Dotted with densely vegetated and often mist-shrouded karst mountains, Yangshuo is considered by locals to be China's most beautiful landscape. The town nestles on the Li Jiang River, which has abundant water thanks to the subtropical climate and whose fertile banks are covered with lush rice paddies, swaying bamboo and deep jungle.
Plan your visit between July and October, when the weather is pleasantly warm, the monsoon rains have subsided and the region is in all its glory. These months are also ideal for outdoor activities - be it on the river or on the peaks. Less
One of the most popular attractions in the region
Invites to longer cruises
Moon Mountain, with its namesake crescent-shaped hole in the middle, is one of Yangshuo's most popular attractions. It's worth hiring a bike in town to ride through charming villages and past rice paddies where white egrets strut about, to your destination about eight kilometres away. Once there, climb the 800 or so steps up to the viewing platform just below the rock arch from which pointed stalactites hang. Then follow the small trail up to the 1250-feet-high summit and marvel at the hilly landscape glowing in multi-faceted shades of green from the very top. For passionate climbers, the karst rocks offer exciting routes to climb. Especially at sunset, the panorama at Moon Mountain is breathtaking as the horizon is bathed in golden light.
The Li Jiang River meanders leisurely between the jade-colored mountain cones, which reflect picturesquely on its water surface. On the river, you can take a four- to five-hour cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo, which includes lunch on board. For an authentic experience on your Yangshuo trip, take a seat on one of the narrow bamboo rafts under a colorful parasol instead. The excursion starts in Yangdi village and ends after about 1.5 hours in Xingping, where you will get to see the famous hilltop image of the 20-yuan note. Along the way, you'll glide past towering cliffs and bushy giant ferns in amazement. Also, arrange a stop with your boat driver for a meal at one of the riverside restaurants. If you want to experience nature and local life up close, hike or bike the route and meet smiling rice farmers and grazing water buffalo along the way. Less