With a population of just over 300,000 people (small by Chinese standard), Yangshuo is a delightful town located south of Guilin on the bank of the Li River. It is 4 hours by cruise boat from Guilin via the river, or just 90 minutes by bus. But on any good day, thousands of visitors take the water route to witness the scenic beauty of the karst limestone landscape straddling the Li River. By the way, the whole area is included in the Tentative List of Unesco’s World Heritage Site.
Four hours after leaving Guilin by boat (see earlier story HERE), we find ourselves in Yangshuo admiring the beauty of Li River. In summer, during the rainy season, the river can swell so much that even our viewing platform here gets flooded!
The late afternoon sun casts an ochre hue onto the limestone hills on the other side of Li River. Below us, the ubiquitous motorised bamboo boats begin to return home to roost for the night.
In the morning, the mist would hang around giving the karst hills a surreal look, while the colourful bamboo boats await customers. Hire one of these and the whole river is yours for the taking, but make sure there’s a lifevest handy.
If you are lucky, there is always an old fisherman with his two fish-catching cormorants near the bamboo boats. For a small sum, you can pose with the cormorants for memorable pictures. I suppose this business venture is, for the gent and his sidekicks, more profitable than actually going fishing.
You can spend all day long admiring the splendid river views or you can explore the famous West Street of Yangshuo. It’s a smorgasbord of attractions partial to the tourists, and interestingly enough, almost everybody in the street speaks workable English – can’t say the same for Guilin. Live webcam image of West Street can be had HERE.
Along West St, we are particularly attracted to this artform – classical Chinese paintings done on the inside of miniature (some are quite largish) glass containers using a thin brush with crooked hardened bristles. Fine steady hands are required, plus a brain which can work in reverse.
Yangshuo is a very scenic pleasant town, full of nice people and interesting stuff. Try to spend as much time as possible here, and to explore the wonderful rustic karst countryside as well. Use Guilin as the gateway to explore this magnificent corner of China, and of course, the easiest way to get to Guilin is via AirAsia’s daily flight from Kuala Lumpur.