The town of Yangshuo is a tourist's paradise. Just 65km south and over an hour south of Guilin, Yangshuo, with its natural scenery and laid back air, is a great escape from the gray and pollution of China's big cities. Set amid gorgeous limestone pinnacles, Yangshuo is a very pleasant place to relax and explore the small villages in the countryside where you still encounter strong local flavor and feel real China.
The scenery along the Li River is simply indescribable. Its sparkling waters wind between spectacular peaks, bamboo forests, and cultivated rice paddies.
As the old saying goes , "Guilin's scenery is the most beautiful in the world, Yangshuo's scenery is far more superior to that of Guilin's".
Quirky souvenir shops and essential services like internet cafes, telecom services, food guzzling corners and pharmacies abound. Yangshuo town has flourished so swiftly that it is practically unrecognizable from the latest edition of whichever guidebook you own-new streets have sprouted up with shops offering all sorts of comfort food, the main thoroughfare has been widened to accommodate the growing volume of traffic. Clusters of shops selling herbs, teas and daily provisions line the inner alleyways.
A lively buzz hums throughout the cobbled streets. Young and old gravitate towards the chill-out joints, especially along West Street, a 2km stretch crammed with shops, pubs, cafes and guest houses. Here is where flickering neon lights have replaced red lanterns and the air is rich with band music and banter. No other place in China has this combination of natural beauty, comfortable hotels, good food, and shops.
This little county of some 300,000 inhabitants, comprised of various ethnic groups such as the Zhuang, Yao, Miao and Han, has blossomed since the Sui dynasty some 1,400 years ago. Glimpses of the rich cultural background can be seen in the many shops selling local products such as talcum, silk, huge wall fans, scrolls and exquisite pottery pieces.
Walking, biking, rafting or swimming are several ways to appreciate Yangshuo's charms. To beat the noonday heat, take a leaf from the village children frolicking in the clear river waters, often seen watching over a herd of buffaloes or wielding homemade fishing rods fashioned from bamboo. Explore the villages you will see rice paddies, bamboo groves, water buffaloes, plants, rivers and rocks.