China > Guangxi > Joyous Yangshuo

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1-3 August, 2009

The town of Yangshuo is a revelation. Not only it is scenic – set in karst landscape on the bank of Li River – but its denizens also speak English! Well, workable English, definitely much much better than the Guilin folks. Discovered by backpackers ages ago, Yangshuo town has developed a western feel to it, and can be used as an excellent base to explore the incredible rustic and karst countryside surrounding it.

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YANGSHUO

It’s still hot and sticky as we leave the comfort of our room at the River View Hotel.
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The road in front of the hotel, Binjiang Rd, is deserted as people stay in the tree shades next to the river bank. The cool breeze from the Li River to the left is godsend. To the south, Green Lotus Peak dominates the sky. Three weeks ago, when the flood hit, this road was underwater with fish swimming around.
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Across the road from the hotel, a grand afternoon view of Li River. This is the sort of sight people come all the way to Yangshuo for.
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We gaze upstream, and below us, a fleet of motorised bamboo raft boats await renters to cruise the river.
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We stroll southwards along Binjiang Rd, in the direction of Green Lotus Peak, to enter a roadside bazaar, as a topless uncle reminisces the past.
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The road ends with a tunnel, and a dozing fruit seller, …
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… as we come to the Li River again.
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Below, a stream noisily empties itself into the river.
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Nearby an old fisherman with his pair of fish-catching cormorants sit pensively on their raft, waiting for visitors requesting to photograph, for a small fee of course. I guess this is better business than actually catching fish. Win-win-win for him and his two buddies.
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We return to Binjiang Rd, and turn into the famous West St, arguably the heart of Yangshuo town.
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Countless western-style eateries serving more palatable food for us, and they speak English too. :D
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The heat aside, strolling along West St is a very delightful experience. Click HERE to see West St now, live.
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Apart from selling stuff, there are many activities along this pedestrianised street, …
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… such as this ‘bird seller’.
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Even at West St, you can’t run away from the limestone hills, which virtually surround Yangshuo town like giant sentries.
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A stream runs right through this part of the town, and we cross it via a nice footbridge.
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Bright red lanterns attempt to bring colour to an otherwise drab waterway.
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The water flows slowly and the stream looks lethargic, but it is still quite photogenic.
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There’s even an eatery hanging above it, hosted by a white stickman.
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Yes, you can shop and walk and eat and drink till you drop here. No problem, accommodation is everywhere in this neighbourhood in case you collapse.
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Still along West St, these painted miniature glass containers are pretty and fascinating, and very artistic.
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Yes, the painting is done on the inside of the container, using a brush with fine bent bristles, and a very steady hand plus a brain which can work in reverse.
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Caricaturists also make a living here, and you can get your face done on the spot too, printed straight onto a T-shirt. Fancy wearing the Osama tee in Manhattan, or the Hitler one in Tel Aviv? And Yao Ming looks very sad.
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In a curio shop, Chairman Mao greets his comrade, General Secretary Stalin.
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Nearby, there’s a man-made lake, a major landmark to find McDonald’s and KFC next to it. To the right of the bridge, one finds 4-star Paradesa Resort, managed by a Malaysian company.
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They take English very seriously here, a credit to the people of Yangshuo.
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The sun is setting as we return to our hotel facing the Li River. The late afternoon sun casts a different hue onto the limestones.
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A couple of crazy guys are still having fun right in middle of the fast-flowing river, riding rubber tubes downstream. To stop, I guess they have to paddle to the bank, wherever that is.
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As light fails, the hardworking bamboo boats come home to roost.
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Nightfall, and I attempt to capture the full moon above the limestone hills and the Li River. No tripod, just handheld, not too dark I hope.
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Before retiring we take another stroll along West St. There’re neons and music and merrymaking everywhere to uplift everybody’s spirit, and the whole place is very alive, thanks to the much cooler evening.
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The next morning, our final day in this wonderful place, we have another vista of the Li River. This time in the morning mist.
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The colourful bamboo boats are still idle, waiting for customers on a new day.
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On the other side of the wide river, water buffaloes graze diligently.
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At the doorstep of our hotel, I admire the patterns on the table clothes for sale along Binjiang Rd, obstructing our Li River view. We soon pack, and trudge to the bus station in the hot sun, about 1 km away. Barely 2 hours later we’re back in depressing Guilin.
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> DAS ENDE

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “China > Guangxi > Joyous Yangshuo”

  1. jamon 21 Aug 2009 at 0958

    You did really explore Yangshuo a lot. We spent more days in Yangshuo than you. But we mostly went touring the outskirt like Yulong River, Big Banyan Tree, Moon Hill, etc, did not really have time to stroll around the town. I agree with you, Yangshuo is a more much attractive town than Guilin.

  2. naimon 24 Aug 2009 at 1535

    Actually, Jam, it was just too hot and humid for us to go out further. So we stayed put and explored Yangshuo town instead. 🙂

  3. Ramanon 26 Oct 2009 at 1736

    Dear Naim,
    You have many wonderful pics.
    I enjoyed very much!
    regards
    raman
    Bandung
    Indonesia

  4. naimon 28 Oct 2009 at 1234

    Thanks, Raman, yes our very own backyard is full of wondrous stuff!

  5. Dick Evanson 16 Jun 2010 at 0733

    Naim,
    You have captured Yangshuo perfectly. My wife and I have visited twice in the past three years and really enjoy it. We also stayed at the River View Hotel. The downstairs restaurant is very good and reasonable also. We rented bicycles and roamed some of the countryside along with Moon Hill. It was a very pleasant and exciting part of our travels in China….We will return to Yangshuo!

    The best to you and your family,
    Dick Evans Tucson, Arizona USA

  6. zaitunon 10 Jan 2013 at 0057

    aslmkm NURAINA.

    you have captured splendid pictures that make my heart say ”yeah I shouldn’t miss it ”

    Will be ok if I were to travel with my daughter to xplore GUILIN on our own [ backpackers and budgetted]

    will u be able to share some tips and infor to guide me.

    tq
    salam
    zaitun

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