This seven-day tour from Guilin is one of the best ways to get acquainted with Yangshuo’s fantastic landscape and interesting culture. Spend four days on a bike, following your expert guide through canyons, rivers and valleys that display the best of the region. One day will be spent hiking up the Longji Rice Terraces, where you will discover the lifestyles of the different minority tribes. You will also enjoy a picturesque two-hour cruise on the Li River on board a bamboo raft. And you can spend the last day of your trip partaking in the various optional activities offered in Yangshuo (own expense) like rock climbing, cave exploration and more!
Your expert guide will lead you on trails that combine hills, flat ground and off-road dirt tracks. Traveling the countryside by bike offers an incredibly rewarding experience for those who are up for it; the difficulty levels range from moderate to strenuous, including some uphill riding, but support vehicles are available if you want to rest your legs for a while. Day-by-day itineraries may change depending on your group’s interests, the guide’s extensive knowledge of the region or other external factors.
Please see the Itinerary below for a more detailed schedule of each day.
Day 1: Arrival in Guilin (D)
Whether you are arriving in Guilin by plane or by train, a local representative will be waiting for you at the arrivals area – simply look for your name. After tour orientation, you will be introduced to your guide and driven approximately two hours to a guesthouse in the Longji Rice Terraces.
If time permits, you can walk up to one of the viewpoints on your own to watch the sun set below the gorgeous terraces.
Overnight: Local guesthouse with standard amenities
Day 2: Longji Rice Terraces (L, D)
Your guide will tailor your day depending on activities of your choosing. You can follow your guide on a hike around the hillside or on a shorter walk to one of the viewpoints over the terraces. Walking paths allow for a moderately easy trip up to these viewpoints and throughout the entire mountain.
On the hike, you will discover the lifestyles of the Yao and Zhuang minorities inhabiting this area. Yao women dress in a distinctive fashion – colorful jackets with short pleated skirts – and often grow their hair long enough to touch the ground. They will happily demonstrate how they tie their hair, wrapped around their heads in a style resembling an Indian turban.
You may also take the highly recommended hike from the village of Ping’an to the village of Dazhai. Your guide will lead you on this 4-hour (approx.) hike, which will take you past scenic layers of rice fields and through several rural Yao villages, where you will often meet the local ethnic people and learn about their lifestyles. Upon arrival in Dazhai, a bus will take you on the two-hour drive back to Ping’an.
If you’d rather, you can simply spend the day relaxing at the guesthouse in Ping’an. (The guesthouse owners may even offer you a sample of their special rice wine!) At night, enjoy a delectable dinner cooked especially for you by your hosts.
Overnight: Local guesthouse with standard amenities
Day 3: Longji to Butterfly Valley (L, D)
Today, your biking begins! You’ll bike a total of 36 miles (58 km) on dirt roads and through hilly terrain. In the morning, follow your guide down the mountainside, through dozens of twists and turns on small sealed roads that make their way between pine and bamboo forests and several ethnic villages.
Take breaks on the side of the road and stop at a local restaurant to feast on some scrumptious Guilin rice noodles. Afterward, cycle to a wide valley and then into a narrow gorge called Butterfly Valley, where a vehicle will be waiting to transfer to central Guilin. The scenic drive will afford you more gorgeous views of endless rice fields, fruit plantations and vegetable plots and reservoirs.
Spend the rest of the day exploring the city center of Guilin with your guide. You will find many popular restaurants, bustling shopping strips and interesting cafes along Zhongshan Road. In the evening, a night market will be set up along this road, and you can browse the handmade crafts and enjoy local specialties and a variety of snacks being sold.
Overnight: 3-star hotel with standard amenities in Guilin
Day 4: Guilin to Xingping (B, L)
After breakfast, hop onto your bike once again and follow your guide south to the Li River. Today, you will be cycling for 22 mi (37 km) and will spend more time on unsealed dirt roads, rather than paved flat roads. Cycle alongside the river and enjoy stunning views of the karst mountains reflected on the water. You will stop at several ancient villages of the Ming era.
Enjoy the karst scenery as you dine on a delicious lunch in the village of Caoping. Then, follow your guide to the river, where you will board a bamboo raft for a two-hour Li River cruise. Marvel at the beautiful landscape, combining towering mountain peaks, lush green hills, bamboo groves and crystal-clear water. See water buffalos wade in the river and fishermen fishing on cormorants. Finally, disembark in the city of Xingping, where you will be transferred to a family guesthouse with views overlooking the river.
You will reach Xingping before sunset, giving you time to explore Xingping’s streets on your own to see Ming Dynasty architecture and ancient pavements.
Overnight: Local guesthouse with standard amenities in Xingping
Day 5: Xingping to Yangdi to Chaolong (B, L)
Today, you will travel about 40 mi (60 km) on both dirt roads and paved roads with a 1 mi (3 km) steep uphill climb. Cycle the back roads towards Chaolong Village and experience more of the region’s dirt trails that weave through karst mountain ranges.
Pass by quaint villages, countless pomelo and kumquat groves and gorgeous rice terraces. After conquering the hilly terrain, follow your guide through the flat, serene Dragon River Valley, where you will see picturesque landscapes of green bamboo forests and stunning karst mountains, as well as displays of rural life. Located here is Chaolong Village, where a newly renovated farmer’s cottage will be waiting for you to stay the night.
Overnight: Local cottage guesthouse with standard amenities in Chaolong
Day 6: Chaolong Village to Yangshuo (L, D)
Once you’ve regained your energy after a good night’s sleep, hop onto your bike once again and continue riding along the river valley, where you will pass by Moon Hill. If you’re up for it, stop here and climb to the top for scenic views of the surrounding countryside. Other exciting optional activities include swimming in the Yulong River; simply ask your guide if there’s an activity that interests you.
Ride another 6 mi (10 km) until you reach Yangshuo. After enjoying dinner with your group, rest up in your accommodation or spend the evening exploring the town.
Overnight: Local guesthouse with standard amenities in Yangshuo
Day 7: Yangshuo
Spend the entire day exploring the town either on your own or with your guide. Yangshuo offers plenty of activities that will keep you occupied for the day – these include rock climbing, kayaking, bamboo rafting and more (any additional expenses for optional activities are your own). You can also walk through the town and visit its many shops, cafes and restaurants.
When you are ready to leave, a private transfer will take you back to Guilin for your departing flight or train.