Take a raft down its beautiful crystal-clear rivers, cycle past its mystical mountains, picturesque paddy fields, and be enchanted by its spectacular Karst scenery and bizarre rock formations.
Voted the most beautiful city in China, the famous saying, “Guilin shan shui jia tian xia”, (meaning Guilin’s mountain and water scenery is the best under heaven) is no overstatement by any measure.
Yangshuo, Guilin, has become a magnet for both locals and foreigners alike, and has a perpetual holiday atmosphere about it. Yangshuo has become something of an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of urban living. Be it traversing the local countryside by bike, rock-climbing, or exploring Karst caves, or even just sipping a pot of tea or coffee in a sidewalk café, there is plenty to do.
Listed as one of the World’s Top Ten Watery Wonders by America’s National Geographic Magazine, the Li River is like artist’s dream, attracting poets, painters and famous people through the centuries. Take a cruise or a bamboo raft down the untouched, pristine waters and let your eyes feast on the glorious wonders of Mother Nature.
After a lovely rafting experience, take a good lunch at the quaint This Old Place Cafe, at Xingping, a quaint little town a few kilometers upstream on the Li River. (Walk up the main street from the waterfront until the first intersection – take the left and then the first right). Known for its warm and welcoming staff and unique bistro ambience, it serves sumptuous local cuisine. There is also an international youth hostel linked to it, by the same name.
Alternatively, you can rent a bicycle to visit Elephant Trunk Hill, Moon Hill and the Big Banian Tree.
Elephant Trunk Hill is the symbol of the city of Guilin. It got its name because it looks like an elephant drinking water. The round opening that would be under the elephant’s trunk is known as Water-Moon Cave
A short distance from Fenglou village, Moon Hill is huge slice of rock with a round hole in its center. At various angles it resembles from the new moon to a full moon. With 14 rock-climbing routes, Moon Hill caters to both amateur and professional climbers. The region around Moon Hill is uniquely spectacular, due to its peculiar formation.
Withstanding wind and rain over centuries since it was planted during the Sui Dynasty (581-618), the Big Banian Tree was made famous by the beautiful love story from a Chinese film. Measuring 7 meters (about 23 feet) in width and 17 meters (about 55.8 feet) in height, catch the chance to spend an enjoyment afternoon having a picnic under its lush foliage.
Very much unlike typical Chinese towns, Yangshuo does not suffer from endless traffic chaos and pollution. With its reputation as a vacation town, Yangshuo is tranquil, very clean, and a popular village for many independent travelers.
Take a trip to West Street and enjoy the laidback bars, cafes and vibrant nightlife of this small but romantic town.
While at Yangshuo, be sure not to miss the spectacular lights show, Impression Liu Sanjie (meaning “Third sister Liu, heroine of old Chinese story). Choreographed by Zhang Yimou, the 2008 Beijing Olympics grand opening ceremony, it features a cast of over 600 wearing traditional Zhuang, Miao and Yao costumes.
Indeed, Yangshuo, Guilin, is full of natural beauty and historic treasures. With a history of more than 2000 years, the stunning landscape and terrain creates a kind of magic that is all its own. The strangely shaped hills, with the verdant vegetation ranging from bamboos to conifers together with crystal clear waters and wonderful caves make the city such an appealing destination
Images from photoshelter.com, visittourchina.com