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Published: March 23rd 2018
I often heard about Yangshuo, during my first trip to China, but I missed that out because I had so many places in my mind to visit and I did not make it up to Guangxi Province.
Finally, the time has come and I will never forget the day I arrived in this ancient town. It was a pretty cloudy day but the scenic, craggy mountains covered in lush green and the clouds encirling the peaks welcome the foreigners with outstanding breathtaking views of stunning karst mountain formations and the gentle Li river making its way through them. That was all to enjoy, I rerely remember such a beautiful scenary at my arrival in one place.
"Yangshuo is also on the 20 yuan banknote".
But, as it happens in all the beautiful places, even here the prestine landscape got spoilt by those numerous touristic streets that are present in the center of the Ancient town.
West street is one of them and the most famous one. Skipping that, in Yangshuo there are really a lot of spots where I can utterly lose myself. I will remember the ones that
were really worth to witness.
This was a temple in the center of the city but it just faced the Li river and that day there was no one during the time of my visit. The temple has got a stunning view over the Li river, some fine pavillion and a terrace where it was possible to see a part of the old town. Though it was still winter, the splendid peaks shone in their pretty green, down the relentless Li river gently flowed along its course and ancient fishermen boat followed the way until disappearing into the distant mist. All this gave an unforgettable show and it was there to be admired by everyone.
One positive things of this place is that even the modern buildings still keep the structure of their traditional one, even though not authentic. I just had a short walk around the busy commercial streets but the only shops that attracted me where those little antique stands that sold some Buddha statue, other famous historical figures like the terracotta warriors, some Mao red book and many other religious related beings.
But the great beauty of Yangshuo
lies in its surroundings, just outside of the city center, especially along the less known but not for this less beautiful Yulong River, which is a major tributary of the Li River, passing rice paddies and through the riverside villages of Yangshuo.
The Yulong local people use bamboo rafts as their main form of transportation along the Yulong as they did for centuries and now this became a great business as huge lorries carrying those rafts rushing along the tiny streets of the villages making their way further up the river unloading them, without wasting time and ready for the impatient visitors so that they can enjoy the trip down the river relaxing on a chair atop these rafts.
Though masses of tourist are present along that stretch of the river, the views of those towering peaks are superb with plentiful of walking trails scattering allover the place.
During my stay in Yangshuo, I also went beyond the so called touristic area and I discovered my lovely, favourite little villages and a lot of farmland.
It was like a paradise with no tourists at all and, instead, with
many farmers that worked their land happily and with a broad smile when they saw me curiously looking at them in performing their labour duties in their field. Most of them cultivating vegetables and many little mandarin trees. I just felt great to have all that place for myself and wandering around amids little streets, old houses with clothes hanging down in the orchard, pots scatterd everywhere, lines of green vegetables and with some bang of the fireworks that kept going on even after the Chinese New Year.
Following the path I spotted a water cave and, before reaching the pool, I was approached by two cute puppy dogs; one after e few steps wound down and started to bite playfully some leaf showing no interest in me and the other one, instead, came closer and began to bark with its little mouth where I could see the two tiny canine teeth that made it so funny.
I then had the OK from the farmer that I could get through the little orchard and saw that next to the emerald colour pool there was a hidden trail that went around the tallest peaks but
after a few hundred meters of walk I saw some farmer burning an area of land with a huge cloud of smoke covering the area around me, so I decided to get back and keep walking on the paved road.
back on the road, I probably walked one hour before reaching a lake. Even here, there was no soul but I think that place looked more a fish rearing farm and aquaculture was practised because when I looked more carefully in the water I could see different fishing nets and cages as well. The views were just spectacular having all the beautiful farmland in front of me and the awesome peaks in the background. The slopes around me were covered almost entirely by the mandarin trees and I could not resist from picking some and hiding them inside my bag. They are very small but so delicious and for free.
I must say that this was by far the most authentic part that I visited in Yangshuo. Not only for the beautiful landscapes but also for their people, because the beauty of a place such as this one lies in those persons that, with
very little, are always welcoming and show a great and genuine smile to everyone.
A trip to China must include a visit to Guanxi Province, I really recommend it.
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