Located in the countryside just out of Guilin is the small town of Yangshuo. Yangshuo is well-known for its beautiful scenery and chilled atmosphere. Over the years, Yangshuo has attracted people from all over who have come in search of greener pastures. Yangshuo now boasts a sizeable population of expats who have come to work and chill out in one of China’s most beautiful spots.
Walking down the narrow pedestrian alleys of the town you can find tonnes of hostels, bars and restaurants teaming with foreigners both expat and tourist. If you haven’t been to Yangshuo, you might not understand what the attraction is, but we can assure you it’s just ridiculously amazing.
Firstly, the scenery is ridiculous. Everywhere you turn you’ll be met with breathtaking views of limestone peaks draped in lush greenery. It’s so spectacular that I have crashed my scooter on several occasions because I have averted my eyes off the road to admire the peaks.
Secondly, Yangshuo is a Mecca for outdoor activities. It can easily be considered the rock climbing capital of Asia and offer many more great things to do such as hiking, rafting, kayaking and ziplining. If you want something slower paced then the numerous bike trails that weave through the mountains is where you want to be.
The most important part about why people come and stay in Yangshuo is probably its bar scene. The bar scene in Yangshuo is like no other in rural China. Several foreign run bars and restaurants offer great drinking holes for when you’re done climbing. It has everything every other expat community around the world has, open mic nights, happy hours and of course a weekly pub quiz.
As with anywhere these bars cater to different crowds, Rusty Bolt is for the climbers, Bad Panda is for the beer pong enthusiast, the Lounge offers something different every night and is host to the town pub quiz, kaya is for the burnouts and when all else fails DMZ bar is where something is always happening and will be open till all hours of the morning.
A decent smattering of local and western restaurants also makes Yangshuo an incredibly comfortable place to settle. Amazing Indian food at Ganga and blue cheese smothered delights at the Brew, any cravings that you may have while visiting the Chinese countryside can be satisfied. Despite being in the belly of the middle kingdom, a group of ragtag expats have managed to settle here, enjoying the spoils of the yet to be destroyed natural beauty of this amazing country.
We recommend visiting Yangshuo during the warmer months when things are really pumping and the weather is prime for swimming.
If a visit to Yangshuo sounds like your cup of tea then hit up the guys at GNTours who run bar crawls throughout Yangshuo and even run a bar crawl to Yangshuo from Bangkok for 10 days of overland liver destroying madness.