Where West Meets East: West Yangshuo Street

Where West Meets East: West Yangshuo Street

Yangshuo is a beautiful town situated near the banks of the beautiful Li River, 63 km (39.2 miles) west of Guilin city, with over 2,000 years of history. West Yangshuo Street (阳朔西街) is one of the main attractions in the historic town. Along a 517 meter (032 mile) stretch of stone walkway are various specialty shops, hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars, where foreigners and seasoned expats alike come to enjoy themselves.

West Yangshuo Street is not named “west” for the navigational direction of the street but because of the thriving western, expat community that has formed there. Yangshuo was a favorite attraction for foreign travelers to the area; many of them fell in love with this little town, gradually making it their second home. Eventually the street and community of Yangshuo was formed and hence the word “west” in its name. Choosing to stay on and build their lives here, many foreigners have opened shops, bars and restaurants along the West Yangshuo Street. All in all, over 20 shops in the community are owned and managed by expats.

West Yangshuo Street is a community where the “west” has officially met with the more local “east”. You are able to see houses modeled after western-style architecture, bell towers and even imitation chateaus. At the same time, there are classic eastern-style buildings reminiscent of the Ming and Qing dynasty architectural styles. All of the shop signs have both English and Chinese names and everybody, from shop owners to waiting staff and even middle-aged Chinese ladies selling merchandise on the street can speak conversational English in the community. Local restaurants here offer both Chinese and western cuisine; expats come here for the food and to socialize. Some customers even bring their own ingredients and whip up a home cooked meal in the restaurant kitchen, whenever they feel like it.

And another thing that’s very attractive about West Yangshuo Street is the deep interaction of language and culture. A wealth of resources is available for people who want to learn Chinese or English. Of course, you can choose to study a language officially by registering with language schools or simply through socializing with others in the bars and book stores. The Chinese are happy to teach their foreigner friends Chinese, calligraphy, tai chi, Chinese cooking and even Chinese chess and in return the expats teach their Chinese friends bits about their language and culture.

As you walk along the street, you see many traditional decorations and crafts that are unique to the area. There is the Jingtai blue-dyed textile with totems drawn on it; hand-sewn pocketbooks, straps, traditional Chinese knots and good luck charms, which are all distinctive to the local culture. Numerous souvenir stands line the streets and each is special in its own way. The items aren’t very expensive, large table cloths cost around 60-70 RMB and handkerchiefs are 5-8 RMB. Every night from 19:00 to midnight is when the West Yangshuo Street is swarmed with visitors; people gather here for a drink and to socialize with friends and strangers from all over the world.

Tourists shouldn’t miss out on seeing Li River on their trip to Guilin and the section of the river from Xingping to Yangshuo is the essence of the beauty along Li River. The east side of the West Yangshuo Street is where ferries dock from tours of the Li River. Tourists can then directly transfer to sightseeing along the walkway or rent bikes and tour at their own pace in order to catch a view of the beautiful scenery and the local culture. Regular bikes rental costs 5 RMB/day during non-peak season (November to March) and 10 RMB/day during peak season (April to October); mountain bikes are 20-30 RMB/day.

Add: Downtown of Yangshuo County, Guilin, Guangxi
Getting there:
By bus: from Guilin Railway Station; buses are 15 minutes apart; fare is 14 RMB/person and time is 1 hour for the trip;
By air-conditioned ferry: Mopanshan to Yangshuo County; prices are 225 RMB/person during non-peak season (December to March); prices are 245 RMB/person during peak season (April to November)
By air-conditioned luxury ferry: Zhujiang to Yangshuo County; prices are 350 RMB/person during non-peak season (December to March); prices are 450 RMB/person during peak season (April to November)

Ferries hours: Daily, 09:30; tours are around four hours long.

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Keywords: Western Culture Yangshuo West Street West Yangshuo Street Western Expat Foreign Community Yangshou Travel Yangshuo Guilin


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