The picture on the 20 Yuan bill is a backpackers paradise.

Tripoto

My work takes me to China regularly and being a travel junkie I am always looking for new places to extend my work trip into a leisure one. Upon searching online for offbeat destinations in China I came across the names Guilin and Yangshuo, the home to scenery on 20 yuan note. Both the towns are situated on the Li River, Guilin being the big and busy city whereas Yangshuo is a quaint riverside town. Being the crowd hater I am, I decided to book my stay in Yangshuo.

Photo of The picture on the 20 Yuan bill is a backpackers paradise. 1/1 by TheVeggieWanderers
Day 1

I took a flight from Guangzhuo to Guilin, where I had booked a private pick up with my hostel in Yangshuo. Though there's a bus from Guilin airport to Yangshuo every two hours, my flight timing was such that a little delay and I would have missed the last bus. So after a one and a half hour scenic ride with a driver who did not speak a single word of english, I finally reached the hostel.

I was relieved to see that the hostel receptionist, a young Chinese lady, spoke very fluent English. I find this to be the best part about staying in hostels, the people who own and manage these places are usually well travelled and they can be the best guides to that place.

As it was already late, immediately after checking in I went out to eat. The hostel was located very close the main street, which was beautifully lighted at night, some mountains were also visible in the backdrop. There were a few hawkers and a lot of restaurants along this street, serving almost all popular international cuisines. The whole market was busy but it were the KTV bars where the real action was, hordes of Chinese traveller going in and out.

Photo of Showbiz Inn at West Street, Guilin, Guangxi, China by TheVeggieWanderers
Day 2

Next day I woke up early and went out in search of breakfast. As I stepped out I witnessed an amazing scenery which I couldn't see at night. The river looked beautiful with sugar mountains rising up as far as I could see. This place could well be described as a paradise, from the air to the lake everything pristine.

But where there are tourists, there are tour operators, always ready to smother them. A pesky salesperson shoving tour brochures in your face is never fun, but the persistent Chinese take it to another level, they follow you wherever you go and even stand next your table while you eat.

Later in the day I checked out the hostels roof top which was advertised to have great view and great views it did have.

While discussing plans for the next the receptionist suggested me I give the popular and over priced Li river cruise and go for another cruise which had an even better scenery and was untouched by the crowds.

Photo of Yangshuo, Guilin, Guangxi, China by TheVeggieWanderers
Photo of Yangshuo, Guilin, Guangxi, China by TheVeggieWanderers
Photo of Yangshuo, Guilin, Guangxi, China by TheVeggieWanderers
Photo of Yangshuo, Guilin, Guangxi, China by TheVeggieWanderers
Day 3

I took her advice, she handed me a small piece of paper with 6 or 7 lines of instruction on it which I had to show to people at each step.

Armed with a paper and just 'ni hao' in my Chinese vocabulary, I headed to the bus station. After changing two buses and trusting the little paper and the helpful people of Yangshuo I was finally dropped at the riverside.

Well the receptionist was right, there were no crowds at all, I had to wake up the person at the ticket booth, who in turn had to wake up to raft sailor. Finally the raft ride began and it was a really spectacular, even such beautiful pictures don't do just justice to the beauty.

For return I rented a bike, which was a herculean task without any Chinese, but what was more difficult was location the return point in Yangshuo. Somehow I managed that and was rewarded with a very scenic bike ride.

On the third and final day I took it easy and walked around the town and spent some time in the market at night.

Photo of Yangshuo Bus Terminal, Guilin, Guangxi, China by TheVeggieWanderers
Photo of Yangshuo Bus Terminal, Guilin, Guangxi, China by TheVeggieWanderers
Photo of Yangshuo Bus Terminal, Guilin, Guangxi, China by TheVeggieWanderers
Day 4

In the morning took a bus to Guilin airport and boarded my flight to Shanghai. 

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