Just three hours drive from Yangshuo Mountain Retreat

While Yangshuo has endless acres of emerald green rice fields, Longsheng and Ping'An, just 90 minutes north of Guilin feature spectacular terraced fields on steep hills, known as the Dragon Back rice terraces. From the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat, the best way to visit is to get up early and take a taxi through Guilin, visit the terraces then fly out from Guilin airport in the evening. You can also spend the night in Ping'An village. Yangshuo Mountain Retreat reception can help you plan this trip to make the most of your Yangshuo Guilin tour. Many of our guests have raved about the Li An Lodge in Long Sheng. It's more expensive than the nearby accommodation but our guests say it's a good value. If you require more information on Li An Lodge, you can read their reviews on TripAdvisor. Yangshuo Mountain Retreat can also help you book accommodation with them.

Longsheng is situated about 200 km northwest of Yangshuo. Longsheng itself is not a particularly interesting town but the area that surrounds it has some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in Guangxi Province. About 25 km from Longsheng, in the lower slopes of the mountains, you can find minority cultures living in villages nestled in between the ancient rice terraces. The major minority groups here are the Miao and the Dong. Once you are in the national park (100 RMB entry/person at time of writing) it is a 5km steep climb by bus from the riverside to the main village called Ping'An. This minority village is over 300 years old and in the wooden lodges 200 families are still living in harmony with nature.

The bus drops you off slightly below the village so you will have to walk about 15-20 min to reach Ping'An and another hour to get to the first of many view points from which you can see the breathtaking Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces. The scenery of large wooden lodges on stilts, cascading rice terraces that disappear into the valley below and the magnificent backdrop of 2000 meter mountains is always an unforgettable holiday experience.

The rice terraces are beautiful in every season. In summer the paddies are a lush green and the rice sways in the gentle breeze, in autumn they turn a golden yellow, in winter they are often blanketed in a light covering of snow and in spring the waterlogged rice fields sparkle in the sunlight. Go and explore it in your own time with the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat's individual day trip

Longsheng Rice Terraces Day Trip:

  • Depart YSMR at 7 am with your private vehicle and driver ( Taxi Sedan)
  • Arrive in Ping'An at approx. 10 am
  • Transport to a local farmhouse
  • Spend the rest of the day exploring Ping' An and the terraces at your own leisure. Walk to one of the many terraces that look out across this amazing vista and soak up the breathtaking views.
  • Return to Yangshuo or Guilin (Airport) on your request

Learn to cook Chinese food in a traditional Chinese farmhouse in the Yangshuo. The Yangshuo cooking school offers its customers the opportunity to learn how to cook real Chinese food in a traditional setting with skilled and friendly teachers who can impart the secrets of Chinese cuisine in a friendly and fun atmosphere. They emphasize a teaching style based on actually doing rather than watching. They will also take you shopping in the local market to learn about the ingredients that the Chinese use in their dishes. After cooking five dishes you will eat lunch together.

Yangshuo cooking school offers a great way to learn more about local Chinese cuisine and enjoy a new cultural experience. From Yangshuo Mountain Retreat, the cooking school is only about 3km down a country road. Spend a day at the Yangshuo cooking school and learn to cook a variety of Yangshuo classic dishes. Please ask at Yangshuo Mountain Retreat reception to learn more and Yangshuo cooking school. Please note that since the opening of the Yangshuo cooking school, there are now many copycat schools, but we believe the original Yangshuo cooking classes are the best value. There's more information at our riverside retreat reception. We are not afiliated with the Yangshuo cooking school, but our guest reviews have been very positive, so we continue to recommend the school as a great part of a Yangshuo tour. Whether or not you are a guest at our Yangshuo hotel, we'll be pleased to help arrange Yangshuo cooking classes for you at this reputable school. 

Yangshuo Cooking School courses include:

  • Small classes
  • A visit to the local market
  • Transport to their farmhouse
  • English speaking local teachers
  • Set of 5 dishes with 1 or 2 day courses available
  • Recipes of the dishes cooked
  • An individual work
  • Learning by doing
  • Lunch

Course 1

Runs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday

  • Market tour
  • Beer Fish (famous local dish).
  • Chicken with cashew nuts
  • Steamed stuffed vegetables
  • Eggplant with soy sauce
  • Green vegetables with garlic 

Course 2

Runs on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

  • Market tour
  • Egg wrapped dumplings
  • Steamed Chicken with mushroom
  • Duck with pickled ginger and chilies
  • Stir fried pork with vegetables and oyster sauce
  • Green vegetable with garlic

All Yangshuo cooking school courses can be booked at the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat reception


The list of villages below offers an excellent glimpse into the rural side of China offering an authentic experience and a chance to soak up the local culture. Don't forget to check out the market days also listed below.

