1. Bamboo Rafting Adventures
A picturesque ride in a bamboo raft is the most popular activity in Yangshuo and the most peaceful way to enjoy the scenery.
A four-passenger engine-powered raft excursion on the Li River or a two-passenger raft propelled by a boatman using a stick down the calm Yulong River are the two primary alternatives for bamboo raft journeys. Both of these places have beautiful landscape, yet they offer very distinct experiences.
Because power boats are not permitted on the Yulong River, drifting along this serene stretch of water is quiet and almost unreal. These rafts must pass over a succession of minor dams, sliding the raft over a ten-foot drop, which adds some excitement.
The Li River, on the other hand, is a vast and bustling waterway, and while the scenery is spectacular, you may find yourself drifting alongside a flotilla of cruise ships or other motor boats.
If you’ve previously done a Li River cruise to get to Yangshuo, the Yulong River experience may be preferable, but if you’ve arrived by car, a raft journey along the Li River is highly recommended.
2. Take a walk up Moon Hill to see Yangshuo’s best views.
Moon Hill offers the best peak vista in the Yangshuo area.
The 800-stair journey up Moon Hill leads to the renowned arch for which the hill is named, and the effort is well worth it.
A viewpoint spot is located at the top of the stairs, immediately below the crescent-shaped opening in the mountain’s side, where you can stare out on an endless scene of tree-covered karst peaks.
Continue through the arch for more views of the mountain’s opposite side, which also looks out onto these stunning structures.
Moon Hill is a really lovely place just south of Yangshuo Town with a few of nice lodging options. The lovely small riverfront Moondance Boutique Resort is one of the nicest finds, complete with a pool and excellent dining. You can easily cycle to Moon Hill, the Yulong River bike path, and the Camel Crossing the River location from this guesthouse.
3. Ride a Bicycle in the Countryside
Many visitors to Yangshuo consider biking along the Yulong River to be a highlight and a must-do if they are seeking for a little activity or exercise. Most hotels provide free single-speed pedal bikes to their guests, and employees will direct you to the appropriate location.
It’s best to buy a copy of Yangshuo’s major tourist map to get a sense of the city’s layout. A paved footpath goes from near downtown Yangshuo to the “scenic bridge” over the Yulong River on the Shili Scenery Gallery View Road, south of town, and is the best and most popular bicycle route.
Along this trail are some of Yangshuo’s greatest luxury hotels, including the Yangshuo Tea Cozy, Yangshuo Mountain Nest, Yangshuo Mountain Retreat, and Yangshuo Resort. These are all fantastic places to stay, with stunning views and easy access to the riverfront trail. They might also be an excellent place to take a break for lunch.
It takes around an hour each way to complete this journey. The trail has a few short sets of steps that you must carry your bike over in certain places, but the plus is that there are no motorcyclists on this trail. You’ll also have to detour out to the road in a few of places, but this isn’t a particularly busy stretch of road.
Camel Crossing the River is another great spot for a bike ride. This can be found on Yangshuo’s primary tourist map. The route begins near the picturesque bridge’s south end and follows a paved road with little traffic. It returns behind several abandoned building sites to a vista of a big mountain with two humps in the shape of a camel.
Unlike some of the other imaginatively called mountains, it doesn’t take much imagination to envision the camel on this one. The road is generally flat and easy to navigate, passing through a few buildings before becoming a paddy track.
4. Show of Lights
One of Yangshuo’s most popular tourist attractions is the Liu San Jie Impression Light Show, which is a fantastic way to spend an evening. Zhang Yimou, who directed and choreographed the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, is the show’s choreographer.
The spectacle involves 600 performers, as well as a few water buffalo and a dozen or more cormorants, and is held on the Li River against the natural backdrop of the karst mountains.
The majority of the act takes place on the water, complete with rafts and special effects that must be seen to be properly appreciated.
The performers are all locals, and the show is performed up to four times per night, with up to 7,000 people in attendance each night.
The first or second concert lasts roughly 70 minutes, and the majority of tourists attend one of the two shows.
Booking through your hotel is the best method to secure tickets and navigate the crowds to the theatre. In most cases, they will offer transportation, tickets, and someone to guide you through the entrance gates.
5. Fishing with Cormorants
Cormorant fishing has been a long-standing tradition in the area, albeit it is no longer regularly practised. While this is mainly a tourist attraction, the tour is a great chance to view the entire process.
Even if you aren’t interested in fishing, this trip is worthwhile simply to see the Li River at night, when the river is silent and the faint silhouette of the mountains reflects in the dark, still waters.
Small parties of two to eight people are taken out on a bamboo raft to follow a fisherman on an even smaller raft as he commands his small flock of fishing cormorants.
Everything off the front of the fishing raft is illuminated by a light, including the birds flying through the water, the fish darting around, and the riverbed.
In the calm water, you can witness the entire spectacle unfold as the cormorants grab fish and surface to ingest them.
The fisherman retrieves the cormorant and brings him aboard the raft after the bird has captured and swallowed several fish. The fish is then forced back up the cormorant’s neck, where it is spewed out into a pail.
Throughout the voyage, the tame cormorants will come up on your boat to rest or dry off. On the water, the tour lasts around 30 minutes.
6. Wander about Yangshuo’s downtown and West Street.
If you only have a day in Yangshuo, you will most likely spend it roaming around the charming town centre.
It’s worth a drive into town if you’re staying outside of town in the more rural parts.
West Street is the primary tourist strip, with small side streets branching off it. There are restaurants and businesses in this pedestrian-only neighbourhood. It’s bustling in the late afternoon and evening, when the cruise ships have arrived.
Some of the streets feature little bridges that look out over picturesque canals, similar to those found in Venice.
If you’re searching for something to do, go to Yangshuo Park and climb the stairs to the top of Xilang Hill for a stunning 360-degree panorama of the town and its surrounds.
7. Take a stroll along the Scholar-Champion Trail.
This gorgeous trail is not on the typical tourist route, so you’ll probably have the place to yourself for the majority of your visit. The 2.5-meter-wide, decoratively paved trail winds its way down the valley, close to the brink of sheer mountain cliffs and through wooded areas.
The views from the route and the massive pedestrian bridge are spectacular and provide a fantastic perspective of the surrounding countryside. The trail runs parallel to the major highway but is set back far enough to be serene and quiet.
The trailhead lies behind and across the road from the Yangshuo Resort, close to the Yulong River’s picturesque bridge.