The Best Hikes in Yangshuo: Where to hike in Yangshuo
If you want to experience the stunning natural beauty of Yangshuo first-hand, there’s no better way than to set off on two feet and go exploring. Hiking in Yangshuo is incredibly convenient. Many hikes can be reached directly from Yangshuo or the neighboring town of Xingping, without the need for lengthy bus rides to reach the trailhead. Outside of the most popular trails, you won’t find much information about hiking in Yangshuo online. Many of the best ones are little more than rural dirt roads. Luckily for you, we’ve already done all the legwork! We spent a week wandering down dusty paths, getting lost, talking to locals, and getting lost some more. We took down notes of our favorite trails and compiled a list of the best hikes in Yangshuo to point you in the right direction on your trip!
Best Hikes in Yangshuo
1. Laozai Mountain (Xingping)
2km/1.5 hours round trip
About 30km North of Yangshuo is the quaint town of Xingping. It’s like a smaller, quieter version of Yangshuo. It’s a great place to escape and relax for a few days but also serves as the starting point for some nice hikes, the most popular one being Laozhai Mountain.
Hiking in Yangshuo usually comes in one of two forms: flat meandering trails, or literally vertical climbs up a mountain. This hike is definitely the latter, once you start you essentially climb stone steps straight to the top, with minimal flat stretches. Though the climb is steep and strenuous, its only about 1km and the views are seriously INSANE!
This is the ultimate hike for sunrise and sunset enthusiasts. Hike in the early morning to see the sunrise over the karst formations to the East, or hike in the evening to watch the sunset over the horseshoe bend of the Li River. We climbed Laozhai Mountain twice; in the morning and evening and weren’t disappointed either time.
Sunrise at Laozhaishan
To get there:
Starting from This Old Place (No.5, Rongtan Rd., Xingping), turn right and head towards the river. Take the immediate left after passing through the gate to the pier. A short walk down that path and you will come to Laozhaishan Inn. Take the stairs that go up past the patio of the inn. Continue up the road behind the inn and you will soon see a sign for Laozhaishan. Follow the sign and from that point on the trail is very well marked (also there’s only one way to go: up!).
2. Moon Hill
Another popular spot for hiking in Yangshuo is Moon Hill. The iconic landmark has a half-moon shaped hole in the peak that’s impossible to miss. It’s unique shape and proximity to Yangshuo make it one of the more popular hikes in the area. You must pay a small admission fee (about $3USD) to access the trail, but we felt it was well worth it.
This is another fairly steep, but short hike. It takes around 40 minutes to get to the bottom of the arch. The trail is well maintained; it’s mostly made up of a paved path and steps with trash cans along the way and even nice ladies to sell you beer at the top. The trail continues on a little farther past the arch to a viewing area to see the other side of the hill and the surrounding countryside.
Moon Hill Secret Trail: As you walk through the arch and towards the viewing platform, you’ll see a small trail on your left with a sign that says “no entry” or something like that. Ignore that sign and all of its warnings and follow the trail. The trail is narrow, steep, and requires a good amount of tree ducking and obstacle avoiding, but it takes you up to the very top of Moon Hill.
This is one of those cases where fortune definitely favors the bold. The main trail is nothing to write home about, but the views from the top make this hike unforgettable. You get an unobstructed 360-degree view of the surrounding karst formations and can see for miles and miles on a sunny day. Unfortunately for us, it was cloudy. On a clear day, this is the perfect spot to watch the sunset.
Taking the secret trail to the top is what makes this hike special.
To get there:
Moon hill is really easy to get to from Yangshuo. It’s about 8km south from West Street, through the scenic Ten Mile Gallery. We highly recommend renting bicycles to get there. It only takes about 25minutes and the ride is really beautiful.
From the intersection of Pantao Rd and West Street, turn left and head South on Pantao road. As you leave town, that road turns into G321. Stay on G321 until you reach Moon Hill. It will be on your right, it’s impossible to miss. Just look for the giant triangle rock with a hole in
3. Green Lotus Peak
Green Lotus Peak is conveniently located right at the end of West Street. It’s by far the easiest hike in Yangshuo to get to. Green Lotus Peak is another steep hike up a karst mountain. From the top, you get an awesome aerial view of Yangshuo and the Li River.