Yucun (The Fishing Village)

Lying on the east bank of the Li River upstream from Yangshuo, ancient Xingping fishing village was founded during the Ming Dynasty in 1506.

48 traditional houses have been very well preserved and the special features of the houses make the Fishing Village a very interesting place to visit. Surrounded by karst formations the Yucun is only accessible by walking a narrow path or by boat. Bill Clinton made this place very popular as he paid it a visit in 1998 during his China trip. He expressed his admiration of the simple and authentic features of the village. The Yucun got its name from what the farmers do to earn a living: they fish. Their fishing techniques are very special as they use bamboo rafts instead of wooden boats and they use cormorants to catch the fish.

Jiuxian Village

Jiuxian is located very near to the Dragon River but is still a very quiet and not greatly visited village as it is not on the main Yangshuo to Moon Hill bike route. It is located on the Yangshuo to the Yulong (Dragon River) bridge route and makes a nice break along the way. Walk around this tranquil village and feel the peacefulness of this rural area.

Mushan Village

This village is near the Snow-Lion Hill in Fuli town. The official Chinese name is Mushan Village although in the local dialect it is called Bagua. Fuli Town has a history of over 1000 years and has become a popular place to buy handmade fans which are produced and painted there. As everywhere in Yangshuo county Fuli and Mushan are surrounded by spectacular karst hills and the waters of the Li River.

Chaolong Village

This town is actually made up of 3 villages: Yima, Chao Yang and Chao Long. They are on the newly paved road between the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat and the Yu Long Bridge. The houses are made from mud bricks and villagers live their lives as they have done for hundreds of years. Although only a short distance from Yangshuo it often seems as time stands still in these small rural villages. This area can be seen easily on a bike ride or walk starting from our hotel incorporated with a course at the local cooking school (link to blog page with local vendors) or a bamboo raft ride on the river.

The Stone Village

The Stone Village is located North of Yangshuo about a 20 minute drive up the mountains. Its main feature is that all of the houses in this remote village are not made from traditional mud or ash brick but from locally quarried stone. Many of the houses are still in good condition, while there are also abandoned properties in various state of disrepair. There are only a couple of dozen families still left here, so it's an interesting look at how villages adapt and maintain their traditional life.


Yangdi is an old small village between Guilin and Yangshuo on the shores of the Li River. It takes about 1hr 15 min to get there by bus. Yangdi is interesting on its own but is also the starting point of a beautiful hike to Xingping.


Xingping is a small town which you can explore in about 1 hour. It has a long history and many buildings date back to the Qing and Ming dynasties. On market days the town comes to life and can get quiet busy with locals from the surrounding villages coming to buy and sell produce. The scenery around Xingping is magnificent and you can take a walk out of town on a nice path which crosses a tributary of the Li River and takes you onto a smaller road that runs along the river. After about a 45 min walk you will reach the spot where you can see the picture which is printed on a 20 RMB note. If you continue on this path you will get to the tiny village Langshi. There are boats nearby to bring you to Yangdi or Xing Ping from where you can take a bus back to Yangshuo.

Local Market days

  • Yangshuo & Xingping: 3, 6, 9, 13, 16, 19, 23, 26 and 29 of every month
  • Fuli: 2, 5, 8, 12, 15, 18, 22, 25 & 28 of every month
  • Baisha: 1, 4, 7, 11, 14, 17, 21, 24 & 27 of every month

Local Produce

  • Pomeloes: First introduced to this area around three hundred years ago at the end of the Ming Dynasty, this highly visible fruit is slightly larger than a western grapefruit. In addition it peels very easily and is much sweeter than you might expect. While they become ripe in October, try to choose an old tree for the very best tasting examples.
  • Oranges: A local variety, favored in and around Baisha town, look for glowing colors and shiny rinds, especially when they come into season in November.
  • Horse Chestnuts: Anybody visiting Jin Bao Town during October is in for a very special surprise. Try them fresh, roasted in charcoal or perhaps stuffed into a succulent duck's breast.
  • Persimmon: Westerners might find this fruit sickly sweet if eaten fresh. Alternatively wait until winter when your can try the pressed, sun-dried version which is much tastier. Also popular in traditional Chinese medicine as a natural cure for indigestion.

Local Handicrafts

  • Fans: Hand-painted, decorative fans are one of the most popular souvenirs to take home, especially for those visiting Fan Street in Fuli, where many local artisans specialize in this ancient art.
  • Chinese Landscape Painting: Yangshuo has always been a magnet for painters and a very definitive style has evolved over the years. Who could head home without at least a couple of delicately brushed scrolls in their case to liven up the office wall?
  • Embroidered Decorative Balls: Hugely popular in Japan where they are known as Temari, these delicate balls of thread actually originated in China. Sometimes made for ornamentation, the Zhuang people usually used them as love tokens

For more great pictures of local villages go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/yangshuomountainretreat/sets/72157603685475420/