Digital Nomads in China: A Guide to Yangshuo

Digital Nomads in China: A Guide to Yangshuo

Introduction

Working as a digital nomad in China gives you the freedom to work from anywhere. China has experienced rapid growth of digital nomads in the last couple of years thanks to fast Wi-Fi even in rural areas and also a very convenient way of living thanks to advanced technology. The most important question is, however, where should you stay and why? If you want to live a tranquil lifestyle in a friendly neighborhood surrounded by a beautiful landscape then Yangshuo might be just the place for you. Here’s the ultimate guide for digital nomads to Yangshuo.

Yangshuo-yulong-river
On the way to Yulong River, Yangshuo

Why Choose Yangshuo?

Yangshuo is a scenic town located in the heart of spectacular mountain ranges. Not too far from Guilin City, Yangshuo has been a popular tourist destination for years. The natural scenery attracts travelers, hikers, tourists, photographers, digital nomads from all around China and the world. Despite the small size of the town, Yangshuo offers many places to eat and to socialize and there are many places you can go to work on your laptop. The locals are very friendly and the town is quite safe. 

yangshuo-county
A view of West Street, Yangshuo

Digital Nomads in China

Some of our students who may not identify themselves as digital nomads, but have used Yangshuo as a background in their videos are Kevin a.k.a. Monkey Abroad, and Oli whose channel is Barrett on Youtube. They’ve enjoyed their time at Omeida and have documented their stay in Yangshuo on their channels. 

There are however digital nomads and remote workers who are currently in China and they share beautiful content on their social media platforms. Here are some of our recommendations. Scott and Ella’s YouTube channel Fragrant Mandarin. They live in Yangshuo and on their channel they document their travels and daily lives in China as digital nomads. Nico is active on YouTube and Instagram by showing cool and hidden places in Beijing and helpful travel guides to different cities in China. She managed to capture the beauty of Yangshuo Town and Guangxi Province on her channel during one of her visits to the southern part of China. Another account worth checking out is @cyncynti on Instagram. Cynthia and Jens (@envy4lens) share stunning photos and videos from their travels around China. Be sure to check them all out!

Omeida Chinese Academy runs a Partnership/Affiliate program. For every student who enrolls using the special discount code, our partners will get a commission. All they have to do is to promote and spread awareness about Omeida across their social media platforms.

yangshuo-students-activity
Omeida Students at Huixian Glass Fields

Study Chinese at Omeida

Have you worked as a digital nomad in China for a while but haven’t had the time to study Chinese? Well, now you can! If you want to study Chinese while exploring Yangshuo, Omeida Chinese Academy offers different types of Chinese Courses. The Standard Course includes three 45 min. lessons either in the morning or in the afternoon from Monday to Friday. If you prefer having more time on hand, there is the Part-Time Course which includes two to six 45 min lessons spread throughout the week for half a year to one year. This way you can roam around and enjoy nature while learning Chinese at a much-relaxed pace.

yangshuo-laptop-work
Ideal place to study or work in Yangshuo

Volunteering Program

Next, we have our Volunteering Program in case you do not plan to study Chinese. Let’s say you want to spend more time discovering Yangshuo, take photos and videos, meeting people, or just work on your own personal stuff, then volunteering at Omeida might be the perfect option. All you need to do is to volunteer on average 2 hours every day from Monday to Friday. A typical day would be 1 hour of English conversation (usually 1-on-1) with the English students and the rest depends on your interest or expertise, e.g. write blogs for the website, manage social media, assist the marketing team, etc. 

yangshuo-omeida-volunteering
Daily English conversation

Visa Assistance

Getting a visa is no easy task, especially during these uncertain times. However, Omeida Chinese Academy is always updated on the latest news and they have been helpful with visa assistance when needed. With years of experience assisting students from all around the world with their visas, they are more than happy to answer your questions.

omeida-reception
Anya, Amy, and Wency (from right to left clockwise)

How to Get to Yangshuo

Whether you have visited China before or it’s your first visit, it is fairly easy to get here. The closest airport to Yangshuo is Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (KWL) which is about 1 ½ hour by car. The closest train station is Yangshuo Train Station and three train stations in Guilin: Guilin Station (the closest of the three), Guilin North Station, and Guilin West Station. Another famous option, albeit slower, is to come to Yangshuo by boat from Guilin. The Li River Cruise is a highly recommended activity and the journey takes about four hours.

yangshuo railway station
Yangshuo Railway Station is located in Xingping Town

Living Cost in Yangshuo

The living cost varies in China depending on which city you’re in. For digital nomads who want to enjoy their time but not break their bank, Yangshuo would be a good choice as the cost of living is relatively lower compared to the bigger cities in China. That includes the price for food, housing, transportation, going out, and more. However, it can quickly become pricey if you eat out every day and only buy imported goods. Although Yangshuo is not as low-cost as Vietnam or Thailand, still it’s not far off. 

yangshuo west street
West Street, Yangshuo

Where to Stay in Yangshuo

Yangshuo’s landscape is picturesque with tall mountains and big paddy fields. There are a couple of areas in Yangshuo to choose from. Jima Village (骥马村, jìmǎcūn), West Street (Chinese; 西街, pinyin; xījiē), Xilou (Chinese; 戏楼, pinyin; xìlóu), and many more. Typically, the landlords offer long term contracts starting from 6 months to one year with a starting price at 600 RMB per month. Utility expenses such as water, electricity, and internet are not included in the rent. If you are interested in looking for a place to stay long-term we can try to help you find one.

