Yangshuo Day 03 – Pantao Hill

Yangshuo - Day 01 & 02 : Treasure Cave
Yangshuo - Day 03 : Pantao Hill
Yangshuo - Day 04 : Chicken Cave
Yangshuo - Day 05 : Moon Hill
Yangshuo - Day 06 : Xingping
Yangshuo - Day 07 : White Mountain

Pantao Hill

Pantao Hill is a karst tower that overlooks the town of Yangshuo, and affords amazing views of the town nestled cosily in-between the hills. The hike up to the peak makes for a nice and short excursion, and gives your climbing muscles some time to recover. The path itself can be quite tedious to locate as there are no signs that point the way, but you shouldn't have too much trouble if you follow the directions below.

Getting There

Make your way to Pantao Road, and start walking westward towards the market. Once you are past the market you should see a blue sign that says 'Tianma Xiang'. Turning left at the alley next to the Postal Savings Bank of China will bring you to the base of the hill and the trail head, but before you get there you will need to meander a little through smaller alleyways that will gradually make their way uphill. If at all uncertain, just be sure to ask people for directions to the hill. Most of the locals will know exactly why you are there.

Difficulty Rating : 1.8 / 10.0 (Class 1 - Extremely Straightforward)

*Click here to learn more about the difficulty rating.

**Despite the incline, the rating for the terrain was reduced due to the stairwell that leads to the peak

Elevation Profiles

Elevation profile comparison between Pantao Hill, Moon Hill, and Laozhai Mountain. Analysis done with GPS Visualizer

We woke up early that morning, eager to start the day, but to our dismay we found that it was raining once again. We ended up waiting it out and only leaving around 10:00. Before we set off to the trail head, we made sure to head out and get bao (Mandarin: 包, CNY4) for a late breakfast. We made our way to the market along Pantao Road and cut in to the back alleys, gradually pushing further and further in towards the rock. We passed a fair number of people, most of whom seemed fairly amused to see us for some reason. Perhaps it was because it had started to drizzle once again.

Beginning of the stairwell

We eventually arrived at the stone stairwell that ascended up the hill. The drizzle had turned into rain by now and small rivulets of water were sent cascading down the steps. We began the climb with our heads bowed low to escape the rain, and followed the path past the many switchbacks. Each time we glanced to look out over the town of Yangshuo, we found that the thick mist had resolutely shrouded the views from us. We could however, focus on the small things next to and under us: the caterpillars, spiders, bees, and butterflies; as well as the occasional gravestone and random signs such as "Important machinery, no visitors" that were etched into the rock.

The slippery stairwell; one of many door snails (Tropidauchenia sp.) that were attached to the rocks

Before we knew it, we had reached the gate at the top of the hill, and the climb had only taken us 30 minutes at an easy pace. The low-lying clouds had completely rolled in by then and had obscured everything, so instead of entering the gate and paying the CNY10 that the caretaker was asking for, we decided to wait for a short while to see if the clouds would clear. They didn't.

The rain had stopped by the time we began the decent, but the stairwell was still wet and slippery. The drone of cicadas (Family : Cicadidae) all around us would ebb and flow, slowly building up before easing off once again. The mist slowly dispersed as we made our way down, and revealed a wonderful view of the countless karst towers that hugged the town of Yangshuo and the Li River way down below.

By the time we reached the base of the hill, we had already decided that we were going to head up the hill once again for the sunset. But for now, were eager to dig in to a late lunch of rice with stir fry (CNY13)!

The view of Yangshuo way down below

Route Playback

Suunto Movescount Stats

Download GPX file here (right click and save link as)

Next : Yangshuo Day 3 (Part 2) - Pantao Hill (Sunset)