When planning a trip to China, consider at least a few days’ stopover in Yangshuo. This scenic small town in southern Guangxi province is not exactly off the tourist trail. It’s been a haven for expats, budget backpackers and adventure travelers for a few decades, and is now a popular must-see destination for burgeoning domestic tourists too. Don’t let this turn you off, though. There’s good reason why this ancient, bucolic, laid-back area is such a compelling draw worthy of an extended stay. Here are some of the highlights awaiting you in Yangshuo.
1. Unreal Scenery
Yangshuo is surrounded by fairytale karst mountains, snaking rivers and breathtaking valleys unlike anywhere else on the planet. You’ll immediately understand why this limestone landscape has long inspired Chinese poets, painters and moneymakers (the scenery is depicted on the ¥20 bill). Hundreds of pointed peaks poke out of the paddies like a whimsical child’s drawing. If you do nothing but gawk at these hallowed hills you’ll be happy you came here. Keep your camera at the ready as you’ll no doubt want to capture every angle.