After living around the Guilin area for a year and a half, I think that this is hands down the best place to go for rock climbing around Yangshuo. I found Yangshuo Basecamp by chance in Fenglou Village just off the main road right before Moon Hill. The mountains we climbed are tucked away in the village far from the main road. After climbing, the guide, Afa, invited us to his home for beers, an excellent touch making this both a great outdoor adventure and cultural experience all in one. He also took us ziplining and abseiling up in a mountain with a big hole in it (not Moon Hill), which was awesome too. In the past, I've climbed with a couple of the organizations near West Street, but those experiences lack the cultural element and they always seem to take you to the same mountain along the busy road.
This nice bridge is outside Yangshuo, north of Jiuxian. You will probably visit it if you take the cycling tour on the rice fields. It is the starting point of the sailings along the Yulong river. There is a nice bar there where you can stop after the cycling exercise
This is the small brother of the Li River. It's got the same landscape, though the mountains are not so high and the landscape is no so majestic. But the sailing is far more relaxed, there much less traffic and the landscape of rice fields is amazing. I found no other foreigners here, just chinese people.
The pretext to visit the fabulous bank of the river was... an invitation to have a glass of local wine.
A fabulous convivial moment, in a marvelous site, and the wine... was it important?
No! But, to be fair, I must say that it was a decent red wine, with nothing in common with the "poison" that I drunk in a Chinese restaurant in New York, for the price of a small diamond.
Not included in most tourist packages, this is something you should not miss. For 50 RMB you may book it in advance in West Street, and it only takes on hour, with departure at 7.30 PM. I posted a video of this.
Be prepared against mosquitoes.
Once more, I've been in Asia without tasting... Durian.
Forbidden in the hotels, in Thailand, I saw it in the streets of Yangshuo, but I decided not to try it, before testing... the smell. And that, once again, didn't happen.
I think that we, Portuguese, have a good way to prepare to durian's smell - tasting the delicious cheese from Castelo Branco. Its smell is... just come and try it!
Yulong River, also called Little Li River, rises in Lingui County near Yangshuo. The river is about 43 kilometres (26 miles) long, with a drainage area of approximately 158 square kilometres (39,043 acres). The part of the river that stretches from Yulong Bridge in Baisha Town (about 10km/6 miles) north-west of Yangshuo), to Gongnong Bridge near the Big Banyan Tree, is known as the Yulong River Scenic Area, and includes some spectacular scenic views along each river bank. Hire a bike and cycle along the river as this is one of THE things to do in China.
The Chinese word 'Yulong' refers to 'meeting a dragon'. Local legend has it that a dragon from the East Sea strolled across the Yulong River and, being deeply impressed by the attractive landscape, decided to stay there forever. The villagers living on the river bank saw the dragon several times, and hence named it the Yulong River.
There is a decent indoor farmer's market right off Pantao Lu, though there is also talk of moving it elsewhere. For right now it's a local market with not all that much to see inside, but if you're planning on long hikes or want to cook for yourself, there's lots of fresh stuff to buy.
Heading out of Yangshuo towards the village of Yima is a nice walk. There's no sidewalk, but traffic's fairly light and, unlike in the cities, motorcyclists and bikers will move toward the center of the road to give you space. It's kind of refreshing. On the way there's a cave you can visit called the Yulong Cave- it has lights and all, I gather from the photos on the sign outside, but looks unkempt at the stairway from the road, so who knows if it's still running. But the walk is nice and you can get to the Dragon Bridge if you keep heading north.
Beside the road, on the left if you're going north, is a sign for a scenic spot, 300m. Take the road to the left and be on the lookout for a small path on the right that crosses a little bridge. The path takes you to a dead end, but opens onto rice paddies and a trail you can walk on out into the paddies. I don't know if you're trespassing or not, but it's worth it.
You can take the Yulong Cave tour, or you can go in the back entrance... through a man-made wall that's been knocked through, probably by curious locals. I don't know the quality of the rock and I can't be held responsible for you if you go, nor do I know on whose property you'd be trespassing, but if you're into spelunking and want to explore, it's there. I don't know how far back in it goes, but I figure the walls were built to keep people out of something. If you do go, go prepared.
