The Yulong river valley, is one of Yangshuo‘s most scenic areas, famous for the Yulong river that meanders through a valley of rice paddies and farmlands, flanked by bamboo groves, with hundreds of karst mountain peaks as backdrop. Most popular activities in the Yulong river park are cycling through the rice paddies and farmlands, exploring the little farm villages and boarding a bamboo raft to enjoy the scenery in a most relaxing way on the Yulong river.
Over the years roads had become congested due to the explosion of hotels in the area and Chinese tourists driving in per car making the roads less safe and enjoyable. At the same time, the government had also looked for ways to monetise the popularity of the area and therefore applied to designate the area as a National Park. Several gates were constructed enclosing the area and on September 15, 2017, the government suddenly announced a new policy that shocked the Yangshuo tourism industry.
Car restrictions & entry fees
With the new regulations, anyone who enters the Yulong river park other than on foot or bike – including passengers in a taxi – to visit sights, engage in activities, or reach their hotel inside the park (read below), will need to get off at the gate and buy a ticket for a shuttle bus with an entrance fee of 20RMB (3.00US$/EUR) for a single entry/transfer to 60RMB (9.00US$/EUR) for a single day transit pass. The new policy restricts access for all motorised vehicles, not registered to locals residing inside the park, between 07:00 – 19:00.
This will have a major impact on travel within this area, ways you’ll be able to visit the sights and engage in activities like floating down the river on a bamboo raft but the travellers it will most affect are they who booked their stay in one of numerous hotels inside the Yulong river park.
Yulong river park Benefits & Challenges
Below is a map with the motorised vehicle restricted routes marked in red.
+ This new policy is great for travellers who stay in a hotel outside of the restricted area and who prefer to cycle inside the area.
+ With only locally owned and registered motorised vehicles inside the park, Yulong river valley will be a much quieter, safer and more relaxing place to cycle or walk through.
+ When you do board a raft – taken into account the affect this policy will have on the number of visitors to this area – the river will be much quieter and offer a more authentic and enjoyable experience.
– Moving around other than per bike or foot can be a time consuming process and difficult to plan ahead with shuttle buses that run off schedule and it may require several stopovers to get to your destination. This also counts for travellers staying in the area who would like to visit the center of Yangshuo known as the ‘West Street’ area that may require up to 3 stopovers depending on where your hotel is located. Just as with the subway, you might be close to your destination but it will depend on the bus routes how long the travel will be.
– Pick-ups and drop offs from / to the airport or any of the high speed train stations into the restricted zone will require a stopover at the gates. With a pick-up you’ll need to pay for an entry pass to get to your accommodation, either 20RMB on a large bus hopefully with a stop near your destination, or a private golf cart straight to your accommodation currently priced at 45RMB (7.00US$/6.00 EUR) per person. Drop offs will require a shuttle to a gate where a taxi could be waiting for you to take you to your destination.
Because of this, we currently can’t organise any direct train station or airport transfers to any of the hotels inside the park without one of our guides inside the park to help guests get on and off the public shuttles at the gate and their accommodation.
– Any visits to the majority of sights outside the area will require stopovers into taxis or local buses and shuttles back in. Each time you’d leave the area to visit nearby towns as Xingping, Stone Village, Fuli, Liugong, or sights as the Tea Plantation, Husband Mountain, or board a raft on the Li river with the most impressive karst scenery and the 20Y view, you’d need a pass to get back in the zone. We were informed 3-day passes are available for 180RMB (28.00US$/ 23.00EUR).
As a consequence we have an increasing amount of travellers who change their accommodation after 1-2 nights to a hotel located outside of the new ‘Yulong river park‘ because of the inconvenience and costs of getting in and out of the park.
Hotels inside the Yulong river park
For the above reasons we’d suggest to opt for a hotel outside of the park since you’re likely to visit the Yulong park by bike for a day or 2 without any inconvenience or costs associated and enjoy easy access to all other areas too.
We really regret having to discourage travellers to stay at one of the nice accommodations inside the park, however when travellers eventually regret their choice and decide to cancel their nights, it might be better they know this likely possibility in advance.
Most popular hotels in the zone are, in alphabetical order:
Dragon River Retreat – Endape Hotel – Giggling Tree Guesthouse – Moon Nest Travelling With Resort – Mountain Nest Boutique Hotel – Old Manor House – Outside Inn Guesthouse – Phoenix Pagoda Fonglou Retreat – Tea Cozy Hotel – The Apsara Lodge – Yangshuo Ancient Garden Boutique Hotel – Yangshuo Coco Garden Hotel – Yangshuo Eden Garden Hotel – Yangshuo Moondance Hotel – Yangshuo Mountain Retreat – Yangshuo Resort – Yangshuo Scenic Mountain Retreat – Yangshuo Zen Garden Resort – Zen Box House
If you have already made your reservation with a hotel within the zone, and you think these measurements could affect your experience, better to contact your accommodation as they might have convenient alternatives for you. If you opt to stay outside of the zone, our Yangshuo accommodation page showcases the top 3 recommended accommodations in Yangshuo, now all located outside of the Yulong river park.
Due to the flexibility we offer you to book any transfer instantly through our booking engine we can’t possibly create a different price between any of the hundred accommodations within the park and each sight/activity outside the park, nor the other way around, so we can’t possibly include these shuttle transfers automatically into all itineraries. Please inquire from beforehand or, if you have just booked a tour that crosses the gates per car, we will immediately inform about the most convenient ways to do your tour and any of the above mentioned cost that may apply. As always, if you feel any of the proposed alternatives isn’t entirely satisfying for you, you are free to receive a full refund within 24 hours after our confirmation.
If you have booked a tour with us through our online booking engine that crosses the gate, you will hopefully have read about this possibility under the tour description, but in case not, we will get in touch with you to confirm this.