It's worth touring this part of southern Guanxi by bike to get a unique perspective on the spectacular landscapes and cuisine. GETTING THERE The best time to visit Yangshuo is from March to December. Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon (both at cathaypacific.com) fly from Hong Kong to Guilin
non-stop. Air Asia (airasia. com) flies from Kuala Lumpur to Guilin non-stop. China Southern (csair.com) flies from Bangkok to Guilin via Nanning. Seventy-two-hour transit visas are available on arrival for certain passport holders with restrictions, otherwise visas must be secured in advance. www. iatatravelcentre.com. Hotels can offer private car transfers from Guilin to Yangshuo or Longsheng for approximately RMB300 to RMB900 each way. They can also organize day trips to Longsheng from Yangshuo for RMB900 to RMB1,200 round-trip. S TAY Banyan Tree Yangshuo Villas and suites here offer mountain and river views. banyantree.com; doubles from RMB3,000. Secret Garden This boutique hotel is set within a restored Qing Dynasty courtyard house. yangshuosecretgarden.com; doubles from RMB400. Li-An Lodge Combining Chinese tradition and modern luxury, this all-wood hotel overlooks the Longji rice terraces. lianlodge.cn; doubles from RMB1,450. Yangshuo Mountain Retreat This eco-lodge is set along the Yulong River. yangshuomountainretreat. com; doubles from RMB700. EAT+DRINK Bai Yun Banyan Tree's signature restaurant offers Guangxi and Canton recipes. banyantree.com; dinner for two from RMB500. Guilin Rice Noodle Cultural Center This is the place to find fresh rice noodles made the traditional way. 1 Dieciu Jie, Yangshuo; 86-773/881-8813; two from RMB80. meal for Qing Feng The lobby lounge at Banyan Tree has cocktails with a view. banyantree.com; drinks for two from RMB200. The Secret Garden Restaurant A seasonal menu that uses fresh produce from daily markets. yangshuosecretgarden.com; dinner for two from RMB120. Yangshuo Mountain Retreat Try authentic local dishes at the riverside restaurant—the hotel's Bamboo Bar is also on the Yulong River. yangshuo mountainretreat.com; dinner for two from RMB140; drinks for two from RMB70. ACTIVITIES The next Yangshuo Bike Festival is May 24–29, 2019. Optional pre-festival ride from Longji runs May 21–24. yangshuobike festival.com; US$450; pre-festival ride US$580, or US$900 combined; includes transfers, hotels, food, bikes and activities; excludes flights. Most establishments in Yangshuo offer bike rental. Year-round Yangshuo bike tours are offered by Bike Asia (bikeasia.com; private tours from US$50 per day).
Yangshuo Cooking School offers morning and afternoon classes. yangshuocookingschool. com; RMB200 per person. Hire private guide Terry Li to take you off the main path around Yangshuo. 86-1387/737-9863.
The Longji Rice Terraces have an entry fee of RMB100 for the county (if you're attending the Yangshuo Bike Festival, this is already included). Ping'An village has a parking base and visitors must ascend by foot. Sedan chairs are available for a negotiated fee and local women are employed to carry your bags to your guesthouse for about RMB50 per bag. Most hotels and guesthouses can arrange this. — L.C.