I have noticed that China is often synonymous with gigantic, spreading towns. When you think of China, you think of Shanghai, Bejing, or Hong Kong, but the innumerable beautiful natural sites are not well known. Yangshuo is one of those sites and is a fairly easy way to discover magnificent countryside. This little town is no secret to the numerous Chinese who already go there in mass, but even the crowds of Chinese don't overwhelm it because there is so much space.
In Yangshuo we tried every available means of transport to travel over the region.
First of all a bicycle, to visit the country on quiet roads in the middle of karst formations. Very few people leave the main road and we discovered magnificent landscapes on fairly easy roads without seeing a soul...No problem with children, you can hire bikes with bamboo child seats!
Next a raft for going down the Yulong river, where a procession of small boats gave us one and a half hours relaxing in a unique landscape. What more could you ask? Watch out for slight shocks along the way when you change level, which certainly woke us up...
Next our legs were sorely tried by climbing Moon Hill (and yes, in China, when you say a step you often mean a staircase) but the view from the top was worth the sweat, and it is also the only easily accessible place where you can get a view from above.
A private motor boat for discovering the river Li, because we had decided to avoid the really touristy area between Yangdi and Xingping, which is very well known because it is on the 10 Yuan note. We went from Yangshuo to Puyi, not a soul!
Finally a tuktuk to take us to the restaurant and a car to take us to Guilin via the most beautiful freeway I have ever used, built in the middle of karst formations, beautiful countryside!
We didn't really stop in Yangshuo as it was too noisy but we did make an exception for the one thing you must see in Yangshuo: the Impression Sanjie Liu show .
This show is directed by Zhang Yi Mou, who is best known for having directed the Peking Olympic Games opening ceremony. Just like China, it is grandiose, and has more than 600 cast members. It tells the story of a young girl whose voice was so beautiful that a dignitary kidnapped her in order to marry her. In the end, with the help of the friends of the poor villager that she loves, she manages to flee - all's well that ends well! But it's the staging, rather than the story, that is incredible: illuminated mountains, traditional songs, and moving scenery of a show on water! I really recommend it.
After Yangshuo we went to the north of Guilin, toward the Dragon's Backbone rice terraces, but that is another tale...