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Yangshuo (阳朔) Posted by on Jan 3, 2012 in Culture

There is a saying in Chinese that goes, “Guilin’s scenery is the finest under Heaven” (桂林山水甲天下 – guì lín shān shuǐ jiǎ tiān xià), and for good reason. Located in Southern China in Guangxi Province (广西省 – Guǎng xi shěng), the beauty of Guilin has been inspiration for artists, poets, and musicians alike for thousands of years. While the city of Guilin is certainly a worthy stop if you are traveling to China, an even better idea is to head a little south of the city to Yangshuo County (阳朔县 – Yáng shuò xiàn). Surrounded by stunning karst (岩溶 – yán róng) mountains and two rivers, this little town is a thriving tourist destination, with plenty of hotels, restaurants, and shops. Spending a few days in Yangshuo can be the icing on the cake of an already incredible trip to China. Sure, the bright lights of Beijing and Shanghai are great, but you can’t beat the natural beauty of Yangshuo. By day, go cycling through the Chinese countryside, hike up the Moon Hill (月亮山 – yuè liàng shān) to take in stunning views of the surrounding mountains, soak in a natural hot spring in the Moon Water Cave (水月洞 – shuǐ yuè dòng), do some rock climbing (攀岩 – pān yán), and then swim in the river to cool off. By night, feast on delicious beer fish (啤酒鱼 – pí jiǔ yú), go out with a local fisherman to observe the art of cormorant fishing (鸬鹚捕鱼 – lú cí bǔ yú), and then take in the jaw-dropping performance of Impression Liu Sanjie (印象刘三姐 – Yìn xiàng liú sān jiě).

Part Two of my video series about my trip to Yangshuo.

Yangshuo is easily reachable by bus from Guilin, or if you are more adventurous and have a little more kuai to throw around, you can cruise the Li River (漓江 – Lí jiāng) all the way there and back. As Han Yu, a Tang Dynasty poet once wrote, “The river forms a green gauze belt, the mountains are like jade hairpins.” In fact, the scenery of the Li River is known all across China, as it was the inspiration for the back of the 20 yuan note.

The town of Yangshuo is very tourist friendly, so you won’t have any troubles arranging your days full of fun when you get out there. The Tripper’s Carpe Diem hostel located just outside of the town comes highly recommended, as it’s in a nice, quiet location, has great food (and Belgian beer), and the staff are incredibly helpful and friendly. I traveled to Yangshuo back in June 2011 with my brother, and it was hands-down the best trip I’ve taken in China. If you can’t make it all the way to Yangshuo yourself, here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.

The view from Tripper’s Carpe Diem guesthouse.

 

Ready to head out and explore.

 

The beautiful Yangshuo countryside.

 

My brother, Pip, atop the Moon Hill.

 

The Moon Water Cave, where we played in the mud and then soaked in a hot spring.

 

Rock climbers in Yangshuo.

 

Bamboo rafts cruise the river all day.

 

Beer duck and Yangzhou fried rice.

 

These clever birds are excellent fishermen.

 

The town all lit up at night.

 

Cruising down the Li River.

The famed scenery on the back of the 20 yuan.

 

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.


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