More about Li River Retreat
Wonderful Accommodations and Food
The Li River Retreat is absolutely wonderful. Our flight from Xian to Guilin was delayed by 5 hours, causing us to arrive at 2:00a.m. The driver from the Retreat waited for us at the airport to transport us for the one hour drive to Yangshuo. Staff at the hotel enthusiastically greeted us at 3:00 a.m. and made sure that we were comfortable before retiring for the evening. The Li River Retreat is in a beautiful location. When we awoke in the morning after our long night, we were astounded by the scenery. The room was nice, the food was excellent, and the staff could not have been more accommodating. All of this at a very reasonable cost. Stay here - you'll be very pleased!
Great hotel, great staff
Yangshuo was the highlight of our trip to China, and the Li River Retreat was the perfect place to stay. What a great little hotel! The location, overlooking the Li River and the karst mountains, was both tranquil and stunningly beautiful. It's nice to get away from the craziness of West Street . It was a pleasant 15-20 minute walk into town, and we always seemed to see something interesting along the way. We saw a funeral procession while walking into town one morning, and we saw the comorant fishing boats out on the river while walking back one night. It's dark at night, but you can borrow a flashlight from the front desk. The food at the hotel's restaurant - both Chinese and Western - was really good, and we ended up eating most of our meals there while soaking up the view at the outdoor seating area. We had a room on the third floor with more great views from the balcony. One minor quibble was the shower - we had difficulty adjusting the temperature. What really made our stay at the Li River Retreat, though, were the two young women at the front desk, who were always so cheerful and so helpful, as well as all the other friendly staff.
Great view and decor; Excellent value
Our deluxe double at the Li River Retreat was a bargain at 320 yuan a night. We had floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides offering great views of Yangshuo's uniquely-shaped limestone hills and the Li River. We also had two balconies from which to enjoy the view. The retreat is relatively new, very clean and nicely decorated. The bathroom is very attractive, although we had a hard time adjusting the water temperature in the shower which seemed to run either cold or extremely hot. The retreat and its sister establishment, the Buffalo Bar in central Yangshuo, are both owned by a very friendly gentleman named Alf. The retreat and the Buffalo Bar have the same menu; we found the food to be very good. Both establishments offer free internet access.
It is very hard to get to and from the retreat during the hours from noon until 4:00 pm (approximately) when an access street becomes a market jammed with vendors' stalls and crowds of tourists from the river cruises. We arrived during that timeframe and had to take motorcycle taxis to the retreat since car taxis could not drive through the crowd. (Even the narrow electric car taxis cannot drive the street during market hours.) The motorcycle drivers held our luggage in their laps as they honked their horns and aggessively forced their way through the crowd. Meanwhile we sat behind the drivers, holding onto their shoulders and trying not to fall off the bikes. One tourist, obviously mad at the motorcycle coming too close to her, reached out with her umbrella and hit my daughter on the head. Anyway, if possible, don't arrive during these hours.
Great hotel, even better scenery
I stayed at the Li River Retreat with my wife for a few days in September as part of a three week trip, and would highly recommend it.
The obvious advantage of the hotel over anywhere else in Yangshuo is that it is set right in amongst the breathtaking Karst scenery, overlooking the river, and the views from the rooms are fabulous.
We stayed in a deluxe room which sticks out from the end of the hotel, meaning that there are floor-to-ceiling views of the river and mountains on three sides. The room itself was clean and spacious, albeit not luxurious, and it had very efficient air conditioning (which would be invaluable if you were there in the heat of summer).
We found the staff to be very friendly and sweet, and most of the girls spoke decent English (a lot better than my Chinese!). I was particularly surprised by the food, which I found to be excellent, probably the best we had in Yangshuo. It helps of course that you are able to eat in on the terrace while enjoying the views (did I mention that they're great?).
Its secluded nature means that the hotel is a fair distance from Yangshuo, and I wouldn't recommend walking it unless you've got plenty of time on your hands. Far better to hire a bike (they can be hired at the hotel) and take a leisurely 5 minute ride into town, and then on into the beautiful countryside.
I'd heartily recommend this hotel to anyone going to Yangshuo - for my money it's infinitely nicer than any of the hotels within the town itself.
