For many climbers, relentless indoor training is a means to the end of sending coveted outdoor routes. Due to its proximity, Nyamuk is a favored destination for a weekend trip: Friday night to KL; Saturday Nyamuk; Sunday Camp 5 and back. Can Yangshuo can also be a weekend destination? Friday to Sunday may not be realistic, climbing wise, so let’s stretch it a bit from Thursday to Monday: Thursday and Monday for traveling, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for climbing. Our decision will be based mainly on MONEY, so let’s look at the costs involved (assuming we are traveling on a budget and with a climbing partner). We cover the basics, you add on the extras.
Air Ticket + Equipment Rental
A quick check on a low-cost airline’s website (prices fluctuate, do your own checking): Singapore to Guangzhou (return) without baggage – SGD 240; with 20kg baggage both ways – SGD 300. If you choose to go without baggage, you will have to rent rope and quickdraws in Yangshuo, approximately RMB 140/day; 3 days will be RMB 420 (SGD 90). By forgoing baggage, you get a light-load convenience. But to some, using other people’s equipment may not be to their taste. You decide.
From GZ airport, you take the metro to Guangzhou South Station, which costs less than RMB 10 (SGD 2) per pax. From GZ South Station, you take the 2.5hr Gaotie (highspeed) train to Yangshuo station. This route has more than 10 trains per day, starting from 0700hrs to 1730hrs. Cost: RMB 117 (SGD 24). From Yangshuo station, you take a 45 min bus ride (RMB 20, SGD 4) to Yangshuo town. And from here, you take a cab (around RMB 15, SGD 3) to Xijie, the heart of Yangshuo.
You will have to leave Yangshuo for GZ latest Sunday evening, stay in GZ for a night, and catch Monday’s morning flight. The same costs apply for the trip back from Xijie to Yangshuo Station and Yangshuo Station to GZ South Station.
(Transport sounds complicated because it is. After your first trip there, you’ll get the hang of it.)
To cut costs, we stay in inns instead of hotels. The average price is RMB 128 (SGD 28)/room/night. 4 nights (per person) will cost SGD 56.
Factor in RMB 250 (SGD 50)/room/night for a budget hotel in GZ.
Breakfast costs RMB 20 (SGD 4) for a bowl of noodles. Same amount for water and lunch snacks during climbs. Dinner can be settled for the same amount, but if there is a hongdianfan (redpoint dinner), you may want to reserve more, say, RMB 60 (SGD 12.50). Based on these metrics, total food expenses will work out to RMB 350 (SGD 70). Add RMB 50 (SGD 10) for GZ dinner.
Scooter is the easiest way to travel around in Yangshuo. Rental starts from RMB 100 (SGD 20)/day.
Expenses summary (per person)
– Air Ticket: SGD 240
– Equipment rental: SGD 45
– Train and bus: SGD 80
– Accommodation: SGD 80
– Food: SGD 80
– Scooter: SGD 30
– Extras: Shopping? Cab/private transport instead of public transport? Allocate more for food?
Total: around SGD 560 + Extras
The biggest risk is the unpredictable weather. You can get 3 climbing days, or maybe 2, maybe 1, or not at all. It will help if you are a Stoic.
With the costs, all worked out, and assuming that you have the leave available to make this Thursday-Monday trip, the next thing you have to consider: Is it worth it? If there is a route that you have been working on and you are close to sending it, then it may be more than worth it. If you are new to the sport and want to get an idea of what Yangshuo is like, then it can be worth it too. If you are a lazy climber who places more emphasis on eating, partying, and sight-seeing, but, at the same time, climbing has to be attempted for Instagram purposes, then it definitely is worth it.
A long weekend trip to Yangshuo may become the “in” thing. Will you do it?
P.S.: Avoid holidays like CNY and Labour Day. There will be millions of people traveling during these times. Transportation will be drastically affected (you may not even be able to get train tickets) and you will be paying a fortune for accommodation. And when you pay big bucks, it sucks!