first day in Yangshuo

Oh, where to begin about Yangshuo.  This little town nestled in the beautiful green hills of southern China has such a flavor of ambiance that I had not yet found in this country.  The town is quiet and peaceful, full of Chinese and tourists, wonderful coffee shops and eclectic stores and restaurants, and a wanton laziness that lures you into a feeling of peace and tranquility.  I just knew that I would be staying more than a few days.

The night before, I climbed out of the bus at past midnight.  The day previous had been a long day; a taxi, three-hour long airline flight, a bus to Guilin (90 minutes) and then a bus that would take me to Yangshuo that departed at 10pm and didn’t arrive until about 0100.  It seems that the last bus stopped to pick up everyone on the side of the highway who wanted to catch the “last chance” of the evening.  A good way for the driver and attendant to supplement their paychecks I suppose, but slow going for the passengers.

I found a restaurant and ordered some duck and vegetables.  I quickly found that the duck is not prepared the same as in the west.  It seemed that they laid the duck out and cut it into chunks with a meat cleaver.  The cooked duck chunks had meat, skin, & bone all mixed in.  It was a bit tough getting the meat off the bone using only chopsticks; by the end of the evening, the sides of my mouth were covered in duck grease and vegetable splatter.  No, napkins were not included.  I cut my meal short when a huge roach climbed down the wall, crossed the table, and stared at my dish like a dog would back at home.

… duck parts and rice…

The next morning, I was finally able to get a view of Yangshuo and I soon realized the appeal of this place.  No matter where you go in the city, you are surrounded by a gorgeous view of mountains.  I shot the three photos below (left to right) from one of the main traffic circles in town (just outside the bus station).

Before I wandered too far into town, I decided to get some breakfast.  One business advertised dumplings and I decided to give them a try.  They weren’t bad and they gave me a chance to observe some of the locals.  I immediately noticed that there was a large percentage of westerners here.  This place seems to draw many tourists from around the world.

The town is shaped like a “V” with the Li and Yulong Rivers making the two sides.  The “walking district” sits in the peninsula of the rivers and the pace is slow and relaxed.  Throughout the walking area there are lily pads and ponds that make for beautiful reflecting pools with the mountains mirrored on the water and also standing on the horizon.

Yangshuo is convenient in that almost everything is walking distance.  You can get from the tourist zones to the bus station to the shopping mall, the market, the river, and to the main walking street in 10 minutes or so.

One of the best things about China is the food and Yangshuo had no shortage of fine places to eat!  A full dish only runs about .90 cents.

Yangshuo is a wonderful city, so sleepy and peaceful and I just knew that I was going to enjoy my time here.  Later in the evening I took this photo on West Street. It is the main “tourist” area and is always busy with foot traffic and shoppers.


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