Travel in Yangshuo

Yangshuo is a small hamlet rests at the intersection of the legendary Li and Yulong Rivers and in the 120 minutes it takes to get there from Guilin, buildings grow smaller, mountains taller, grass wilder and air fresher.

You can go to 800-year-old Fuli Town in 20 minutes along the main highway by bus in Yangshuo, but the best way to go is via two wheels along village back roads and appreciate the foods and farming lore of the limestone karst studded landscape.

(Please note:Yangshuo town has great mifen, but recommended on the countryside bike ride are the Baisha markets near Yulong Qiao, accessible by bike through the Yulong valley).

The country roads are tough, winding, bumpy and badly marked. It takes roughly two hours to get to the town, a parochial little place lined with crumbling houses, narrow alley ways and many stalls hawking identical meter-long paper fans. There is little here to get too excited by however.

The village market, an open-air affair specializing in pickpockets, offers little redemption.

While the destination is unforgettable, the journey there is spectacular. Bicycling on nearly deserted roads, we passed by solitary farmers in rice paddies, water buffalo lowing in ponds, all against a postcard-perfect backdrop.

The next day, we set out again on bikes, this time following the river down towards Yulong Bridge. Halfway through our ride after the arduous three-hour ride along labyrinthine back roads. In this area one can find a laid-back calm that loosens the pinch of stress that often squeezes the breath of so many city dwellers.

When we made it to our destination, we supped on the water at a lovely home-style restaurant serving up tender, aromatic beer-braised fish (pijiu yu — a local specialty). With the late afternoon sun on our faces, we booked a bamboo raft to take us back.