July 5, 2011

Y is for Yangshuo

(These are the first paragraphs of a travel article I wrote in 2007.)

Yangshuo has something for everyone.  

For a first time visitor to China, this small town in subtropical Guangxi is a soft landing into an ancient Chinese setting with many of the comforts of home.  For the veteran Asia traveler or resident, Yangshuo, with its proximity to Hong Kong (a mere one-hour flight) and other large urban Asian centers, is a spectacular place just to hang out and unwind for a few days.  

This popular backpackers’ destination since the ‘80’s has more recently been discovered by tourists both domestic and foreign. Yet the crowds still fail to detract from the town’s architectural charms and its serene location amongst green rice fields, gently flowing rivers and mystical karst peaks.


The old part of town is blissfully free of vehicles of any kind, a rarity in China.  That gives the pedestrian unfettered access to the scores of commercial concerns that line the streets from one end of town to the other.  A surprising number of locals serving in the businesses speak passable English; it’s no wonder the place is called “a global village.”  Perfect for those who can’t leave their shopping cravings at home!

 
Shoppers can find souvenirs of minority crafts and antiques (some real, some not);  exquisite embroidered tablecloths; popular Western (often fake but decent quality) branded clothes or very chic Chinese apparel and accessories; hand painted T-shirts or fans; art and calligraphy… and much more, all for still reasonable prices compared to other tourist centers in China.

But you have to bargain. Pretty “pashmina” shawls in a rainbow of colors were initially offered to me for RMB60 a piece; I walked away with ten shawls for RMB150 (under US$20).  Haggle for the fresh fruit sold by the local farmers on the streets, too.



Even the non-shopper can take pleasure in just a relaxing stroll along the marble stoned streets past the 1400-year-old buildings. Then stop to enjoy a great cup of coffee (really!) or a cold pijiu (beer) and a pizza in one of the many Western-style bars, coffee shops and restaurants, many managed by foreigners. 
 

Another day I will show you the exquisite surrounding landscape. If you can't wait, check out my earlier posts here, here and here.

Yangshuo enters the medley of Ys at ABC Wednesday

And this final photo taken early in the morning before the storefronts opened their shutters to show their wares, my favorite today (nicer enlarged) and processed in sepia, is for Sepia Scenes.

Yangshuo, 2007

PS. I am back home in the Philippines and will continue to share local sites as well as my travels around the globe as time permits.

31 comments:

EG Wow said...

Fascinating post, Francisca. You write very well!

I'm fascinated as to why anyone would purchase 20 shawls. I'm thinking you have many relatives (haha) or you are a buyer for a small company.

Roger Owen Green said...

A FASCINATING TELLING about a place I know nothing of.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Meryl said...

Fascinating post! So inviting.

Rajesh said...

Beautiful shots of the place. Looks like nice place to shop.

Francisca said...

@EG... thanks. That was 10 shawls for 20 bucks, but I surely have bought many more over the years... :-D ...those make easy to pack and easy on the wallet gifts!

fredamans said...

Always a great photo adventure on your blog! Thank you!

http://fredamans.blogspot.com/2011/07/abc-wednesday-y-is-for-young.html

photowannabe said...

What an amazing place. Its not what I think of when I think of China at all. (terrible sentence...so sorry)
It certainly seems like a shoppers paradise.
I can't get over the sharp jagged mountains right behind the quaint shops.

Sylvia K said...

Terrific post for the day as always, Francisca! Beautiful captures and such fascinating information! What a colorful, beautiful place! Hope your week is going well! Enjoy!

Sylvia
ABC Team

Wanda said...

What lovely pictures. I love shawls and would probably have bought one if I was there!

Halcyon said...

A very cute and quaint village.

PS: I am sending this comment from the comfort of my sofa on my very own internet connection!!!

Carola said...

Great post with all this information and interesting shots.

VioletSky said...

Oh, I could easily have 10 pashminas (I know, as I already have seven in a variety of colours) but I have a lot of trouble bargaining for things - I'm afraid I can't be bothered playing such games. It does looks like a wonderful place to wander through, though.

Jingle said...

beautiful presentation with a beautiful mind.

thanks for the showcase.

Andrea said...

Welcome home Francisca, our very distinguished foreigner-resident! I hope this doesn't offend you as by race you are a foreigner but you are a much loved resident. I am curious of the contest you won in 2007, belated congratulations. You really write very well and shoot very well too. I am glad i opened all the links in this post, as i didn't know that Guilin is in Guangxi, haha, i forgot. I've been to Guilin in 1990, cruised the river and am still dreaming of coming back, as among the destinations in the 6 cities we visited that time, it was Guilin which outdid the rest. For me that was even lovelier than the Great Wall, of course 'beauty is in...'. Thanks Francisca, i am learning and wishing a lot of your travels.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

Fascinating and informative. I was sure that all evidence of an ancient China had been obliterated by high rises and factories. So comforting to know that antique settings continue to exist.

Leslie: said...

Wonderful post! I'd love to see more shots of those mountains!

Leslie
abcw team

Ann said...

My husband says when they develop the fast train, we will visit China.

Ann said...

Hi Francesca,

It is my husband who wants to fast train. I prefer to go to see my great grand parents' home. So it is going to be a bit of ____, you know what I mean.

May be I will persuade one of my retired sisters to go with me. Imagine two sisters back from the South Seas, ( Nanyang)

Shooting Parrots said...

Some great photos, particularly the 2007 shot. Very atmospheric!

Barbara Rosenzweig said...

Wonderful photos and descriptions! Brought back great memories of our several trips to China.

Have a great week,
Barb

Kaori said...

I've never been able to haggle...you must be an expert! The streets look so interesting! I love the last sepia shot. Beautifu :D

Isabel said...

love the photos

Gattina said...

Very intersting post and such a nice looking place !
I love haggling ! I learned it in Egypt !

Kay L. Davies said...

What a delightful place it must be, Francisca. Your photos are lovely, especially the one in sepia.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Pat Tillett said...

Fantastic post! Thanks for taking me on this tour. Very good photos and narrative.

Leckeres für Mensch und Katze said...

This mountains in the back are so amazing. Nice shots! :)

Perry said...

Thank you for taking me along for the walk. Very nice. Love the sepia too!! Thanks for sharing! Here is my entry.

Gerald (Hyde DP) said...

Interesting to see "Woodfired Pizza" opposite a French cafe bar - very cosmopolitan.

Evelyn said...

Wow, I think I'll be very happy here :). You did well bargaining. I'm terrible at that - I find it stressful and I end up feeling quite guilty.

JM said...

Loved both article and shots. What an amazing location with the gorgeous mountains so close (top photo), I would love to walk on that street right now.

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

Wonderful post.
Your photos are excellent.

Regards!