Yangshuo is an utterly delightful town amidst stunning scenery, often visited on a day trip from Guilin by boat along the Li River. Whilst West Street is jam-packed with shops selling traditional crafts and cafes, there are several more traditional, miniature, tumbledown and almost timeless villages nearby that are well worth exploring, filled with traditional architecture where the residents go about their daily business as they have done for nearly a millenium and a half – they still farm the fields and the elders sit and play cards or chop vegetables, dogs, chickens, piglets and toddlers play in the lanes….Also worth visiting is the tranquil Yulong River where you can sit on a bamboo raft and drift through the dreamy landscapes, and karst caves such as Silver Cave whose stalagtites and stalagtites are illuminated to create a fairytale world of extraordinary beauty.
Jiuxian Garden village is a typical ancient village – but there is something else. Over the past few years Jiuxian has been the subject of a unique conservation plan, to preserve and restore its distinctive Ming-era houses, to regenerate its cultural heritage coupled with the principles of sustainable, eco-friendly development.
Fuli village lies on the Li River and was an important stop along the river in days gone by. A market was established that is still vital for many other small villages in the vicinity and is held on the 2nd, 5th, 8th, 12th, 15th, 18th, 22nd, 25th & 28th of the month. The village is more widely famous for its painted paper fans and scrolls, usually depicting the glorious landscapes. The best way to reach Fuli is by bicycle from Yangshuo taking the river road, around 40-60 minutes, and you can climb Kuixing Tower for great views of the surrounding countryside.
At Yu Cun fishing village look up to admire the elegant architecture of the sweeping rooftops, gables and towers. The village is also known for its cormorant fishermen.
Xingping fishing village is another important spot for the locals as its market is one of the largest in the area and takes place on the 3rd, 6th, 9th, 13th, 16th, 19th, 23rd, 26th and 29th of the month. A visit here can be combined with one to Fuli which lies between it and Yangshuo.
Moon Hill is a limestone peak with a semicircular hole in it resembling the moon – it makes for a rewarding climb to enjoy panoramic views.
Impressions of Liu Sanjie is an open-air son et lumiere show that takes place every night with the river as stage and the mountains as backdrop, with a cast of hundreds. It tells the story of a local folk tale with music and light and is a truly spectacular experience.
You can spend two nights in Yangshuo on the 14 day China Highlights Tour.