Our journey on the Li River, from Guilin through the bizarre world of the stone mountains, ends after about 85 km in Yangshuo. The stone mountains with their rugged rocks are not the only remarkable impressions that remain.
Water buffaloes, cormorants, minority villages, and simple people at work such as the simple fisherman who does not allow himself to be disturbed despite cruising excursion boats, provide the fascinating images that burn themselves into the memory.
In the center of Yangshuo is the West Street (Xi Jie) with a history of more than 1,400 years. The marble-paved road is 8 m wide and 517 m long, a typical example of an old South China road.
Since the days of the first backpackers, more and more tourists come here. It is a place where they have a harmoniously blended eastern and western culture. Many shops have bilingual signs, and even older Chinese women speak English. A proverb in Yangshuo says ‘ half is a village, the other half is shops. Although you can still enjoy the picturesque scenery of the streets, however, they are often lined with restaurants and souvenir shops.
Just outside the city is the 380 m high Mingyue Mountain, Moon Hill. Wind and water have formed a 50 m high opening from the limestone. It reminds of the rising moon, hence the name Moon Hill. Because of the view from the top, it is a popular destination for climbers. However, it was closed in 2017 due to falling rocks for safety reasons.
Seven kilometers south of downtown Yangshuo is the Big Banyan Tree. From afar, it looks like an enormous green umbrella. The 1400-year-old tree is now 17 meters high and has a trunk diameter of 7.1 meters. It covers an area of half a hectare and has branches that extend so far that they have to be supported artificially.
In the Zhuang nationality, it is considered the tree of the gods and so many locals make a pilgrimage here every year. After it also served as the setting for a scene from the Chinese music film Liu Sanjie, young couples come here to swear their love under the tree.
The Big Banyan Tree is a fantastic photo motif, so it is not surprising that many Chinese people in colorful traditional costumes offer themselves as photo subjects in the foreground.
With the cormorant fishermen, you can make short trips on the rafts from here.
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