Down the river from Guilin, Yangshuo is a highlight of any China tour. It is a small, lively town, mostly pedestrianized, with a wealth of activities to get stuck into. Activities include: river rafting, hiking, cycling around the countryside, caving, and mud wrestling. As a result of this laid-back lifestyle, Yangshuo has a large expat community. Many have opened restaurants, pubs and rooftop bars. One exceptional place to eat is an Indian restaurant with all ingredients imported from Northern India.
For those looking for a quieter experience with the same scenery, there are small towns just around the river bend that are more like Yangshuo from over a decade ago. One such town is Xingping. Here the local specialty is duck or fish that has been slow cooked in the province’s beer, Liquan. There is also a steep (slippery and dangerous) mountain to climb that gives a great view over the Li River and its Karst Mountains.
Untouched countryside is just a half-hour bike ride away from Yangshuo. The backdrop is always awe-inspiring and tiny communities seemingly pop up like mushrooms among the farms and untamed land.
For staged entertainment, Yangshuo is also home to one of China's best shows, created by famous Chinese film director Zhang Yimou. Impression Sanjie Liu is a fantastic show using the Li River as a stage with precise choreography, massive synchronization, and great lighting effects. We highly recommend it!