Yangshuo is a county in Guangxi Province near the city of Guilin. The area is popular because of its karst peaks and beautiful scenery. We reached Yangshuo is by taking a river cruise on a bamboo raft from Guilin down Li River. Visually, it’s an incredible experience. The color of the water and the reflection of the peaks are surreal.
Streets in Yangshuo still preserve their ancient layout dating 1000 years back. The town of Yangshuo is popular with tourists and the locals have responded with a variety of hotels, bike rental shops, souvenir markets, and food stalls with local delicacies. Whatever the town lacks in authenticity, it makes up for in its surrounding natural beauty.
Hiking and biking are popular activities in Yangshuo. We climbed the nearby Moon Hill, unique for its natural arch and semicircular hole in the middle. Although I found the hike challenging, I was amazed at the local vendors that kept up the pace in the hopes of selling us refreshments once we reached the peak. The climb is worth it because the views from the top are impressive.
On our second day in Yangshuo, we explored the area by bike. We wound through the country side and watched hunched women and men work the rice fields. To me this is what “real” China is all about, the China in my dreams anyway. On the way back we were lucky to get a ride from a local who carried us and our bikes in the back of his truck.
Despite being a popular tourist destination, Yangshuo still offers a glimpse into what rural China is all about. Locals are pretty laid back and you can wander around and get a good sense of how people here live. The area is safe and you can let you guard down and enjoy the beauty of the place.