The tiny yet beautiful town of Yangshuo in China’s Guangxi Province and its surrounding areas have become just a little bit more modern in the years gone by in terms of the infrastructure provided. However one thing that has thankfully remained intact stuck in time is the stunning scenery along the Li River, which snakes all the way from Guilin. It’s so good that it will knock your socks off. There is the traditional Chinese sense of beauty, perfect feng shui that are portrayed by the everlasting reflections of the vast hills and the blue skies in the river or the streams that run along.
The best way to explore the surroundings is to hire a bike or an electric bike (AKA: E-Bike) for the day. There is a bike-renting place situated right outside the 7th Heaven hostel & Cafe, and outside the Cloud 9 restaurant on the side of West Street. If in doubt then just go ask anyone around the 7th Heaven hostel and restaurant. If you want then you can hire a local guide for the day, and they should be able to show you around the villages- just make sure you keep following their bike! If you feel adventurous then it is worth taking the rice by yourself, but just make sure that you know the way back to your home in the evening (the locals don’t much speak English so it may be a good idea to hire an English speaking guide to escort you). It is highly recommended that you try to absorb (or drown) in the sites as much as possible from the comfort of your e-bike. You won’t get a much better prospective about the life of the area than this.
The journey takes you through the lush green farms, canals, muddy lanes, and generally life in undisturbed rural China. Farmers, children, and water buffaloes can be seen going about their everyday business along the many river bends. It’s a typical scene that is evident throughout many of the rural parts of Asian countries, but what’s more striking about here in China is that it is also a showcase of how life was like for these people many years ago (or how they lived life many years ago). Typical Chinese anglers come in the feathered coat of cormorants, birds sitting calmly on their master's bamboo boats.
Make sure you visit the recently opened Yangshuo Secret Garden- a magnificent boutique hotel that has been renovated from five Qing Dynasty homes in Jiuxian village to include all kinds of environmentally friendly goodies but one that enables to be in touch with sheer tranquillity and nature whether it is day or night. Jiuxian village lays around 7 or 8 kilometers from downtown Yangshuo. It is located near the Yulong River, a tributary of the Li River.
The highlight of Yangshuo for all avid hikers (and tourists), is Moon Hill. Its a splendid limestone structure with a natural moon-shaped hole encrusted just below the peak. The hill is around a 30-minute ride by cycle or motorbike from Yangshuo. Rigged stairs lead the way from the bottom of Moon Hill to her crusted peak. The journey to the top takes around 30 minutes, and is quite steep but it’s worth it because on a clear, you can get a 360-degree-view of the surrounding karst topography and Jinbao River. The good news is that for those who are tired and need a refreshing break, there is a lovely cafe, appropriately named Moon Hill Cafe, located at the base of the hill. The Moon Hill cafe boosts some local dishes such as the Moon Hill Pancake (an omelette blended in with onions and some tomatoes- all shaped into a smiling moon), and also snake wine (snakes drowned in wine!).
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