In the last blog piece I gave a quick summary of the wonders that can be found in Yangshuo, a gem nestled in South East China. One of the beautiful things about the stunning limestone karst mountain formations are that they're common all the way down in to Halong Bay Vietnam, Southern Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia. So if you have an affinity for limestone, perhaps Asia might be your next adventure?
As afore mentioned in my first piece Yangshuo is a climbing hub, with some of the best routes in Asia. In the main town there are even a couple of Climbing focused hostels and hotels which cater specifically to the climbing community. You are almost always guaranteed a climbing partner or a guide! If you are a novice and would just love to try climbing outdoors then this can be easily arranged from multiple outdoor guides or most likely through your hotel. Blue Sky climbing is a great recommendation or booking through Rock A Bond. Nevertheless, for the seasoned climber you have White Mountain, Moon Hill and Lei Pi Shan to choose from. All of these above mentioned crags have world class routes and their fair share of classic lines.
Now I am aware everyone might not be a fan of climbing, so thats why I highly recommend everyone hire a bicycle for day. Its cheap, costs between 10-20 rmb ($3 maximum) and is a great way to explore. Once you have your bike from a town vendor or hotel then I advise pedalling straight to the Yulong valley and riding along the river heading towards Moon Hill. This is a flat gentle ride, you just have to contend with the heat, but don't worry along the way there are a lot of small village shops selling water. Enjoy the ride and watch the bamboo rafts float along.
When it comes to bamboo rafting in Yangshuo you can opt for the larger Lijiang river or the Yulong. The Lijiang uses motorised bamboo rafts and the Yulong uses traditional pushing power as this river is smaller and easier to navigate. Pick the pace you want to float down the river. I advise the Yulong it's quieter and more scenic but both are worthy choices. Pack a few drinks of choice, the local guide will fix an umbrella and you can relax. It's a super soothing way to unwind and take in your surroundings.
Now I have already mentioned Moon Hill for climbing, but it is well worth the visit for anyone. Now the amount of steps can be a little off putting and its definitely gonna get your heart beating but the view and sheer scale of the arch is phenomenal. A little known fact is that prior to President Bill Clintons China trip in 1998 Moon Hill didn't have any established routes or paved steps. It was quickly established prior to him and Hilary visiting the region. If the iconic arch is put on the Presidential Itinerary it's worth a visit for anyone.
As I have already stated Yangshuo and the surrounding villages are nestled in amongst karsts and one of these overlooks the whole town and is referred to by locals as TV tower. It's a quick walk from the centre of town and is worth a sunrise or sunset visit. Once more it has a lot of steps, I am talking plus 1000 sort of thing, but the view is truly magnificent. An expat local one morning went up for sunrise and was greeted by the most phenomenal view of his life, walking through clouds at the top and then emerging to the sunrise just above the karsts. The timelapse video still gives me goosebumps, and as of yet I haven't been lucky to witness this. (The video I'll post on Instagram)
Penultimately, I have another sunset destination for you and this time less physical exertion is needed. The hotel is a called Mountain Nest in ChaoYang village in the Yulong Ecological park. This hotel has traditional Chinese interior design and is a popular hotel highly rated on Trip Advisor. They have 7 floors and the top floor is the restaurant which has a balcony, fitting if my memory serves right 7 tables. Its small but the view watching the sunset over the horizon to the west makes the food taste all the better. They have both Western and Chinese cuisine and its moderately priced. Below is a particular nice evening I enjoyed after an epic day climbing. Tsing Tao included!
After a spectacular sunset and great food, the last stop is West Street, the centre of Yangshuo, bustling with bars, restaurants and small craft shops to buy souvenirs. Witness locals crafting authentic local sweets or jewellery alongside being beckoned into a lot of bars. Enjoy. Thanks for reading!