Exploring Yangshuo

Nestled in between the mighty limestone peaks, the small town of Yangshuo is magical. The many peaks surrounding the town are so close that they appear to hang over the buildings. At night they eerily float overhead, half hidden in cloud.

Yangshuo is situation on the beautiful green Li River, from which the view of the limestone peaks is most magnificent. The river cruise from the nearby city of Guilin to Yangshuo is considered one of the major tourists highlights of China. There is also the less prominent Dragon River which is popular for swimming, and many streams and canals that are used to irrigate the seemingly endless rice paddies.

The town of Yangshuo itself is very compact, and is surrounded by rice paddies in all directions. Every little bit of available land is used to grow food. The agriculture is very efficient even though most of the methods and equipment used are old-fashioned. Oxen, cows and buffaloes are used to plow fields, machinery is very rare, and the crops are planted and tended to by hand.

Yangshuo has many quaint little alley-ways and cobbled streets and there are really only three large roads. There is a large outdoor mall named West Street because it caters so much for the Western tourist. The whole town is a market-lovers heaven and has a huge range of souvenirs to peruse for hours on end. The market stall owners speak more than enough English to convince tourists to pay too much for souvenirs and hard haggling is essential.

More often than not, wherever there is written Chinese there is also some Chinglish accompanying it. Chinglish is what happens when you directly translate every word of a Chinese sentence into English without cleaning up the result. This can be often confusing and occasionally hilarious.

There are a heap of Westerners who live here, and we have already spent far too much time hanging out in a pub called "Bar 98" which is owned by an Aussie ex-pat. The pool table is free, and a 700ml bottle of beer costs 80 cents! Mind you, it's half that price if you buy it from a general store.

More pictures to come later!

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