Yangshuo hiking from Village Inn
Yangdi to Xingping
Duration: 5-6 hours
Enjoy an easy 18 km hike along the Li River. Hop on a local bus from Yangshuo to Yangdi for 8 RMB. The path crosses the river at three points, so you’ll need to buy a 16 RMB ticket in Yangdi for to get across at each of these crossings.This trail lets you experience the Li River from a unique vantage point and enjoy the peace and dramatic mountain vistas. The trail winds through small local villages, rice fields, bamboo groves and along the shores of the meandering Li River where you’ll find few tourists. If you get tired, you can always opt for a motorized bamboo raft that will take you 3 km from Xingping but there are also Tuk Tuks or electric cars for 2-3 RMB that will take you back to the bus stop in town. The local bus from Xingping to Yangshuo is 5.5 RMB.
(Prices based on time of writing)
Dragon Bridge (Yu Long Qiao) to the Yangshuo Village Inn
Duration: 4 hours
For those interested in a long beautiful walk to Yangshuo Village Inn, start at the Dragon Bridge (Yu Long Qiao) and continue on the path that heads down river to the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat. You’ll pass through the Yu Long (Dragon River) valley surrounded by amazing limestone Karst formations, ancient villages and even a catch-your-own fish farm.
Tip: The Yu Long River and Dragon River are one and the same.
Moon Hill Hike
Duration: 2.5 hours
Head out of the village and cross the main highway. The park entrance to Moon Hill is just to the left about 100m. Entrance for foreigners to Moon Hill Scenic Area is RMB 10. Over 700 stone steps will lead you the famous arch which is about 50 meters high and across and is looks like a half moon. You can also climb up to the top of the dome by walking through the arch and going along the trail back behind it. You can often find people sport climbing on this back face of Moon Hill.
Note: These stairs are very slippery after rain. Make sure you have appropriate shoes with solid traction. Flip-flops are not recommended. Also note that this is a half hour walk up and may be difficult for elderly people and small children.
The Big Banyan Tree
Duration: 1-1.5 hours
Follow the village road out to the main highway and turn right. About 1km toward Yangshuo and across the highway is the park entrance to the Big Banyan Tree. This ancient tree is a big tourist attraction as it is over 1,000 years old and unusually large. Definitely worth a look. We recommend that you avoid the camels, ponies and silly costume photo taking services.
The Yu Long River Valley to Dragon Bridge
Duration: all day
Set off early and enjoy the magnificent scenery along the way. Walk along the Yu Long River to the historic Village Jiuxian, and 20km on to the Dragon (Yu Long) Bridge. This 600 year old bridge is located in a picturesque setting. Bring your swim suit as there are many places to swim in the river along the way. For the daring, you can jump off the top of the bridge’s 10m arch into the deep water below. Make sure you have someone spotting on the other side of the bridge to ensure that there are no bamboo rafts coming underneath you. At the Dragon Bridge you can board a bamboo raft back downriver or take a bus ride back to Yangshuo where you will need to hire a taxi to the Yangshuo Village Inn. The walk to the Yu Long Bridge will take approximately four hours and the bamboo raft back about 2.5 hours so allow for a full day to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime journey.
Jurassic Park Experience
Duration: 1-1.5 hours
Take a bike out of Moon Hill Village and head right along the main road about 2 km. Immediately after the big bridge – Moon Hill Bridge (Yue Liang Qiao), turn left onto the narrow concrete road. Head in about 1.5 km to the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat. Park your bikes for free turning left outside the hotel. Turning left out of the Retreat, about 500 meters up the road, there is a sharp turn to the left I this road. Do not follow it. Instead, head right into the yard of the house on this corner. As you continue into a stand of trees you will see a cow shed ahead of you to the left. Head toward it and look for a muddy trail heading up and to the left. Follow the path to the top (about 500m) and continue on at the top, making sure to always follow the path staying to the left. You will find yourself in a remote valley, ringed by dramatic peaks and can enjoy the total silence and tranquility of the area. There is a great echo in this place. You will pass thorn thickets to keep buffalo and eventually reach a shady wood at the top of the trail (about 40 min in) and down stone steps into a village that faces the Yulong River. Once at the village, head either into the paddy fields and follow trails to your left or follow the main road. You will be able to see the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat ahead of you about 500m. Once back at the Retreat, have a refreshing swim in the river and enjoy a glass of fresh fruit juice or cold beer by the river.
The Gaotian Hills
Duration: 1-3 hrs
Just down the village road from the Village Inn, you’ll find access to the rolling hills of Gaotian Township. These are forested in places and are crisscrossed with cow trails and winding single track. From these hills, you can run or hike and easily find your way back to the Village Inn. Watch out in places for brambles.
Wang Gong Mountain
Duration: 2-3 hrs
If you’re looking for a longer and more challenging hike with steeper approach and higher elevation, take a bike from Moon Hill Village and cross the main road heading toward town. At the first paved road, turn in left. Wind your way up to the Jing Bao River about 1.5km in and cross on the big concrete weir. Follow trails to your right that will take you to the Yulong River about another 2km. As you approach the Yulong (Dragon) River, to your left you should be able to see a 30m high thumb-shaped karst crag with a rust-colored face. This is Copper Gate Mountain. It also has a small cave at the base. Ahead of you should be the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat. Depending on water levels, you can cross the Yulong River on the breakwater (weir) directly across from the Mountain Retreat with your shoes off. If the water is up to your knees or higher, DO NOT APPEMPT TO CROSS ON FOOT, instead, head for the Copper Gate and where there is a small jetty in the River, there should also be some local people running a raft photo business. Ask one of them to take you across. Don’t pay more than 10RMB per person.Once you reach the Mountain Retreat, head right on the paved road back toward the main road to the right, past the newly built Dragon River Inn. About 500 meters ahead is a graveyard with stone steps leading up the hill. This leads to a series of trails that crisscross meadows and pastures and eventually out either to the right (at the main highway near the Butterfly Cave) or left behind the Mountain Retreat and nearby villages to the narrow concrete road you came in on.
For more pictures of Yangshuo, please go to this Flickr gallery, and for Yangshuo hiking pictures, here is another great gallery.