The Peak is a popular spot to watch the sunset, especially among the Yangshuo backpacking community. Many hostels organize sunset hikes. Expect to see beer-toting backpackers upon reaching the top. Our recommendation is to bring some beers of your own and make it a social sunset experience!
To get there:
If you’re on West Street, walk towards the river. Once you hit the river, turn right. That’s Green Lotus Peak. If you get there early enough in the morning, its free to hike. But unless you’re going for sunrise, there’s a 30RMB ($5USD) fee.
4. Daizu Hill (Xingping)
15km 4/5 hours roundtrip.
Blazing our own trail to Daizu Hill.
This is a great day-trip starting from Xingping. This hike in Yangshuo is mostly flat- a nice change of pace from the steep mountaintop hikes. The trail follows the river East before curving away from the river and into the countryside. The hike takes you past towering bamboo thickets and seemingly endless orange orchards. From the top of Daizu Hill, you can view a big bend in the River. Along the way, you’re supposed to pass a small monastery, but we got a bit lost and ended up missing it. The trail isn’t well marked. luckily, it intersects with a local farming road and makes a big loop. We somehow got off the trail and ended up on the rural road, then came across the trail again as we were heading back. Trail or no trail, it’s a beautiful walk through the countryside.
Daizu Hill is a longer trek, definitely plan for at least half a day. There’s not much in the way of facilities once you leave Xingping, so be sure to bring plenty of water and some snacks.
To get there:
*definitely download Maps.me, it’s got a good map of the area that you can download and use offline.*
From This Old Place Hostel turn right and walk to the pier. On the far left side, you can catch a ferry across the river. The ferries are orange and cost 2RMB to cross. (The boatman will more than likely try to haggle you. He tried to charge us 10RMB/each.)
Once you cross the river, turn left and follow the river. You’ll follow a path for a while and then a dirt road. After about 2.5km, you’ll see a small trail going up the hill on your right. Take that path and follow it to the monastery and around to the top of Daizu Hill. If you turn off from the river too soon (which we did), you’ll end up on a local farm road that take you around the other side of the hill. Either way makes for a nice hike!
These orange boats will take you across the river. It should only cost 2RMB.
5. Li River Trail (Xingping)
5km/3 hours round trip
Just north of Yangshuo lies the most iconic stretch of the Li River. Here you will find Nine Horse Fresco Hill, Yellow Cloth Shoal and the aptly named 20 Yuan Bill Hill (featured on the back of a 20RMB bill surprise, surprise!).
While many people choose to take a “bamboo” raft up this stretch of the river, we thought the rafting experience was over-priced and very touristy. A much more pleasant alternative is to walk along the river and take in the scenery on foot!
Sunset on the Li River
There’s a paved path that follows the river and will take you past all the iconic spots. It drops off from time to time but after a short walk along the river bank the path picks back up. You can follow the river for about 6km before reaching a ferry crossing. If you’re looking for a more adventurous trek, you can take the ferry and continue on to Yangdi village. Be advised: after crossing the river the trail gives way to unmarked farm paths you will have to use Maps.me and feel it out as you go. You must also take two more ferries. We talked to several locals about this and they all said that the ferries farther up the river are notoriously unreliable. You could be waiting for hours for one to arrive.
We were in the mood for a leisurely day hike, so when we got to the ferry we turned around and headed back to Xingping. If you’re looking to take a dip in the river; this is the hike. Yangshuo summers can be swelteringly hot. There are tons of great spots along the river to hop in and escape the heat.
To get there:
From the Xingping pier, head west. At the first intersection, turn left and cross the bridge. Once across the bridge, turn left again and follow the road. After a short while on the road, you’ll pass some vendors and see steps leading down to the river. Take these steps and then follow the river North. If the river path ever drops off, just walk along the river or on the main road for a short while and it will pick back up again.
It’s pretty hard to get lost on this one. When in doubt: follow the river!
6. Yangdi Village Hike
16km +/- 8 hours.
