Yangshuo 05-18-2005 14:13

Once content to be the shy little sister of Guilin, only an optional stop-over along the Li River, Yangshuo today has grown up, claiming its own identity as a tiny global village with a bohemian atmosphere, gorgeous natural scenery, exciting outdoor activities, great food, and rowdy nightlife, which naturally attracts more and more like-minded people

No matter what you do, you will find yourself ending up here.

Renowned as the east village of China, the famous west street is surprisingly tiny.

The random multicultural influence left behind by backpackers passing through from all over the world since 1980鈥檚, combined with local "southern china village" charm, west street is a familiar, yet exotic place for both foreigners and Chinese, alike.

There's a pervasive sense of hedonism here, thus the best time to roam around is in the morning or early afternoon, when the streets aren't so crowded.

It's not in the shops, but in the coffee houses and B&Bs on the street where you can find the true spirit of west street in full bloom: east meets west. Conversations run elbow-to-elbow between smiling locals and travelers dirty and dusty from a hike, over a cup of coffee, a slice of pizza, a bowl of rice-noodles or, most likely a local beer. Although English is the "semi-official" language here, it is certainly not the only language heard spoken in Yang Shuo.

Of course, what initially attracted travelers from all around the world wasn't Yangshuo's "worldliness", but its unique local country charm and stunning scenery. And the best way to experience it is taking a bike tour around the town.

The 1,400 year-old ban yan tree is a symbol of longevity and is also seen as the symbol of eternal love.

Let's not forget what Zhuangzi said about life and love: "it's not how long it lasts that counts." China's own Romeo and Juliet story, "The Butterfly couple of Liangzhu", is inspired by these creatures butterflies that live no more than a month.

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