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Yangdi Village

Yangshuo, China

Upon the west bank of river Li, about equal distance from Guilin and Yangshuo, Yangdi Village occupies prime real estate and commands some of the best views along the iconic river. It is a small village with big appeal that draws in tourists from all across the country and beyond. The town depends on fishing and tourism for its livelihood and has seen increase in tourist traffic over the years though it remains largely unaffected. The famed Guilin-Yangshuo cruise has its starting point from here during the dry season as upwards to Guilin is closed then.

There are limited options of reaching Yangdi. You can either take long-distance buses from Yangshuo (which is closer) or Guilin (make sure to go to Yangdi Dock). Both take an hour and are reasonably priced at under RMB25. Or you can take the services of a local with a bamboo raft and make the journey through the river. Fares till Mural Hill and Xingping Town are RMB118 and RMB216/adult (RMB40/child on both journeys) respectively (for reference purpose). No hiking routes are available out of Yangdi anymore because of safety concerns. Advisable to steer clear of Li River and surrounding area during May and October long weekend holidays as the crowds will be huge and prices higher than the mountains. Bring plenty of sunscreen and cash as small towns don’t normally have ATMs. WeChat is a good wallet companion in China.

Most tourists to Yangdi will indulge in the bamboo rafting as their first order of business. This leads to the opportunity to see the peaks that resemble hoofs of an upside-down sheep up close, which form the backdrop of the village.

The Nine Horse Mural Hill is a very sought-after sight. Another reason to go there is that hiking route to Xingping starts from that spot and provides very panoramic views.
The White Tiger Hill, with its waterfall, and Jinji Hill, which looks like a rooster eating rice, are located to the north of Yangdi.

Other sights worth mentioning are the Gold Mountain and an island that looks like a crescent from above (hence the name of Moon Island). There are interesting legends and interpretations behind each scene, and it is quite amusing to hear it from the local commandeering your raft. But in the end, the real deal is the majestic image of the unique karst landscape that nature has molded, which makes home in the hearts of the spectators. In different season, this landscape presents widely distinct images, such as being shrouded in mystery and intrigue in the foggy cold weather and come summer, the river imitates a blue silk ribbon as the green hills take on jadeite appeal which inspired a famous poet.

However, where the superb views are something expected along Li River, it is the cormorant fishing that takes some visitors by surprise. Basically, the locals have trained their pet cormorant to catch fish for them. It is very riveting to watch the fisherman and his bird in action.

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