The nearest rail and air connections are in Guilin, but tickets can be purchased here from CITS. From the bus station on Pantao Lu, buses depart for Guilin (70 min. travel time) but leave at least 2 hr. before your train departs to allow for traffic in Guilin; ¥15 every 10 to 15 minutes from 7:30am to 8pm.
Tip: Ignore the touts that yell out "Guilin" as you approach the station. Instead go into the station and buy a ticket for the official bus which has much more leg room and is non-stop. Direct buses with very poor reputations for safety run to Guangzhou (8 hr.; ¥150) at 10am, noon, 4pm, and 10pm; and to Shenzhen (10 hr.; ¥180) at 5:30pm and 9pm.
Taxis from Guilin (your hotel in Guilin can arrange this) will make the trip in an hour at a cost of around ¥250 to ¥300. If heading straight to Yangshuo, call ahead and your hotel can arrange a taxi for between ¥160 and ¥180.
Getting out of Yangshuo is less convenient. Although there is a fast new road to the airport, there are no direct bus services, so that local taxis can maintain their monopoly on this route. It's certainly not good from an environmental perspective; we hope that this situation will change soon.
From the bus station on Pantao Lu, buses depart for Xingping (1 hr.; ¥6.50 every 15 minutes from 6am to 7:30pm); for Fuli (20 min.; ¥10 every 15 minutes from 6am to 7:30pm); and for Gaotian (a half-hour; ¥10 every 15 minutes from 6:30am to 7pm). Yangshuo's main thoroughfare is the cobblestone pedestrian street Xi Jie (West Street), also known as Yangren Jie (Foreigner's Street). It runs from Pantao Lu to the Li River boat docks and is where the bulk of travelers' cafes, shops, and basic guesthouses are clustered. The town itself is small enough to be traversed by foot in less than an hour. Bikes are the best means of getting to outlying sights and are available for rent for ¥10 per day at many Xi Jie cafes and hotels, as well as at the southern end of Xi Jie toward Pantao Lu. Motorcycle taxis, normally ¥3 for 3km (2 miles), will offer to take tourists out to Moon Mountain and nearby caves for ¥30, but be sure to agree on all the desired destinations and cost beforehand. Many places now offer electric bikes and motorbikes for rent.
Note: While West Street remains pretty much crime free (although this is due more to the threat of vigilantes than the organized security apparatus), not all of the town is so lucky. Groups of pickpockets are familiar sights up around the petrol station, and some of the newer Chinese hotels, where they employ long thin tweezers to remove valuables while their accomplices distract the victim. Be vigilant.
Tours & Guides
Unfortunately in Yangshuo, as in other tourist spots, a tour guide is simply someone who takes you to the most common sights where he can get the biggest commissions. Better to save your money and buy a good map. Rather than get steamrollered into a tour by some stranger you meet on the street, ask your hotel to organize something for you. Talk to Jasmine at the Magnolia Hotel, Alf at Buffalo Bar, or Angel at Mountain Retreat. Be aware that all specialist agents in Yangshuo are now charging a ridiculous booking fee of ¥50 for train and plane tickets, so plan ahead and arrange to get these yourself.
The friendly Yangshuo Luyou Zixun Fuwu Zhongxin (Yangshuo Tourism Information Service Center) just south of the bus station on Pantao Lu (tel. 0773/882-7922) can answer basic questions on accommodations, local sights, and tours.
Banks, Foreign Exchange & ATMs -- The Bank of China is located at the beginning of West Street opposite the Paradise Hotel. Forex hours are Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm and this is just one of many 24-hour ATMs in town.
Internet Access -- Internet access is available at most cafes, and Wi-Fi users should be able to find a few unsecured nodes just about wherever they are in the town.
Post Office -- The post office (9am-9:30pm) is at Pantao Lu 28 and usually has at least one English speaking staff member.
Visa Extensions -- The unhelpful and unpopular Inspector Bing at the Yangshuo PSB office at Chengbei Lu 39 tells foreigners to go to Guilin to renew their visas.