Yangshuo County is a county in Guilin, Guangxi Province, China. Its seat is located in Yangshuo Town. Surrounded by karst peaks and bordered on one side by the Li River it is easily accessible by bus or by boat from nearby Guilin. Over the years, it has become popular with foreign backpackers.
The town borders the Li River on one side, and is situated on a small plain between a number of karst peaks. Two main roads run away from the water and form the central part of the town, Chinese Street (Dei Chui Lu) and West Street. Most foreign-oriented businesses, such as hostels, hotels, rock climbing companies, restaurants and entertainment venues, are situated on West Street or the pedestrian only Xian Qian Street which runs between Chinese and West Street.
Visitors to Yangshuo can swim in the Li River or the cleaner Dragon River, climb one of the many nearby karst peaks or hire a bicycle for a cycling trip through the karst scenery. Additionally, there is a butterfly cave near the town and a number of cave systems. Yangshuo is also China's foremost venue for rock climbing, with around 300 bolted routes and several companies offering guiding and equipment hire. With mountain biking and kayaking becoming more popular, Yangshuo is becoming an adventure sports centre as well as a stop on the traveller's trail.
Most of the original culture of the town has been absorbed into the tourist industry. For example, you can "rent" a fisherman with cormorants to watch him go fishing with them. You can also "rent" local women, in traditional ethnic dress, to pose for photographs.
Rock climbing in Yangshuo was first put on the map by American climber Todd Skinner who visited in 1992 establishing a number of classic lines such as "Moonwalker" which traverses the famous Moon Hill arch.
Much of recent climbing history has been influenced by the establishment of the Australian owned company Chinaclimb in 2001. Other companies that have contributed include Karstclimber, X-Climber and Spiderman Climbing.
There are around 200 routes documented in the current edition of the Paul Collis Yangshuo climbing guidebook, a number that continues to grow almost daily. The majority of these routes have been established by visiting foreign climbers or expatriates residing close by. While most routes are single-pitch bolted sport climbing routes, a growing amount of multi-pitch sport routes are beginning to appear as climbers venture above the first anchor. There is also great potential for traditional climbing.
There are numerous locations to climb around the Yangshuo region, with most easily accessible either by hiring a bicycle, public bus or taxi-van. The most famous of these crags is Moon Hill with several 5.13 graded lines first climbed by American Todd Skinner in 1992. Other crags of note include Low Mountain, Twin Gates, Baby Frog, The Egg, Bamboo Grove and Wine Bottle cliff. All of these are well documented in Paul Collis' guidebook available in most climbing shops in Yangshuo