In the south of China, a 90 minute bus ride from the city of Guilin, is the beautiful town of Yangshuo. I visited back in 2011 (which honestly feels like last year to me!) and I loved it. It’s a large town but not a city (certainly not by Chinese standards) that sits on the Li River. To say it’s pretty is an understatement. There are these hills all around the area as well as in the town, and the roads weave around.
I had a wonderful guesthouse to stay in where they did three meals a day for the residents, and the owner was a very genuine and warm guy. Taught the people staying there to play Mahjongg. Good food and company is this gorgeous place.
What was there to do? Well, there is a cultural show which apparently is a must-see, however, I didn’t get to see it because the night I was booked in for it, it was pouring down with rain and as it was outside, it got cancelled. And yes, rain can be an issue. But don’t let that deter you from visiting my favourite place in China.
Get yourself a bike, a map, some water and some sun protection because you could spend a few days just riding around the gorgeous countryside. Out there bicycles are still a preferred way of getting around and there are so many tracks and small roads to explore through the hills, the rocks and the farmland.
I found my way down to the Silver and Water caves a few kilometres out of town. This was a very interesting tour I took through the caves, mostly by boat from memory. Everything is lit up in different colours. They are extensive cave systems and it is worthwhile, but at the same time it’s extremely busy and packed with people taking selfies. The caves are done up in colours and designs rather than left to show their natural beauty. But that’s okay. That’s how tourism is done in China.
Then of course, I had to explore the Li River. I started by taking a bus out somewhere and beginning a hike along the river. It was pretty sweaty out there, I met another solo traveler and we hiked a bit together until we reached a point where we took a bamboo raft. There are countless bamboo rafts on the river and waterways around Yangshuo. It seems like THE compulsory tourist experience.
It was pleasant and cooler on the river, and there was plenty of waving to be done to other visitors. Most are Chinese. And there are lots of smiles, it’s a very special place for the people visiting. Then it’s off further down the river with everyone else from the small rafts to the bigger boats. And a minibus back to town. With a special stop off – there’s a spot on the river where they got the picture for the 20 yuan note, and everyone wants a photo there. Ahh well, it’s a very pretty spot indeed!
And basically, for me, that covers my exploits in this beautiful spot in Southern China. If you’re in the region, well, you simply must go! G90 minutes by bus from Guilin which is an overnight train ride from Shenzhen (just on the Chinese side of Hong Kong). Thanks for reading – May the Journey Never End!