I don't want this to become a place where you pass more travelers than water buffalo, but for a nice, scenic walk on mostly dirt roads, head for the bridge downriver (the one you can see from town). Don't cross the bridge, but go under it (careful- it gets narrow and there's a bunch of traffic on occasion) and follow the road until you get to a fork. You will have passed two bridges on your left for "Impressions". At the fork, go left. Follow the road to Dutou (Doo tow) or towards Mu (Moo) Shan Village. There are some forks, but the main road is fairly obvious. There is one point where a sign points straight ahead then the road forks. If you take the left fork, you will come to the Li River- it's pretty and not congested with boats and tourists. If you take the right fork, you will continue on to Mu Shan and Dutou. From Dutou you can get a boat across to Fuli (Foo lee). There are a few places to stay along the way, if you want to stay out of town, the Snow Lion hotel and the Li River Farmer's Inn or something like that.
Motorcycles and bikes tend to hug the smoother edges of the road, so you might want to walk in the middle, just be aware of cars and trucks.
It's a beautiful walk through farmland and rice paddies, and the people are friendly and don't try to sell you anything.
What is really sad about China is that when you go into tourist places, not only are there stores hawking crafts and other "minority made" things (things that are not made in homes, but more likely are made by hand in factories) which are kind of cool, but there are places selling western brand clothing that we can get back home. Maybe it's for the Chinese tourists and not for the westerners, but it seems such a waste to sell stuff that we can get cheaper at home and that may not even be real. The crafts are vastly overpriced, as are the tours, and that's thanks to tourists who don't haggle and don't understand. Again, today, as we wandered the streets, saying no to every tout we saw, I became aware of how sad it was that these people, and the narrow strip of land surrounding West Street and the docks, are all the deeper most tourists get. They don't wander the back streets, dark alleyways.
I want to find a place where I can buy real products from real people, not from people who buy wholesale and sell "jacked-up retail", bargaining down to "way above retail", best price for me. I want a place where I'm more than a dollar sign. I want to connect with the people instead of just saying "no". But tourism, thanks to a large degree to tour groups, has destroyed the possible relationships and connections we could have with people.
So, why bother with the main tourist streets? Why bother going if all you see are retail shops and touts, the inside of a tour bus and that pesky flag the guide carries? That is a shallow way to see the world. Get out of the main drag. Walk the slick, uneven steps up to the lookout by the bus station. I don't want to suggest walking the mud roads just outside of town because if many people do that, they'll be paved and touristy as well. Get there before it's too late. Places of beauty are so often damaged by tourism... So get away from the touts. Get away from the shoe shiners who bother you at restaurants to shine your sandles, hiking boots, flip-flops, bare feet...
The name of the wine factory is called Jiu Pu Xiang, litterally means that you can smell the aroma of wine from nine shops away. This is the shooting location for Hong Kong TVB drama "Country Spirit II". Story evolves around the workers and proprietor of the wine factory. This place is famous for its fragrant rice wine, which belongs to the hard liquor category.
I don't think this wine factory is still in operation. It used to be a wine factory in the past but now has been closed down and serves mainly for tourist attraction. Many Hong Kong tourists have been attracted to this place because of the chinese series.
At the entrance, there's a rapid stream with watermill erected. Water is collected through the mill and flow towards the factory compound for wine-making. You can gain the best view at this rapid or at the bridge linking to the entrance.
Large black wine urns stood in the middle of the factory. At the surrounding, you can see some wine-making tools and equipments.
At the corner of the wine factory, there's a place for you to sit on stool and sample some of the wines produced here. If you like it you can purchase them too or you can simply take a rest here.
Climb your way up to the 99 steps leading to the Xiangu Temple. During my visit, restoration work is in progress. Turn back and see the breathtaking view of pointed pine trees and foggy hills.
Dont know much about the history if this temple. Not sure whether it is related to one of the eight fairies in chinese legend, He Xiangu. Be cautious when someone ask you whether you would like to burn some joss-stick or donate money. Most temples in China are now privately owned and thus become commercialised for profits.
This is a huge park of forest reserves, waterfall, tea plantation, etc. Entrance ticket is inclusive of buggy rides (for a maximum of 10 person). Most of the attractions are within reach by buggy. The first stop of your ride will bring you to the steps to Xiangu Temple and also the park itself.
The park is full of pine trees and large stones on grass. Along the way to Wine Factory, there's cobble-stoned walkway and some peacocks in captivity.
Raincoat will come in handy here as there is no shelter in case of rain.