Yangshou is one of the most popular destinations in China due to its riverboat tours, unique hilly landscape and countryside charm.
Here you can take a leisurely raft trip along the Li River among bamboo tree groves, mammoth sized Karst cliffs and rice fields.
These caves are popular for their unique limestone stalactites and stalagmites and are located 18km outside of the center.
Similar to the Li River, in this area you can either travel by the standard bamboo raft or cycle along the waterfront to pass through traditional farming villages.
This hill with the natural moon-shaped cut-out is a perfect spot to view the city of Yangshou from above.
Yangshou is the perfect place to learn martial arts from one of many good Tai Chi schools for foreigners in the region.
Inside the city limits, Yangshuo has one of the region's most beautiful peaks, and climbing it shouldn't take much more than half an hour. Located next to the Li River, "green lotus peak", as the locals call it, is surrounded by pavilions and stone carvings, reflecting its sacred status. One of the finest photo-snapping spots in town, Bilian is also a natural destination after a river cruise on the Li, as most boats dock at the adjacent Shuidongmen Dock.
Winding its way through the countryside of Guangxi, the Yulong River is much more than just a minor tributary of the larger Li River. When you take bamboo rafting trips or boat tours along this waterway, you'll come face to face with some of China's most dazzling landscapes. The country around Yangshuo is characterized by dramatic limestone karst hills and cliffs, with bamboo groves and rice paddies completing the scene, and the odd water buffalo by the shore as well. A world away from Shanghai or Beijing, this is a completely different, sublimely beautiful China.
Literally translated as "West Street", Xi Jie is the place to head for a quick bite to eat, a beer, and some entertainment during your stay in Yangshuo. Over the past 20 years, it has become something of a backpacker magnet, with its ceramics stalls, Kung Fu teaching academies, laid-back cafes, and emporiums selling locally made shoes and silks. Although it's defiantly cosmopolitan in character (locals call it "foreigners street") Xi Jie is actually one of the city's oldest arteries, dating back 1,400 years. If you're in the area, check out the fish caught fresh from the Li for a healthy, quick fill-up between activities.
Properly known as "Xinping Fishing Village", this picturesque little town is 15 miles outside Yangshuo and its people have been harvesting the River Li since 1506. Almost 50 of the town's houses have survived wars, famines, and revolution, and look very different to most Chinese residences. Locals are often happy to welcome visitors into their homes (including the Clintons in 1998), and fishing trips on the river can be arranged. But you can also take it easy and bask in the karst scenery. Either way, it's a relaxing place to be.
It might seem strange recommending a tree, but in China banyans have special significance, and this particular banyan has more than most. Probably planted sometime in the 6th century, it has grown to 17 meters high and 7 meters wide, and has been a regular star in Chinese movie dramas. Above all, however, approaching the banyan from the river is a classically Chinese scene, and one that will grace anyone's mentions. Although venerated by some as a god, others regard it as a place to make romantic wishes come true.
The best time to visit is during the spring after the rainy season, when the weather best accommodates bamboo rafts along the Yulong and Li Rivers.
The Guilin Liangjiang International Airport is the nearest airport, with connections from other big Chinese cities. One way tickets from London cost roughly CNY4,000.
There are two train stations near Yangshou: Guilin and Xingping. Tickets from Shenzhen cost around CNY212 and the trip takes 3 hours.
The G4, S15 and S55 highways will bring you from Shenzhen in just under 5 hours.
Long-distance overnight buses from Shenzhen cost between CNY100-CNY250 and terminate in nearby Guilin.
The Xi Town Riverside Resort hotel is located right along the river with mountain views. Room rates start at CYN260.
Guilin - This area is the starting point for most tours as well as the area with most accommodation and restaurant options.
Liugong - Here you can explore the quaint old town, gate, houses and temple, with beautiful views to the mountains and excellent, locally sourced farmer food on offer.
Fuli - Every 3-4 days there is a huge farmers market held here comprising of crops from around the Yangshou region. It's a great place to shop and taste local cuisine.
Local buses serve some destinations but are generally unreliable. To explore the region, it's suggested that you either rent a bike or take one of the many guided tours in Yangshou.
Taxis in Yangshou are among some of the most expensive in the country, with a ride from 100 meters up to 2 miles costing around CYN25-CYN30.
Motorbikes and cars can be rented from some guesthouses, with daily prices starting at CYN120.
Many tourists shop for souvenirs and food at the local stalls along West Street or at the Night Market in Gui Hua Lu.
There are no chain supermarkets in the city, however, West Street is a great place to buy food from local farmers stalls. A dozen eggs costs around CYN12.
MeiJie Restaurant serves fresh-caught Li River fish cooked in the popular beer batter fashion. Meal prices start at CNY100 per person.