Biking in Yangshuo, China: Pedaling Through Ancient Villages and Karst Mountain Peaks

By Mark Wiens 52 Comments
Biking in Yangshuo, China
Scenery of Yangshuo, China

Yangshuo, China is an incredibly beautiful destination and there’s no better way to experience the countryside scenery than to jump on a bicycle and pedal your way through the mess of karst limestone mountains, lazy rivers and ancient Chinese villages.

First, take a look at this 2:45 video about biking in Yangshuo

I took most of the footage with one hand as I steered with the other hand. There were a few near bike tumbles while filming this video – but luckily, no injuries recorded!

Yangshuo, China (about 1 hour away from Guilin), is a popular tourist destination for both Chinese and foreigners alike.

Unlike the boisterous urban cities that China is so well known for, Yangshuo is a small town (by Chinese standards) and for the most part it still retains its farm-like feeling.

Even though herds of Chinese tour groups unload their buses all over the place, it’s easy to escape it all with the help of a bike.

Yangshuo, China
Yangshuo, China

Just 15 minutes by bicycle in many directions from the main part of Yangshuo and one can be transported into a completely rural setting where traffic becomes obsolete, obnoxious honking horns disperse and locals seem to live in the same manner as generations of their ancestors did.

Things to do in Yangshuo, China
Bike Riding in Yangshuo, China

The countryside landscapes and terrain make Yangshuo a perfect place to tour by bicycle.

Biking in Yangshuo, China
Bike Riding in Yangshuo, China

Sometimes when the scenery is just too beautiful it’s necessary to park the bikes and just gaze through the depths of beauty.

We parked our bikes quite a number of times to refresh ourselves in the cool river!

Yulong River, Yangshuo, China
Yulong River, Yangshuo, China

One of the most beautiful areas to ride in Yangshuo is to various locations along the gorgeous Yulong River.

The peacefulness of the region along with little ancient farming villages is a treasure chest full of surprises. You never know when a random travel experience may develop!

Dragon Bridge, Yangshuo, China
Dragon Bridge, Yangshuo, China

Dragon Bridge, which is about 45 minutes away from central Yangshuo town, is a tranquil area that is home to a picturesque stone bridge.

The half circular bridge constructed of perfectly fitting stones is a true spectacle of craftsmanship – and the setting along with Yulong River makes it even more impressive.

It’s no wonder that Dragon Bridge is a hot-spot for wedding photos!

Biking in Yangshuo, China
Banks of the Yulong River, Yangshuo, China

Biking in Yangshuo offers a chance to get away from main roads and to dive just a little deeper into a rural setting of China (it still exists!), explore the countryside and walk around ancient Chinese villages.

Renting a Bike in Yangshuo

There are an abundance of bicycle rentals in Yangshuo, especially around the West Street area. You should also be able to either rent or ask for a good place to rent a bike at your hotel / hostel.

Here are some normal prices:

You can manage to do a lot of bike rides in Yangshuo on a simple 1-speed Chinese style bike, but it’s a lot of fun to ride a multi-geared higher quality mountain bike if you are willing to pay a little more.

I assure you that you will have a rewarding time in Yangshuo if you rent a bike and head out for a cruise!

52 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Hone

    7 years ago

    Thanks for the Yangshuo video. I was there recently for a few days. A truely stunning and amazing place. I wish I could have stayed there longer!

  • FightLiveShare.com

    8 years ago

    Great photos. China is a country I really should put more time into exploring. There is so much to see and do there.

    Looks like it was a fun ride.

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Thanks a lot! China is so huge and it offers so much to do and see, I also want to return there and spend a lot more time in the future!

  • Vicky

    8 years ago

    Just spent a few days in yanghsuo volunteering at an English school and rented biked a few times to see the surrounding area. Absolutely gorgeous. One day one of the students at the school offered to bike around with us and with a local friend to guide us we took a very interesting route to get to the Dragon Bridge, going through the rice fields and admiring the simple farm life. very interesting!

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Great to hear that Vicky, that Dragon Bridge area if gorgeous! Biking around Yangshuo is incredible!

  • Brendan van Son

    9 years ago

    Beautiful images guys! Looks like an amazing place to go for a cruise on the bike.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thanks Brendan – it’s really a gorgeous place and once you get away from the traffic it’s peaceful and relaxing as well!

  • David

    9 years ago

    Great post. I was in Yangshuo during the first week of October. Unfortunately it rained almost everyday, but exploring the countryside on bikes was still one of the highlights of the trip. Where we in Yangshuo at the same time?

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hey David,
      I was in Yangshuo for the entire month of September 2011…so we may have just missed each other. The entire time I was there in September the weather was quite nice, and very warm, but about 3 days before I left the weather all of a sudden got cooler and started raining as well. Hope you enjoyed your time in Yangshuo despite the rain… Did you get some beer fish or any other good food?

