Wonders of Yangshuo
Exploring the enchanting Chinese county of Yangshuo, a growing backpackers destination, abundant in natural scenic landscape and tradition.
Yangshuo, a county in the southwest of China, forming part of the Guilin region, was almost untouched and totally authentic until it experienced a growing surge of backpackers within the last quarter of a century. Since then, it has been influenced by the west and transitioned into a more modern town, catering for national and international visitors.
However, looking past the touristic areas, Yangshuo has so much more to offer.
Yangshuo is perceived as paradise on earth. Popular for its scenic landscape, it is probably the closest vision we have to heaven.
Yangshuo boasts numerous karst hills covered in lush vegetation, each vertical peak protruding up towards the sky.
The picturesque landscape is beautifully reflected onto the ribbon-like, winding rivers. On a misty morning, such a view is unforgettable.
Yangshuo’s landscape is so iconic that it is featured on the 20-Yuan bill. Its timeless beauty is so much related to scenes from a painting, that a stretch of the area is known as the Ten-Mile Gallery.
Ideal for hiking or cycling, the Ten-Mile Gallery has various points of interest, each offering something unique, such as springs, caves, and ancient trees.
Towards the end of the gallery, one may find Moon Hill, a precipice with a giant hole formed through it; thus resembling the moon in its different phases, depending on the point of perception.
One may walk over beautiful bridges and pass through charming villages, or simply head towards the traditional market at Fuli; a great spot to pick up Yangshuo specialities such as honeysuckle or myrtle from local merchants.
Another way to enjoy the countryside is from the Yulong River. One can sit through a ride on a bamboo raft and simply take in the surrounding views in total tranquillity.
The Li River is also a sight to behold and offers impeccable scenery. One may even spot fishermen using the traditional technique of cormorant fishing. Every night, the Li River becomes a dramatic stage as it hosts the Liu SanJie Impression Light Show, an experience like no other.
In the heart of it all sits the resort of Alila Yangshuo. Alila, which means ‘Surprise’ in Sanskrit, merges the old and the new.
The resort, which is an ancient sugar mill, is a combination of heritage buildings and modern architecture. The main guestroom building is designed in harmony with the natural landscape, featuring a combination of local stone and bamboo, creating the feel of exploring a karst cave and embracing nature’s mystery.
The resort boasts more prestigious rooms such as the Sugar House Deluxe Retreat, Pool Villa, or Garden Townhouse; each clad with beautiful and modern design, ample space, and gorgeous views of the gardens, mountains, or river.
Forming part of the sugar factory, the resort gives guests the opportunity to travel back in time and tour each unique heritage building, retracing the steps of the workers whilst understanding the key stages in the artisanal sugar-making process.
The captivating experience also allows guests to try their hand at sugar making, finishing with an exquisite creation perfect as a take-home memento.
For the more daring kind, the resort’s backyard offers the possibility of rock-climbing its very own karst hill for an incredible back-to-nature adventure.
To finish off any activities, guests can take a dip in the outdoor pool or head to the spa for a heavenly experience. Housed in a unique underground location, guests descend to a luxurious cocoon, which walls and floors are made from underground volcanic rocks producing jewelled hues in the cave-like interior.
Alila Yangshuo integrates indigenous nature, traditional culture, and the local community, providing an authentic and meaningful experience to visitors.
From the bars and restaurants of West Street to the natural karst hills and abundant overgrowth, Yangshuo has something for everyone. I