Situated on the Li River, 27km upstream from Yangshuo, a visit to Xingping makes a lovely day trip. Here the karst mountains are even more prominent in size, looming large over the river. In some places the mountains formed rather surreal shapes, unlike anything I’d ever seen before.
Here is the proud home of the scenery gracing the 20 Yuan note. You’ll see many tourists standing at the 20 Yuan viewing spot, taking photos with their 20 Yuan notes out.
A mini bus is the cheapest way of getting to Xingping although tourists boats will offer a more scenic ride at a leisurely pace. I hopped on one of the buses, only to find that all the seats were full. Instead of being ushered off, I was handed a tiny red plastic stool and instructed to sit in the aisle. Every time we turned a corner or came to an abrupt stop my little stool teetered precariously.
Smaller and less clean and developed than Yangshuo, there are far fewer options here for tourists and not much to do beyond viewing the scenery. Nonetheless there are a number of restaurants and semi-permanent market stalls. Plus with a few historic streets it has a nice authentic feel to it and is a pleasant place to spend an afternoon.
Hopefully in the future I’ll return on a day with clearer weather, and the money (or the company) to be able to hire a raft.