Floating downriver on a bamboo raft, nothing in sight but the occasional cormorant fisherman, no sound but the birds and the gentle splash of the bamboo punt as the boatman pushes you slowly but surely into the picture-perfect scene ahead...
Ah, Yangshuo. Many a traveler has fallen prey to the charm of its rugged beauty, craggy peaks and the peaceful bamboo-fringed Li River. Despite now being one of the most well-established stops on the tourist trail (the town itself gets busier by the year) it's easy as ever to escape the madding crowd that throngs through West Street. Just get on a bike and ride. Head out across rice fields, past water buffalo and picturesque villages and lose yourself among the winding rivers, lush greenery and stunning karst peaks—if you're worried about literally losing yourself and your party, guides are easy to come by. When the cycling gets too much, sling the bike on the back of a bamboo raft, sit back and enjoy the view!
During peak season, however, there are almost always others enjoying the same view. The stretch of river from Xingping to Yangdi tends to be a little quieter though the only sure way to avoid the crowds is to go out of season.
Travel to Yangshuo couldn't be easier. There are direct hotel, guesthouse or hostel.