Yangshuo, what used to be a quiet relaxing out of the way place in its day, is now a bustling tourism hub full of charm and wonder. What is most striking about this quaint little town, is how it is nestled in amongst the surrounding Karst Mountains that dot the landscape and this natural beauty is made famous as being the actual image that’s on the back of the 20 yuan bill from a vantage point that overlooks the Li river, just on the outskirts of Yangshou itself.
Here are the top 5 EXPERIENCES of my journey to Yangshuo.
1. Walking Down West Street at Night.
Ha walking down this chaotic street at night is a sensory overload. I’ts jam packed full of people all checking out the quirky shops that sell all types of nick-nacky souvenirs, bars and clubs spewing out thumping tunes that mix with the hum of the street life and exotic smells that hit your nose from local delicacies being cooked in quiet, often tiny, food stalls. For such a small street it seems to take a lifetime to walk down it, but don’t miss it out!
2. A Tom Yum Hot Pot at Pica Pica Café.
Just on the outskirts of town on the road to Yulong River is this awesome little Café set in an old school traditional Chinese house. Pica Pica Café doesn’t disappoint, in fact it really is a surprise: where else can you have a delicious Thai meal with Jack Johnson tracks to create the atmosphere, in rural China. So the Thai Food – well I only ordered 1 dish The Tom Yum Hot Pot and it was absolutely yummo. I just love the idea of a Hot Pot style meal, where you add all the ingredients into a flavoursome soup, cook it then eat it, repeat the process. If you’re on your Moped and want to stop and watch the sunset over the mountains whilst having a drink and a nice nibble, this is the place…
3. Climbing To the Temple in Yangshuo Park for Panoramic Views of Yangshuo Town.
This cool park right in the centre of town is a great little escape from the sometimes hectic atmosphere of Yangshuo. I love in China how these types of places bring out the creative side of the locals, with people dancing, singing, playing musical instruments or practising arts like Thai Chi or painting, there is always something that will grab your attention. This park is no exception but it holds another gem a tiny pavilion/temple perched right on the top of a karst mountain that offers panoramic views of the township of Yangshuo. Its not a gruelling climb like some of the other nearby mountains and there is a cool pagoda half way up where you can take a breather, but the effort involved is minimal compared to the sweeping views that greet you from the top.
4. Getting a Car buffer Massage at Mood Food Energy Café.
Yep you read that right a Car Buffer massage. The sensation and vibrations that course through your body in this experience are Phenomenal. The part owner of this little gem of a café, Daniel, thought of this crazy idea while talking amongst friends, “I wonder what would happen if we used a car buffer to massage??” BOOM the idea was born, 4 days later the buffer arrived and the outcome was better than expected. It feels that good that I have even considered buying one of these as a toy for home just so I can relive the feeling that this quirky style of massage delivers. Definitely don’t miss this experience in Yangshuo, and while you wait for your turn, soak in the relaxing atmosphere of this café and enjoy the wholesome organic food and if your lucky and its cold, lie on a electric blanket beside one of the lay down tables.
5. Letting down your hair on a wild night out on the town.
Lastly as a must do in Yangshuo is a good old fashioned night out on the town. There are so many venues to choose from alongWest street but don’t worry they are all fun. The locals are so welcoming and inviting to Westerners its sooooooooo easy to let your hair down and have the most amazing night out. My pick for a cool venue is the balcony bar right before the old cobblestoned bridge down one of the side streets just off West Street, it has a tiny balcony right over the water, its the perfect spot to have some time amongst friends, and then pop inside and listen to local musicians playing live music that creates a great scene. When things need to get really wild, pick any of the other go-go style venues on west street, and just wait (it wont take long) before the party comes to you.