På cykel i kinesiska Yangshuo längs med Yulongflodens natursköna vägar

Kinesiska Yangshuo är av bilderna att döma en naturskön liten stad som ligger i Guangxiprovinsens nordvästra del i Kina. Staden är känd för dess spektakulära vyer av kullar och floder och sattes på turistkartan i samband med att Lonely Planet introducerade staden i sin guide på 80-talet. Sam och Ashley bakom bloggen The Green Shoestring har varit här och den bästa delen av deras resa var en cykeltur längs med Yulonglodens natursköna vägar. Här följer en skildring av deras cykeläventyr på engelska.

Without a doubt, the best part of our trip to Yangshuo was cycling through the countryside.  We had no idea when we left our hostel that we were about to embark on one of the most insane adventures of our three years in Asia.  Cycling in Yangshuo is a popular activity, we had read and heard only good things about the beautiful rides through the countryside.  It’s safe to say we weren’t disappointed.

We set off from town without any particular route or direction and stumbled upon the Yulong River Scenic Area; in our opinion one of the most picturesque places in all of China.  A 35km bike ride through tranquil farms, past stunning karst rock formations, and over ancient bridges.

Although the most popular cycling route is through the Ten Mile Gallery just south of town; far and away the most scenic place to go cycling in Yangshuo is through the Yulong River Scenic Area. It’s a 20 kilometer stretch along the Yulong River between the Gongnong and Jinlong (Dragon) bridges. We found this area to be far less busy and developed in comparison to the Li River.  Here is where you can experience the quintessential beauty of the Yangshuo countryside.

The prevailing feature of the Yulong River Scenic Area is undoubtedly its pure, natural beauty.  There are no motorized boats on the river, and few cars drive on the road (many stretches of the route are only navigable by bicycle). There’s an overwhelming sense of calm and tranquility as you cycle along the river. The Yulong River Scenic Area bike route winds in an out of quaint villages and picturesque farmland, all the while being totally encompassed by stunning karst formations. The Yulong River moves at a lazy pace and you are often graced with incredible views as everything from the smallest flower to the largest mountain is reflected off its glassy surface.  We were constantly in awe of just how beautiful the Yulong River Scenic Area was. At every turn, we felt compelled to stop, take out our cameras and exchange speechless looks.

Cycling in Yangshuo is big, so you won’t have any problem renting a bike.  Most hostels have bikes for rent and there are countless rental shops, especially near West Street.  We rented ours from Yangshuo Backpackers for 20RMB ($3).

Most of the bikes we saw were in fairly good condition, just be sure to check the gears, brakes, and tires before handing money over. The Yulong River Scenic Area route is mostly flat, therefore a bike with gears isn’t a necessity.  Ashley did it on a single-speed cruiser without too much difficulty.  There are times when the route turns from a paved road into a gravel or dirt path and it definitely helps to have a mountain bike with gears for those bumpy portions.

One thing to be aware of is that most of the bikes are intended for the average Chinese person, and were a bit small for my 6’ 1” frame.  If you want a proper sized bike that’s been well-maintained try Bike Asia, just off West Street.  We were told that’s the place to go if you’re a serious cycler.  You’ll have to pay a premium though; one-day rentals are 70RMB ($11). 
We were just fine on our 20RMB rentals.

If you’re looking for the best cycling in Yangshuo, The Yulong River Scenic Area bike route is definitely it. The route is an unbelievable 35km loop through the Yangshuo, and you will pedal past some of the most breathtaking scenery you’ll ever see.

In all, it took us about 6 hours to complete the loop.  Our pace was definitely what you would call “leisurely”.  We were just cruising along, listening to music, stopping frequently to take photos and bask in the majesty.  Though this is how we would recommend going about it, if you are pressed for time or prefer to just smash it out, you can probably finish the loop in under four hours.

Text och bild: Sam och Ashley från The Green Shoestring

Läs mer om The Green Shoestrings äventyr i Yangshuo och andra delar av världen på deras blogg där de delar med sig av sina äventyr och sin passion för ett mer hållbart resande: thegreenshoestring.com

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