Wonderful Hotel, beautiful setting.
We arrived at Yangshou following an overnight stop over in Guilin so that we could enjoy a leisurely boat trip down the river from Guilin to Yangshou. What a wonderful start to our four days in Yangshou. It gives you a great first impression of how stunning the area is and made us look forward to finding out more about the area during our stay. We passed the Li River Retreat as we arrived at Yangshou Harbour and were pleased with our first impression.
Initially we were a bit worried that it appeared to be further out of town than we had thought, however this was not a problem and we were aware that it was not in town which is why we had booked it.
Alf, the owner met us at the dock as we called him when we had nearly arrived. Some people didn't seem to be aware that Alf would do this but it does state it on the booking confirmation. There is a daily market which means that cars cannot get to the Hotel until later in the day however this was not a problem and the Hotel deal with it very well. Our bags were left at the bar in town that Alf also owns and they were taken by car and put in our rooms a few hours later. We took a 20 minute walk with Alf who told us about the area and the Hotel which was really helpful.
Just at the bottom of the Hotel drive is a Bike rental place which was 20 yuan a day. The bikes were almost new and had shock absorbers which was much needed for our Countryside cycling! The road to town and back is perfectly fine for cycling and it takes about 10 minutes gently cycling to get back into town. The bikes can be left in Alf's bar which we did in the evening and then were able to cycle back later. Yes it is dark, however the front desk made sure we had a torch when we went out at night as it was a full moon we didn't need the torch and enjoyed the scenic ride by the river in the dark. If this does worry you and you think you will cycle every day, then my advice would be to pack a bike torch and put it on the bike. It really wasn't a problem for us though.
The Hotel was everything we hoped it would be. A really peaceful setting. Yes there is a little road between the Hotel and the River, however when you are enjoying the roof top view watching the sun set you really are not aware of it. A few things go up and down during the day but it is not a busy through road. All of the rooms have a view and most have balconies. We had a Deluxe room on the second floor, if I went back we would try to have a third floor room as were were aware of foot steps above us. However this is true of any Hotel as we experienced this in a 5* Hotel in Hong Kong!
The receptionists are wonderful. Always cheerful and happy to help with whatever was needed. They really add to the charm of the Hotel and they are not highly trained bland receptionists that are sometimes experienced in Hotels. They really seem to be enjoying themselves at the Hotel too which creates a very nice atmosphere.
Alf explained to us that the Hotel is fairly new and they are making improvements as time and money permits. The shower units and air conditioning units are fairly new and worked very well. The water temperature sometimes changed during the shower so watch out for that...... The rooms are well cleaned every day and had everything we needed in them. As others have said take a hairdryer though if you use one.
There is free internet use in the reception area which was nice to have and a well stocked drinks cabinet. I can highly recommend the banana milkshakes and we enjoyed the Great Wall white wine. My husband also enjoyed the local beer Tsing Tao. (This all made cycling back from town more interesting too!)
The breakfast was great, the fruit platter was huge and so fresh. My husband enjoyed the American breakfast with bacon eggs and toast to get him going plus orange juice and coffee.
I really can't think of much more the Hotel could do to make people feel welcome.
The bike trips we took into the countrysied were well worth doing. I mention this because I felt a bit nervous about doing this. Would we get lost...would people be friendly and would it be too strenuous ( I have not long had an operation from a mountain biking accident). I cannot recommend it highly enough though. If you like cycling it is a great way to get around in Yanhshou, with the map the Hotel gave us we did not get lost once. The trips we made were to half moon mountain which we then climbed, (816 steps was harder than the cycling but worth it for the amazing views)
Another day we took a bamboo raft trip down the river with our bikes and then cycled back through the countryside. This was wonderful. Children waved and said hello and then wet back to doing what they were doing, not chasing us for money as we have experienced in other countries. The farm workers just carried on with what they were doing, it was great to be able to really see day to day life away from the town. At a leisurely pace it is about a 2 hour cycle, completely flat but bumpy so make sure your bike has shock absorbers if you are going to do it.
