In the 1980s, the town became popular with foreign backpackers, and by the late 1990s, packaged tourists began arriving in greater numbers. At that time, domestic tourists represented only a small fraction, but soon outnumbered foreign tourists by a greater margin in 2005. Today, the town is a resort destination for both domestic and foreign travelers.
The history of West Street dates back to over 1400 years ago. Since the street is popular with locals and foreigners alike, signs are written in both Chinese and English. Due to the relatively high number of foreign visitors, many locals speak some English unlike Chinese towns of its size.
The Yangshuo region has numerous locations for climbing, most easily accessible by bicycle, public bus or taxi-van. The most famous of these crags is Moon Hill with several 5.13 graded lines. Other crags of note include Low Mountain, Twin Gates, Baby Frog, The Egg, Bamboo Grove and Wine Bottle Cliff.
The picture on the back of the 20 yuan bill is taken at the Li River near Yangshuo.