  • Cathy Sweeney

    9 years ago

    Fantastic way to enjoy the Yangshuo countryside.Gorgeous photos, Mark.

  • Bama

    9 years ago

    After my biking experience in Cambodia this summer, now I always look for any possibility to explore places and cities by bike. It’s so much fun and so cheap. As a matter of fact, I will be traveling to Southern China next summer, so your information in this post would definitely help me. Thanks Mark!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      No problem Bama. Glad to hear that you also like to bike, and Southern rural China is a great place for that. Will you be visiting Yangshuo?

      • Bama

        9 years ago

        I will try to visit Yangshuo, because what I read from other sources is that it only takes a few hours bus ride from Guangzhou (where I will be heading to) to Yangshuo.

        • Mark Wiens

          9 years ago

          That’s right Bama, it’s a bit of a distance from Guangzhou, but now when you compare it to the size of the entire country. I think it’s an overnight bus ride, 8 hours or so, but China is very comfortable when it comes to transportation. I know you enjoy Yangshuo!

  • Michael

    9 years ago

    Ah you brought back all the memories from when I was in Yangshuo. It was raining the day I went biking but I had the best time rock climbing there.
    Love your pictures by the way… beautifully presented too.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thanks a lot Michael! Too bad it was raining while you were there, but glad that you still had an amazing time!

  • Juno

    9 years ago

    Awesome! I’m heading there next month. Perfect timing to read the review! 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Great to hear that Juno, you will love it there! How long will you be in Yangshuo?

  • Christy @ Technosyncratic

    9 years ago

    It’s funny – when I think of China I automatically think of crowded urban spaces… even though so much of the country is rural. It seems so beautiful there; when we head to China I definitely want to visit areas like this as well as the big cities.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Yah, I would be with you in thinking of giant cities and industrialization, but like you said, there is so much rural beautiful countryside as well. China really is an amazing country to visit!

  • Sophie

    9 years ago

    Such gorgeous landscape. Cycling in China is high on our list. Do they hire out child-size bikes as well?

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thanks Sophie! Not sure if I saw child sized bikes, but there’s almost everything available in China. I know they did have plenty of tandem bikes where a child could sit on the back.

  • John in France

    9 years ago

    That is sensational Mark. It looks like a film set! I’d love to visit here, and do some cooking classes at the same time!!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Cool John, I also took a cooking class while in Yangshuo, I think the article will publish soon!

  • Jeremy Branham

    9 years ago

    Wow, fantastic scenery and photos! Kudos to you for doing that filming one handed on the bike. This is a beautiful area!

  • lisa

    9 years ago

    I have very fond memories of my family biking in Yangshuo in December, 2008. It was a little colder out than we would have liked but it was all so beautiful. Did you cross the Yulong River on the bamboo rafts with your bike? What an experience! Thanks for bringing back the memories.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thanks for sharing that Lisa! Yah, I heard that Yangshuo gets pretty cold in the winter. No, didn’t get to cross the Yulong on a raft, but just over the bridge. Biking in Yangshuo really was a great experience!

  • jamie – cloud people adventures

    9 years ago

    wow, great pictures! i agree with the bike thing. such a good way to get around. walking can just be a bit too slow sometimes!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thanks Jamie, biking is a great way to get around and it’s also such a peaceful way to see landscapes and the surrounding area.

  • Laura

    9 years ago

    That’s awesome! I have a picture of the hills/mountains on my wall, and it’s definitely on my must-visit list.

  • Fida

    9 years ago

    Stunning landscape and beautiful villages. The bikes to rent seem to be much better now than I remember them 😉

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hey Fida, yah I was really impressed with the choice and quality of bicycles. Even the traditional Chinese style 1 speed bikes were in good condition.

  • jenjenk

    9 years ago

    i love how affordable it is there…and that is some beautiful countryside!

  • Renee

    9 years ago

    Absolutely beautiful post, Mark. You are right, the city is a paradise. I totally get why you must stop at certain points to drink in the scenery. It’s as if you want to try to imprint that moment in time onto your brain so that it will last forever. I really enjoyed traveling along with the two of you…great video!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thanks so much Renee! Biking through the beautiful scenery was gorgeous!

  • Roy | The Riding Dutchman

    9 years ago

    It’s beautiful!! I love the mountains in that area. They are so typical 🙂

  • Maria

    9 years ago

    15 minutes, really? The Photos make me feel like you traveled much further than that from the hustle and bustle. Beautiful scenery, thanks for sharing w/me.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thanks Maria! Yah, one of the greatest things about Yangshuo is that just a few minutes by bike away and you’re in the beautiful countryside. I had a great time while I was there!

  • Jodi

    9 years ago

    This is a really beautiful post. Has a peaceful vibe to it!