We also took a bus trip to Xing Ping to have a break from cycling. the bus depot is in town and well worth visiting just to see what goes where and see the locals coming and going. It is very much a locals bus but we were made to feel very welcome. The trip was 50 yuan. We were hassled by very persistent women in Xing Ping trying to sell us bamboo trips. We weren't interested as we went back by bus having already travelled that part of the river on our initial journey in. We couldn't chake them off though which was irritating as we wanted to enjoy the setting in peace. Be careful if you do take a trip, a western couple who had just finished a trip warned us that they had been ripped off. What they thought was an hours trip turned out to be across to the other side of the river and back!! Make sure you know what you are getting!!
To summarise, A fantastic location, extremely friendly Hotel, great value and wonderfully relaxing place to be and many many interesting things to do. We hope to go back and see some more of the area and would not hesitate to stay at the Li River Retreat!
Fantastic view away from the town
One of the greatest assets of this hotel is its location which to some may be its greatest liability. The view is amazing. You can sit, eat dinner, drink beers or coffee and look onto magnificent karsts. It is very quiet unlike the hotels right in town. As previous people have said the hotel is a 20 minute walk from town and at times (btw 12-4) you cannot even take a taxi away from the hotel as the road is blocked by a market. So we had to leave quite early despite having a 5:30PM flight out of Guilin.
The rooms and bathrooms were very clean. Rooms were quite large. This hotel is less than 1 year old (I think) and they are still enlarging it. We highly recommend it, but bear in mind what you are getting into as far as its location. The staff which consisted of mostly young women were very friendly and enthusiastic.
We arranged a guided tour with a woman (Juan) who was excellent. Her e-mail is [--]
She would love more business. She will arrange whatever you like and at the end of the day you pay her for everything.
a genuine retreat
We stayed in the deluxe double room- simply amazing views on three sides of the room onto karst hills, the li river and the general countryside.
Room clean with A/C should you wish or large mosquito proof window frames if you want to go to sleep to the sound of insects.
Staff very friendly and willing to assist with matters like laundry/tours/ bike hire [recommended] etc at more or less the going rate.
Very competent restaurant on site, best food in the town in my experience. Certainly best dining room!
Location could be an inconvenience for some, but a) possible and strongly recommendable to hire a bike making the journey form town a quick one and b) during the hours of closure to vehicles any guests are likely to be out and about seeing some of the landscape that is the point of coming here in the first place and c) ability to drop bags off in their sister bar in town on arrival takes stress out of waiting to be brought to the retreat.
Against that the sense of seclusion from the madness of the town is well worth any inconvenience.
Would strongly recommend and if i ever find myself in this part of china again I will be making a return visit.
Not thaaat great but ok
We stayed there and its good value yet me beeing perfectionist...I was dissapointed that the river was not as near as it looks and a small street with noisy vehicles runs between hotel and river.Also you cannot really swim there.
We had a room just above the kitchen where you could always hear chatter and clutter.But food is good-breakfast isnt though.
Staff are sweet and hard working.Rooms are clean and pleasant.
Its away from the awful west street -you can walk or cycle there though if you must.
Liu Sanjie Light Show
We are visiting Yangshuo in September and wondered whether we need to get tickets for the light show before we come. Also, if we booked the C Area is the system that the earlier you come the nearer the front or are you allocated seats with your tickets. That is if you even get seats !!! Do you ??? Does anybody know how far away from the Li River retreat the Light Show is ? How long would it take to walk ? Thanks in anticipation of some replies. x
Re: Liu Sanjie Light Show
We went to the Light Show in April. As far as I can remember, wherever you sit you will be able to have a good view. Yes, you do get seats but they are VERY hard after a while!! I think the seats are allocated with the ticket. I also remember that it was quite buggy. Mixed reviews from our party - some liked it, some liked some of it, some were bored stiff, others were happy to go after half an hour! It doesn't exactly move along at a sparkling pace - I would have been happy to go after half an hour, as I found it very repetitive and slow. Still, it's an experience. Btw, the auditorium is very large and it took us ages and ages to find our way out 'cos there were so many people. A bit like leaving Wembley through one exit!! No idea how far the site is from the Li River Retreat but I do know there is a long drive in off the main road.