As well as frequent downpours, Yangshuo’s subtropical climate brings with it 35+ degree temperatures and 85%+ humidity on a daily basis. Whilst a 5-minute rain shower might cool the town down for a couple of hours, allowing you to enjoy sitting outside for a short while, locals and expats must learn to survive this tropical weather, unless you fancy sitting in an air-conditioned room during your time in Yangshuo. How do the locals manage? And what are some top tips for getting cool in the midday heat?
1. Go for a swim
Yangshuo is surrounded by two rivers, the Li River and the Yulong River, so you’re always close to a water source suitable for swimming. The Yulong river is the nicest one to swim in since it’s often cleaner, and much quieter. There are no motor boats on the Yulong, which is slightly smaller than the Li river. This means fewer crowds, tourists, and pollution to have to deal with. A quick bike ride out of town and you can find yourself a private spot by the river to jump into and cool off. After heavy rains, the rivers are often brown and not fit for swimming. Make sure to go on a clear day a few days after a strong downpour.
2. Rafting/Tubing/Bamboo raft cruise
There are several ways to enjoy the cool of the river if swimming is a bit too tame for you. Get yourself a group of friends, a tube, find a good spot on the river, and you’re off. There are no tours that offer this since it’s not exactly an activity offered in Yangshuo, but it’s easy enough to get together if you’re up for it.
You can also head a bit out of Yangshuo to enjoy a river rafting experience. There are plenty of outdoors companies in the area which will set you back about 150 RMB.
If you want to be on the river with as minimal effort as possible, catch a bamboo raft from Dragon Bridge on the Yulong river and enjoy the magnificent views of the surrounding karst mountains.
3. Bike ride
A ride on the scooters is a sure-fire way of getting out in the open and the wind flowing through your hair. There are numerous bike rides throughout Yangshuo, but you can just as easily hop on a bike and head to wherever your wheels take you. It’s hard to find a bad place to go for a ride and you’ll almost always be amazed at what you find. Head up into the mountains to reach those cool breezes, or stop off at a local village to pick up something to eat or drink in the shade.
4. Indoor activities
If you want to fully escape the heat and the sunshine, there are a few, limited things you can do in Yangshuo. There are countless restaurants equipped with air-conditioning, and many bars that the locals hang out in, such as DMZ. Lots of bars also come with entertainment such as Foosball, beer pong, or karaoke. Bar/club Mojo’s even has its own rooftop garden and small pool if you fancy a dip with your drink.
Yangshuo center also has a few KTV karaoke places where you can enjoy the air-conditioning, private room to chill out in, drinks, and an endless number of songs. As well as KTV, Yangshuo also has a cinema with pretty decent screenings of Western films, as well as Chinese ones.
Because of Yangshuo’s landscape, it is also home to numerous caves, including Butterfly Caves. Caves are usually much cooler and definitely something cool to explore whilst you’re out and about. This can also be combined with a bike ride out of the town.
If you’re around the town center and just need a quick cool down, a quick walk down West Street provides numerous outlets for a quick sit down and refreshing beverage. A favorite with tourists and expats is the Mango juice chain, offering various types of mango and fruit smoothies. This is a local chain and it is hard to walk a few meters without seeing one. Other local items are fresh coconut milk on ice, freshly made soy milk, and various other juices.
Whatever you’re up to in the heat, it’s important to make sure you’re drinking enough and keeping hydrated, especially if you’re not used to a hot and humid climate. Eating salty snacks is also a good idea to help replenish all the salt lost during sweating. This is particularly important if you’re doing something like swimming or a bike ride when you’re out in the heat all day but not feeling it so much. Yangshuo’s sun rays also appear to be the type that doesn’t allow you to burn easily – this doesn’t, however, mean that the rays aren’t harmful. Make sure to apply sun cream every day, or you could even combine your daily mosquito repellent spray routine with a 2-in-1 spray.