What to Eat in Yangshuo

China is not all about fried rice and sweet and cour pork. The country has so much more to offer! Despite Yangshuo is a small town, it offers a handful of food choices thanks to it being a tourist town. If you are adventurous then you can try Yangshuo specialties such as Guilin Rice Noodles (Chinese; 桂林米粉, pinyin; guìlínmǐfěn) and Beer Fish (Chinese; 啤酒鱼, pinyin; píjiǔyú) or you can enjoy more familiar cuisines such as Hot Pot (Chinese; 火锅, pinyin; huǒguō) and Barbeque (Chinese; 烧烤, pinyin; shāokǎo). You can grab a meal for as cheap as 12 RMB, but, of course, it might be more expensive if you opt for e.g. Western cuisine. 

yangshuo food guilin rice noodles
Guilin Rice Noodles, a simple yet filling popular meal in Yangshuo
yangshuo food oil tea
Oil Tea, a local specialty

Food in Yangshuo

Thanks to the subtropical climate, Yangshuo has an abundance of fresh produce throughout the year. There are several wet markets spread throughout the county where you can purchase fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, and so on. There are also big supermarkets located in West Street and Xilou. 

yangshuo market
Omeida teacher and students buying ingredients at a local market in Yangshuo

Price of SIM cards in China

Another necessary item for digital nomads is a SIM card. Not only are SIM cards affordable in China, but it’s also essential to have a Chinese number in order to get around and use Chinese apps. There are three main phone operators: China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom. It depends on the type of package you purchase, but the basic price is between 20-30 RMB.

How to Get Around in Yangshuo

Apart from hailing a taxi and calling a DiDi, most people rent a bike or a scooter in order to get around Yangshuo. If you plan to stay long-term then you can consider purchasing one instead. Yangshuo is also a great place to walk and hike because of the fresh, clean air. 

yangshuo bicycle
A bike ride in Yangshuo

Things to do in Yangshuo

If you love being outdoors then Yangshuo is the perfect place for you. The reason why so many Chinese and international tourists keep coming back to Yangshuo might be because of the spectacular scenery and the relaxing atmosphere. Many of our past students have revisited Omeida and have dubbed Yangshuo as their “second home”.

There are plenty of things to do in Yangshuo whether on a sunny or rainy day. The picturesque karst landscape will leave you in awe once you reach the top of TV Tower, the long winding Yulong River makes a perfect place to stroll for hours on end, and there’s an active rock climbing community here in Yangshuo. For those of you who want to hit the gym every now and then, there’s a well-equipped gym in Xilou called VSX. It offers a swimming hall, spinning classes, and much more. Omeida teachers and students go to the gym before or after classes.

yangshuo taichi
Students practicing Tai Chi
yangshuo bamboo rafting
Bamboo rafting in Yulong River

Cafés in Yangshuo

As a coffee lover, I have a lot to say on this topic. It has been my journey to search for cafés in Yangshuo and write about them. Whether you’re a remote worker, digital nomad, student, or traveler there are great cafés in Yangshuo where you can work or relax or both. Most of the cafés are more than just a shop that sells coffee and offers Wi-Fi. They’re surrounded by mountains or have a stunning view of the Li River. Either way, I hope there’s a café that’ll suit your needs.

Although Yangshuo is considered a countryside, it’s still a thriving place for coffee makers and drinkers. The closest café is just around the corner from Omeida Chinese Academy: Simple Peach. They recently moved into the previous building of Omeida. Their interior is modern and fresh, but their menu is probably the reason why the diners like to visit the café. If you want to sip a cup of coffee whilst looking out at the Li River then you can head out to Demo Restaurant & Bar. Then, we’ve got Zermo Café and Little Prince Café for those of you who are particular with your selection of coffee beans. Next on the list, there’s Sushe Café a bit further away from West Street. This place offers beverages and desserts, but the best of all is their wide space. You can bring your notebook or laptop and work there.

I’ve only mentioned briefly about the cafés in Yangshuo that I’ve been introduced to or I’ve discovered by myself. For more information about location, opening hours, prices, and Wi-Fi connectivity, please check our blog about Cafés in Yangshuo.

yangshuo café
Spring Café (春禾咖啡), Yangshuo
yangshuo café food
Cunshang Chunshu Café (村上春树), Yangshuo

Conclusion

I hope this guide for digital nomads in Yangshuo is helpful. Is Yangshuo an ideal place for a digital nomad? Absolutely, yes! The low cost of living, the unique landscape, and the slow pace of life might be what you’re looking for. Explore the beauty of Yangshuo step by step.