Before traveling to China I've read a lot on this forum. Before Yangshuo we went to Beijing and Xi'an. We really wanted to get away from the big city's and see the nature and chinese life.
We booked a room with the Yangshuo Mountain retreat hotel. Before I doubted about this hotel and the li river retreat. The Yangshuo mountain retreat hotel was about 10 km from Yangshuo, but we actually liked that very much! The place was really like paradise. Breakfast along the river, nice and quit and very kind staff. We booked a larger room, which was great and modern. The food also was delicious. It really made our stay very pleasant.
We wanted to see and do quit a lot. In the big city's we arranged everything by ourselves, but we were a bit in doubt if we could manage this in a more remote place. Also we wanted to meet local people and learn more about Chinese life and culture. In the end we opted for an English speaking guide Amy.
This really made our trip unforgettable. She introduced us to local farmers during our travel with a bamboo boat along the li river. It was the first time for these farmers to meet tourist at their home. They were really friendly, offering us peanuts, pancake and local cookies. We felt really honored to meet this family, a memory that will last.
We also did the bicycle trip along the countryside. This is really something everyone should do. The temperature was very high, but Amy chose little roads with shade and breathtaking views. We didn't meet any other tourist, making us really feel alone in this great landscape. On our way we met farmers harvesting melons, we saw buffalo´s and visited local farmers and restaurants. Halfway we rested during the yu long river float, a 2 hour trip on a bamboo raft. After this float we went to moonhill to eat some delicious catfish in beer, which is a local speciality. After a full day we could barley move a muscle, but we felt really cheerful because of all the great things we saw.
We also visited the light show, butterfly cave and old villages. These were all great, but the Dragon Bone Rice Terraces were even better. It was very rainy, but when we climbed to the top the sky opened. The view was beautiful. Amy told us it was possible to stay one or more nights in minority villages if we had more time. These villages are not very influenced by tourism, so that is really something we would like to do if we come back. We certainly will!
All in all we were very pleased with our stay in Yangshuo. It was not as touristic as I expected and the views, people and atmosphere was great!
I can really recommend both the yangshuo mountain retreat hotel and most of all our guide Amy. Her personal and passionate approach was so warm, it really moved us. You can contact her via guidetoyangshuo.webs.com or
linfengamy2004 (at) yahoo.com.cn