Epic scenery of Yangshou

An anomaly in the southwest of China, Yangshou serves as a welcome treat to western visitors travelling through this region. Almost everyone speaks some level of English and the main tourist strip of West Street spills over with hotels and restaurants serving western food or showing Hollywood movies. A multitude of internet cafes fill the gaps in between shops allowing you to keep in touch with what is happening at home or to read up on the latest news while sipping a great cup of coffee.

What attract all these tourists to Yangshou are of course the magnificent karst surroundings that the Chinese claim is the most beautiful scenery in the world. One of the better-known scenic spots is Moon Hill, just a short ride outside of the town. The limestone pyre is so named because of the large moon shaped hole at its peak, which takes on different shapes of the moon cycle, from crescent all the way to full, depending on your point of view.

After the hefty 800-stair climb to the summit, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding areas. Jagged peaks jut up through square upon square of rice paddy fields and specs of civilizations dot the rows between. As normally found along the Li River, numerous caves encircle the peak and provide a full day of adventurous exploration.

Other must see attractions in Yangshou are the Green Lotus Peak and the Tall Banyan. The Green Lotus Peak resembles a delicate green lotus floating on the water and has many inscriptions dating back to the Qing dynasty carved on its peaks. The Tall Banyan was planted in the Jin Dynasty and now stands 50ft high,20ft circumference and covers an area of 1000 square meters! The tree now serves as a symbol of everlasting love, where many couples come to have their picture taken in admiration.