Yangshuo is a picturesque riverside town near Guilin in South East China.
Yangshuo is known for its stunning river winding through the karst mountain landscape and endless rice fields.
There are plenty of things to do in Yangshuo, but the most popular activity is to go for a bike ride.
We spent almost a week in the pretty village enjoying its relaxed atmosphere and had to drag ourselves away to explore more of the region and landscapes.
Here is what we discovered…
Cycling in Yangshuo
We decided to hire bicycles to go cycling through the Yangshuo countryside to the nearby town of Fuli.
It was a bumpy old back road that took us past farmers ploughing the fields with their buffaloes and little farm villages along the winding river.
We eventually arrived in the old Chinese town to wander the streets and to check out the strangely charming historic buildings and the fans they are famous for making.
As we were walking within the city walls by the river, we were accosted by a small group of elderly friends sitting around a table by the river under an umbrella playing cards, singing and chatting.
They were excited by the foreign visitors and filled us with endless cups of green tea, peanuts and biscuits.
When it became evident that communication in Chinese was not going to happen, they whipped out their pen and paper and wrote down what they wanted to say in Chinese characters.
Ahh! So that’s what you were trying to say.
When all else fails, you can turn to the universal language we all understand – music.
They got out their Chinese songbook, put on some music and started singing to us.
Slowly they began to unveil their good China for instruments, passing us the wooden bangers and clappers instead. And then we started jammin’.
We laughed and sang together, and I’m sure my attempts at following their lead to sing in Chinese sounded Russian to them, but they thoroughly enjoyed it and so did we.
Our Tommy Lee style finale got us big thumbs up and huge grins. They were really disappointed when it came time for us to bid them farewell.
Random travel encounters with the local people are so memorable.
Sometimes even more so than the beauty of the jungled river landscape.
What have been some of your memorable cycling or random stranger meetings on your travels?
Getting A Bike Rental in Yangshuo
The good news is you will find plenty of bike rental shops in Yangshuo in the West Street area.
Some accommodations come with free bikes you can use, or have their own bike rental facilities, so it’s a good idea to check with your hotel before you rush out to the hire shops.
Renting bikes is also super cheap. You can get a Chinese bike (without gears) for as little as $1.50 USD per day, or a mountain bike for around $3.00 USD per day.
The highest quality bikes are $6.50 USD per day, but you really don’t need anything fancy to cycle in Yangshuo as it’s pretty much all flat.
FAQs About Biking in Yangshuo
Here’s what people usually ask us about cycling in Yangshuo…
What is the best route to cycle in Yangshuo?
There are many cycling routes in Yangshuo and the one you choose largely depends on what you want to see and how long you want to cycle.
Here is a quick overview of each route:
Yangshuo to the Ancient Jiuxian Village
This route passes along the Yulong River and takes you to a quaint, old village with only 44 traditional houses. The route is about 15km and takes 2 hours to complete.
Along the way you will pass the Jima Wharf where you may see buffaloes grazing in the fields, before ending at Jiuxian Village.
Yulong River Loop
This 30km cycle route takes you on a full loop of the Yulong River and combines a visit to Jiuxian Village, the Gongnong Bridge and Xiangui Bridge, Jima Wharf and Shuiedi Wharf.
This is a great half day cycle route for those who want to see incredible scenery.
Moon Hill Cycle Route
This is a 26km cycle route that takes you through the small villages and countryside to the limestone rock formation known as Moon Hill, which is an arch with a window in the middle.
Fuli and Xingping
This is one of the longest routes in Yangshuo and the one we decided to take. It’s about 55km and takes you past Pantao Hill, Bilian Hill, the Li River and finally to the market town of Fuli.
You can continue on to the town of Xingping where you can take a cruise on the Li River with bamboo rafts, but we decided to turn back as we enjoyed the views on the way to Fuli.
Before You Go
If you’re planning on cycling in Yangshuo, be sure to organize your eSim card. We get ours through Airalo.
Setting up an eSim is even easier than buying a sim card. All you do is install the app, choose your destination and package, install the eSim and then activate it.
It’s only $5 for 1 GB data for 7 days, or $9 for 3 GB data for 30 days.
When traveling in China, you will also want a VPN, so you can access many sites typically blocked by China. Grab your VPN for China here
Further Reading on China Travel
Looking for more travel tips for China? Then check out the following resources…
- 2 Week China Itinerary – Unmissable Places to Visit in China
- 34 Essential Things to Know Before Visiting China
- Wondering What to Do in Beijing, China? Read on
- Climbing the Great Wall of China
- What are the best things to do in Shanghai?
- Hiking the Tiger Leaping Gorge in China
- 15 Best things to do in Hong Kong