Yangshuo, 65 kilometers to the southeast of Guilin, is an internationally acclaimed tourist destination, characterized by crystal clear rivers, limestone crags, lush vegetation, traditional Chinese architecture and customs, which have been immortalized in Chinese classical landscape paintings and poetry.
The beautiful natural scenery so admired by painters and poets has made Yangshuo famous throughout China and internationally. Word of Yangshuo's charm has spread like wildfire among travelers worldwide, greatly boosting its popularity and made it a paradise for backpackers.
The yang in Yangshuo is the well known yang in Taoist yin-yang philosophy: the positive, male and bright element. Yang can also mean the sun. The shuo in Yangshuo means a new moon. Whether by sunlight or moonlight Yangshuo has a holiday atmosphere and a fun flavor. Day and night (up to about 2am) West Street (now imagined by some to have the meaning Westerners’ Street) is busy with tourists buying souvenirs, eating a mix of Chinese and Western foods and finding entertainment.
Yangshuo County has a good portion of the world’s most impressive karst landscape. Multi-shaped pinnacles, caves, pristine rivers, and mesas are clustered over the 1,400 square kilometer area. The karst along the famous Li River is given an extra dimension of beauty by the water. In this splendid setting are numerous Zhuang villages, where the paddy fields are farmed and local traditional customs are carried on. Yangshuo coexists as a tourist mecca and a developing country farming community's county town.
In and around Yangshuo, visitors can find the Li River, which is reputed to be the most beautiful river in the world, West Street, a street filled with a combination of traditional Chinese culture and potent Western flavor, Moon Hill, Big Ba nyan Tree and many other attractions, including Impression Liu Sanjie advertised below.
There is a saying: "The landscape of Guilin is the most beautiful in the world, but the landscape of Yangshuo is the most beautiful in Guilin." The section of the Li River between Guilin and Yangshuo is the most attractive stretch. West Street in Yangshuo is also very famous, because many who live there can speak English well, thanks to the thousands of foreign tourists who join the Chinese holiday makers there every year.
Chinese Pinyin: Yángshuò, pronounced yang-shwor.
Location: 65 kilometers south, down the Li River, from the city of Guilin.
County area: 1,428 square kilometers.
County population: 310,000.
How to get to Yangshuo: By bus from Guilin or by cruising on the Li River.
Facts: Yangshuo was founded 2000 years ago. The average annual temperature is 19.1℃. In the Eighties, The Lonely Planet Guide to China, which was (and still is, despite the internet and competition from other travel books) the bible for backpackers, introduced Yangshuo to the world. Gradually, more and more tourists went to Yangshuo from every corner of the world. Some of them decided to live in Yangshuo forever. Nowadays, many hotels and restaurants in Yangshuo are being run by foreigners who were once tourists in Yangshuo.
Also read The Best of Yangshuo.
Cormorant Fishing: The cormorant, the fisherman's excellent helper, is a kind of big water bird. With a cord attaching its leg to the boat and a ring around its neck (so it doesn't swallow the big fish), at night it will go fishing its master. It is one part of the old local culture.
Impression Liu Sanjie is a spectacular night show combining sound and light, ethnic songs and dances, using the beautiful Li River and surrounding karst mountains as the backdrop of the stage. See photos. It was directed by Zhang Yimou, one of the most notable Chinese film directors. The show is a must-do activity for visitors to Yangshuo. (Note: The show is scheduled to fold on December 26, 2011, and resume on January 25, 2012).