Itinerary in brief:
- 1 night Ping'an
- 5 nights Yangshuo
Day 1: Arrive in Guilin
On arrival you will be met and transferred to the Huangluo Yao Village, located around 85kms from Guilin (approx. 2 hours).
The village is inhabited by people of the Red Yao minority, and the Yao women are characterised by their long black hair which (according to tradition) they aren’t allowed to cut until they are 16. Once they reach 16 they’re deemed ready to find a husband, so their grandmother will keep the cut-off hair ready to give to the family of the girl’s future husband. The most recent competition to find the girl with the longest hair resulted in finding a woman whose hair was 1.75m in length!
After walking in the village you’ll continue on another 20kms along a very windy road to Ping’an, a 600 year old village populated by the Zhuang minority – passionate about song and theatre! At 17 million in number, the Zhuang’s are the largest minority in China. Depending on your arrival time you may take a walk climbing towards the highest point of the village.
Day 2: Onwards to Yangshuo
After breakfast you will depart on a 4 hour walk, covering the ‘Dragons Backbone’ (Longji), one of the most beautiful stretches of rice terraces in the country.
Today the region looks like a succession of hug staircases, along which various small villages sit. You’ll pass through several of these, offering stunning panoramas of the surrounding area. Locals worked tirelessly over the past century to sculpt these mountains to grow rice, sweet potatoes and tea; the high point is at an altitude of over 1000m.
Note: The rice paddies are saturated in water, which is part of the cultivation process. During December-March snow and fog can spoil the amazing spectacle, so travel is not advised during these months.
Continue on to Yangshuo afterwards, a journey of around 160kms, a 3 hour drive.
Day 3: Yangdi to Xingping
After breakfast you will travel to Yangdi, around 1 hours drive away, to begin a 16m walk taking you between 5 and 6 hours. You’re required to cross the Li River on 3 occasions – you’ll take a ferry for this!
Lunch is provided at the home of a local en-route.
The route ends at Xingping, an ancient village known for its old Ming and Qing Dynasty houses and for its market (held every 3 days) where you will find amongst other things, cockerels and geese for sale. The village is surrounded by “sugar loaf Mountains” with names such as “Five-Finger Hill” and “Camel Hill” which supposedly resembles a camel crossing the river.
The day will finish with a performance by villagers from nearby Mushan, acting out scenes of rural life and showcasing traditional values all set amongst the amazing backdrop of the karst countryside.
Day 4: Yangshuo
After breakfast you will transfer to the start point of todays cycling to collect bikes and meet your guide.
There are two course options, both are suitable for all levels of rider and are between 40-60kms depending on our choice of route, stops and detours!
The first option takes you towards the village of Baisha bordering the Yulong River, you will cross the 400 year old bridge and ride along the river alongside orchards where orange, mandarin & chestnut trees grow before either returning to Yangshou or continuing further south towards Moon Hill which offers spectacular views of the surrounding areas.
Alternatively you can cycle towards Mushan. Mushan is 500 years old and is of interest in the study of Feng Shui as its layout follows the ‘8 Trigrams of Taoism’. From there you will follow the Li River to the fishing village of Liugong, known for its ancient houses and ‘three coloured pools’ Liugong has been around for 800 years. You can then return to Yangshuo via Moon Hill.
Following your bike trip you will be collected from Yangshuo and returned to your hotel.
Day 5: Yangshuo
Today you will be collected and taken to the cooking school located in the Yangshuo countryside.
Classes begin at 09:30am (or 10:30 in the winter months) and last for four hours. You will be taken to a local market to choose your required ingredients before taking part a group class in how to cook your chosen Chinese dish. There are two menus and all the necessary equipment is provided. You even get to enjoy your delicious meal afterwards for lunch!
You will be returned to your hotel after lunch and the rest of the day is yours at leisure.
Day 6: Yangshuo
Today you get to take part in a three hour climbing session. Depending on your ability the instructor will choose a site for your climb and will be there to help and advise throughout the climb. Sites are available for beginners right through to advanced and experienced climbers.
All that climbing will work up an appetite so afterwards you will taken to Yangshuo for lunch before heading to Yulong River for a bamboo raft cruise.
Day 7: Depart Guilin
Unfortunately your time in Yangshuo has come to an end.
You will collected by your driver in the morning and taken to Guilin to connect with your onward flight.