There is intimate…and then there’s intimate. Yangshuo is the latter. With the Li River bordering on one side, and the breath-taking scenery of the karst mountains surrounding in every direction, the landscape is both mystical and otherworldly, all at the same time.
This is a place of pure serenity, a place where the morning fog caresses your skin while you make your way to one of the various local cave systems, where the breeze off the water cools you in the afternoon while you make your way across the river, and a place where you can scale majestic peaks and make your way to the top of the world, looking down over everything from the vantage points offered by the karst peaks towering above the valleys below. This is easily one of the most popular backpacker destinations in the world, and what it lacks in infrastructure it more than makes up for with natural beauty.
Since becoming a backpacker’s refuge in Southern China, Yangshuo is everything but Chinese. In fact, many people consider the town to be a rustic little place that caters almost exclusively to the world travelers who make their way through on an annual basis to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding mountains, caves, and river. Rock climbing is the preferred method of transportation in this region, although cycling, hiking, or boating are also great ways to get around.
This is rural China at its best, away from the hustle-and-bustle of the big cities, and close to the heart of true Chinese hospitality. The only way in is by boat or by bus, with the nearest railway station being in Guilin, which is a short hop (only an hour by bus) down the road.
While it might be a bit off the beaten path, staying in Yangshuo is well worth the trip with caves, hidden temples, mountains, and the simple beauty of Southern China at its disposal.