Yangshuo - Guangxi Region.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Flag of China  , Guangxi Zhuang,
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

We found the most beautiful spot to spend the last two days of our trip, Yangshuo in South West China. A rural town (city?) of around 30,000 it was definitely the smallest urban area we had visited while in China. People from Yangshuo consider themselves to be country folk and several night time disco's blared out a hip version of "Thank God I’m a Country Boy" to emphasize this mind set.

Visitors come to Yangshuo for the stunning picture postcard scenery. Huge Karsts (sharp steep limestone mountains) rise up from the rice paddies and surround the beautiful Li River where simple bamboo rafts ply the waters. Mind you the tourists are nearly all Chinese from other parts of Asia, it is rare to see a non Asian person.There are no recognized hotel chains but it is about to happen, KFC and McDonalds have found their way to Yangshuo so it won’t be long and there will be a Holiday Inn or a Novotel vying for space with the current Chinese hotels.

The hotel we stayed at “New West Street”, found us a bit of a novelty. Our China based tour company had organized breakfast to be included and the hotel were obviously worried that we would not be able to handle the Asian buffet breakfast and so when we made our appearance at breakfast, we were ushered  into another room and served cornflakes, yoghurt, fruit and eggs cooked any way we wanted and brought to our table. They seemed very eager to please us, perhaps hoping it may be the start of more Westerners for them?

The weather was misty and cloudy but this just added a mysterious and ancient feel to the scenery. After negotiating hard, we enjoyed a bamboo raft ride down the river and then some long walks. We later read that the rafts have been deemed unsafe, however given the proximity of the river bank, we did not see it as a problem.

On our last night we went to a light and sound show which was outstanding.  The show has a cast of some 500 actors and is staged on the largest outdoor stage area for such a performance in the world. With the Limestone Karsts as a backdrop and the river in front, we were part of an audience of around two and a half thousand who watched an interpretation of folk history of the area, designed and produced by the same man who orchestrated the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

Yangshuo  overall was a wind down visit, we took the time to enjoy a massage and some leisurely meals combined with a bottle of red or two. With the brilliant scenery, the laid back feel, and with the last night ”impressions” light show, it was a fitting end to our travels in China.

Footnote: The South China Karst of the Guangxi region and Guiizhou, Yunnan Provences are UNESCO World Heritage listed. The Karsts of Yangshou Guilin are also featured in the book Unforgettable Places to See before you die.
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