first 3 kilometers but is still an enjoyable experience not least because of the various ways you can explore it. With small boats, elevators, mini trains and slow roller coasters the Crown Cave was listed in the Guinness book of World Records as having the most differing ways of exploring a cave.
Butterfly Cave & Spring
Location: From YSMR head towards the main road in the direction of Yangshuo (2km). When you reach the main road head straight on towards Yangshuo. The cave is approximately 3.5km on the left side hand side of the road. Although there is space at the side of the road to walk it is busy and much better
Location: Caoping - please ask at reception for details
Length of cave tour: 1.5 hours
Location: 25 Kilometers from Yangshuo - please ask at reception for details
Features: Silver Cave runs through 12 karst formations and the round tour covers approximately 2 kilometers. Famous for its wonderful shapes including thousands of stalactites and stalagmites the cave is divided into three sections that have distinctive features making for a great experience.
Yangshuo is fast becoming the climbing Mecca of Asia, with over 70,000 peaks there is an almost endless opportunity for new routes to be bolted and crags to be explored. Because of the diversity of peaks, climbers of all levels can practice their climbing skills and in Yangshuo there is also a range of climbing schools to choose from. If you are an absolute beginner or an expert climber looking to do some traditional climbing Yangshuo has it all. YSMR is an excellent base for all those budding climbers wanting to explore the crags in the area. We are located right in the heart of the peaks with Tongmen Hill only a stones throw away and Moon Hill a 30 minute bike ride through the local villages and rice fields. We can also organize all of your climbing trips with trusted schools in Yangsdhuo, just inquire at reception upon arrival.
Below are listed our Recommended Schools
Chinaclimb is the first and leading rock climbing guiding company in China. Formed back in 2001 by two Australian mates and one of China's top climbers, Chinaclimb is now staffed by a multi national team who are passionate about adventure. www.chinaclimb.com
Karst Café was one of the pioneers of rock climbing in Yangshuo, and has introduced more than 300 groups to the stunning climbing opportunities offered in Yangsdhuo county. The club was established in 1999 and provides a wide range of climbing trips, offering professional climbing services and guides. Their English and Chinese speaking guides cater to all levels so whether you are an old hand or just want to try your hand, Karst Café can assist. http://www.karstclimber.com
A new outfit in town run by former guides from China Climb is Terra Tribes, as well as the Red Rock Climbing Bar.
THE CHANGING FACE OF YANGSHUO CLIMBING
Rock climbing as a sport in china started in 1992 when a US climber called Todd Skinner did one of his early Asia tours. Over the next 15 years Yangshuo took centre stage in Chinas small fringe sport climbing seen Many routes were bolted and a great number of climbing athletes from around the world visited Yangshuo to carve their name in the steep Karst towers which makeup this iconic landscape. During this time the climbing here became more and more well known through the climbing communities of the world as climbing article after climbing article appeared with photos of Moon hill, Twin gates, Banyan tree crag and many others. In 2008 the first international climbing event was held, the Black Dimond North Face Climbing Festival.
Visiting athletes, Cedar Wright and James Pearson attended and over 300 people took part in this, not just first for Yangshuo, but first for China International Climbing festival. The event its self was a great success. However its repercussions went unpredicted by all and only became apparent in the months and years following this first event. Access problems had always been hanging around in the background of Yangshuo climbing with many crags suffering periodic access problems.
These were small and were largely ignored by the community. After the first festival many local people started to believe that there is much money to be made from rock climbing. Ownership was claimed over many of the crags, bolts on some crags were chopped after climbers did not pay for access and even disputes between villages over who controls access rights to different crags started. Climbers started an access fund and had many meetings with local people all without much success.
The next few years access was difficult at many crags but luckily climbers still refused to pay for climbing. They just kept bolting new routes on new cliffs in the area; there is so much rock in Yangshuo and the people who were creating access problems were not in communication with each other so after a short time there was lots of new routes to climb on new crags and all crags with access problems were left alone. Two more years passed and nearly all the access issues disappeared as no one was making money charging for crag access, the access fund had also gone.
This is good for climbing in China as a whole, in China nothing is free, people put walls and gates around everything they can and sell gate tickets and this very nearly happened with climbing too. From 2010 on, the development of climbing in China has shifted to exploring more and more new areas with climbing routes of all types being developed in all directions. Now China has a national climbing team, around 20 international competitions a year with cash prizes and many climbing festivals and events all over the country.
The new generation of Yangshuo climbers are really pushing the grades and training harder than the small climbing community that grew up here in the beginning. Currently Yangshuo has only one internationally recognised 9a route (5.14d) and two Yangshuo climbers: Abon and Dawei who are competing to see who will be the first Chinese climber to complete this line. Meanwhile there are two girls (Junbao and Xiaoting) competing to see who will be the first Chinese girl to climb 5.14a (8b+) all taking place here in Yangshuo, the home of Chinese rock climbing and still at the cutting edge of climbing in Asia. To arrange climbing with Eben, you can email him from here.