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Biking Yangshuo's Countryside
Yangshuo's countryside is unreal. Just an hour and a half down the Li River from Guilin, Yangshuo is much more scenic and laid back. We actually stayed outside of Yangshuo in a farmhouse, and biked a beautiful 20 minute ride into town. The scenery in the countryside looks eerily like Jurassic Park.

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Bamboo Rafting Down the Li River
Bamboo rafting down the Li River may be a bit cliche, but when in the Yangshuo area, it still cannot be missed. We bussed from Yangshuo up to Xingping, and negotiated an hour long ride up the river a bit and back again, as the Xingping area is said to have the most spectacular scenery. And I would certainly agree with this statement; the river was unreal.

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When in Yangshuo, Bike!
Yangshuo has some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen. I would highly recommend renting a bike and seeing it, but be sure not to forget your camera! There are easily accessible maps of the area, and locals are sure to point you in the right direction if you ask nicely.

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Lost in Yangshuo
Yangshuo is the cool younger sister to Guilin. Guilin is stunning in its own right. However, poor Guilin is the subject of many years of tour boats and buses battering its rivers and roads. The aftermath is a beautiful landscape scarred by over development of the tourism industry. While Guilin is still a worthwhile place to visit, Yangshuo offers everything Guilin has, and much more. Geographically, Yangshuo is literally just down the Li River from Guilin. Just take a 4-hour boat from Guilin or even hike it in about 6 hours.

There are two sides to Yangshuo. One is calm, idyllic, and peaceful. The other, represented by the West Street in Yangshuo’s city center, has all the trappings of other popular Chinese tourist spots. So if you want to experience hoards of Chinese tourists, then West Street is your ticket. Otherwise, it’s safe to avoid it entirely.

Anyone who has been to Yangshuo will probably have a story about getting lost. And it’s very likely that the getting lost story is his or her favorite memory of Yangshuo. One reason Yangshuo is so amenable to getting lost in is because it’s small, so you’ll never really be in danger of getting stranded on the side of the road overnight.

One highlight of my trip to Yangshuo was a bike ride along the Yulong River to the dragon bridge. Bikes can be rented anywhere in the city in Yangshuo and locals are eager to help with directions. If you're lucky, you may even pass a duck farm to catch a glimpse of dozens of baby ducks.

Have you been to Yangshuo?
It seems that most people that make it to China end up visiting Yangshuo and it's easy to understand why. The "village" itself caters to most travellers needs with plenty of hostels, cafes and bars. It can get a little hectic with the large numbers of tourists all wanting to hangout on one street, but this is easily avoided.

Ending up staying longer than planned is a common side-effect...blame it on the karst peaks!

Cycling, kayaking, bamboo rafting, rock climbing and cooking courses are some of the favourites. There's also a language school if you fancy extending your stay and studying Chinese for a month or two.

The Li River Valley
Landing in Guilin was like descending through an aeronautic obstacle course of karst mountain and cloud, storm-filtered sunlight painting the rice paddies a thousand shades of silver. The tear ducts began mustering armies. When my bus crossed into the countryside on the edge of town, the vanguard commenced the march into battle, and as we wound into an undulating landscape of towering limestone spires, the Third Brigade of Tears overtook the floodgates; all was lost to beauty.

It was like wandering through a watercolor painting, through a poem about a mountain range that learned how to dance. Mountain waltz after mountain salsa, the farther in we got, the harder the pinnacles grooved. We passed villages carved into limestone cliffs, farmers in conical straw hats balancing rice baskets on bamboo poles. Just a simple bus ride through the Li River Valley was like traipsing through the pages of a fairytale.

Yangshuo, Guilin, Guangxi, China