If you’ve come to Yangshuo looking for adventure, this is the hike for you. Of all the best hikes in Yangshuo, this one is the most challenging. The trek will take you 16km from Xingping to Yangdi village. On this hike, you will venture deep into the countryside. You’ll be surround by stunning karst peaks and charming farmland. They say this area is like stepping into a postcard, and you’ll be smack dab in the middle of it.
The majority of the trail is unmarked, you’ll have to navigate local roads and farm paths to make your way between the two towns. Having Maps.me is an absolute must for the Yangdi hike; Google maps won’t give you jack sh*t in terms of navigation. If all else fails, just follow the river.
You must take three ferries to get from Xingping to Yangdi. The closest one to Xingping runs regularly, but according to several locals, the other two can be inconsistent. Make sure to get an early start in case you have to wait a while for a ferry. It’s a 16km hike through rural countryside, so be prepared. Pack food, water, and ideally a water purification system.
To get there:
You can do this hike in either direction, either starting in Xingping and finishing in Yangdi, or taking a bus to Yangdi and trekking south from there.
From Xingping: Take the Li River trail and cross the river at the ferry approx. 6km from Xingping. From there follow the river and use Maps.me to navigate your way to Yangdi. There should be two more river crossings after the initial ferry.
Once you get to Yangdi you can take a local bus back to Yangshuo. There’s no direct bus from Yangdi to Xingping so if you’re planning on returning there you’ll have to take a bus to Yangshuo and then another one to Xingping. The bus from Yangdi should drop you off at the same place you catch the bus to Xingping.
If you get to Yangdi and want to stay the night, there’s a really cool looking Airbnb in the nearby Yao ethnic village of Laojia. Its nestled among rice terraces and you can get a taste of what local life is like. If you book a stay there, someone will meet you in Yangdi and walk you to the Airbnb
Xinping bus station
Yangshuo bus station
From Yangshuo: At the Yangshuo Passenger Transport Terminal, catch a local bus to Yangdi (about 5RMB). From there, cross the bridge and head south. Once you reach Xingping, you can take a local bus back to Yangshuo for about 15RMB
*We really wanted to do this hike, but we just didn’t have enough time. We opted to take the Li River trail to the ferry and then turn back to Xingping. If you do the complete Yangdi trek, please let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear what the second half of the tail is like!*
Bonus: Hike from Xingping to Xianggong Mountain
12km round trip
Xianggong Mountain is a stunning viewpoint that’s really popular with sunset photographers. It’s a bit remote, located in no-man’s land between Yangshuo and Xingping, without any real towns or villages nearby. Most people hire a private car to go there; but from looking at Maps.me and talking with locals, it can be reached on foot from Xingping!
It looks like you hike to Daizu hill and continue north from there instead of circling back to Xingping. The hike is about 6km from Xingping to Xianggong Mountain, so you can do it in a day.
Embarking on this adventure will definitely involve blazing trail; you’ll be piecing together a route through farm paths and dirt roads.
If you do this hike, you may be one of the first to have done it. Please comment and let us know how it went!
Hiking in Yangshuo is no trekking in Nepal, but it was still one of our favorite activities to do while we were there. It’s nice because most of the hikes are easy to get to and can be done in a day. There’s also a wide variety of hiking options available. There are steep hikes that grant you amazing views, winding trails through the countryside, and flat, meandering trails that you can wander on for an hour or the entire day. The one constant regardless of which hike we were on was the perpetual awe we felt of how gorgeous this corner of the globe is. This region is a trove of natural wonders just begging to be explored.
This list of the best hikes in Yangshuo is by no means comprehensive. Several of them we kind of figured out as we went along. There are probably countless awesome hikes waiting to be discovered. If you go to Yangshuo and do a hike not mentioned in this list, please let us know! We will definitely return before our time in China is over and would love to learn about any gems we missed!
*This post uses an affiliate link. If you click the link to This Old Place Hostel and book a stay, we will earn a small commission. We loved our stay at This Old Place and highly recommend that you stay there! The commission we earn comes at no extra cost to you and allows us to cover the overhead expenses of maintaining our blog. Thank you for supporting us!*
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