Xingping (兴坪) is a town in North Guangxi, China. It is 27 kilometers upstream from Yangshuo on the Li River. The town was initially settled in 265 AD, and was the regional centre for Yangshuo County until Yangshuo was settled in 590 AD. Like Yangshuo, Xingping is surrounded by great examples of Karst scenery, with one particularly prominent peak overlooking the village from the southern end of the shoreline against the Yi River, which is topped with a lookout which can be climbed to with relative ease by those with an adventurous spirit and a head for heights. Certainly, not as clean or developed as neighboring touristy Yangshuo, it nonetheless has a nice authentic feel to it complete with a few intact historical buildings and easy access to the Li River.
There is now a high speed train station called Yangshuo but it is actually very near to Xingping. From there you can get a bus for five yuan to Xingping.
- Minibuses from Yangshuo can take you into Xingping for ¥8 (May '15). These buses leave the south bus terminal in Yangshuo up until 6PM. There is a good bus service within Yangshuo (green and yellow buses) and they take you for ¥1 from main (west) to the south bus station.
Even though it is in between Yangshuo and Guilin, buses to Guilin always go to Yangshuo first. There are no buses that go directly to Guilin from Xingping. Bus fare to Guilin via Yangshuo is ¥28.
- Tourist boats visit Xingping from Yangshuo regularly, and passage can be arranged on one of these boats, if you prefer a more scenic route.
The majority of Xingping is relatively flat, with the exception of the peaks surrounding, and can be easily accessed on foot. This is the preferred option within the town itself, and it can be transversed in about fifteen minutes.
Alternately, some stores in town can arrange bicycle hire if you would prefer to cycle around and see the area. However, the few places to rent bicycles (there is one place across the street from the bus station, and a few hotels, and the hostel, This Old Place), often rent out bikes in bad shape. All bikes should be checked before renting. Beware of wild driving habits in the countryside!
Consequently, trails and country roads are difficult to navigate on the measly land cruisers offered.
Bird's View Pavilion (From the Southern end of the waterfront, walk towards the Japanese Gardens and then follow the walkway). This pavilion, perched on the Karst peak on the Southern end of the waterfront on the Yi River gives a spectacular view of both the town of Xingping and the distinctive surrounding scenery. The climb is a bit challenging in sections and you are advised to do it in the cool part of the day. It comprises 1159 steps taking you to an altitude of 220 metres above the town. The path as you get higher gets quite challenging as the steps are uneven, poorly maintained and steep. The small pavilion at the end of the climb is a welcome spot to relax, although the habitual dropping of rubbish is quite noticeable in the immediate area surrounding it. Views further south on the river are possible by scrambling over the rocks behind the pavilion near the telephone tower, but this can be quite slick and risky and is not recommended unless you are quite at home on rocks and at heights. Free.
¥20 Point (10 minutes walk). The landscape on the ¥20 note is just outside Xingping, You may think that the Chinese are looking for money from you when really they are pointing this out. You can take a photo from the exact same spot as this picture. Free
Lotus Cave (30 minute bicycle ride North from Xingping). While not a great cave to explore (any cave in the Yangshuo/Guilin area is much better), the bicycle ride to and from is quite pleasant. Relatively free of traffic, and well-paved by GuangXi standards, Lotus cave is locate on the southeastern edge of a beautiful valley. ¥45/person
A peninsula in the other side of Xingping town. Take a ferry to cross the river at the Xingping pier, ¥1. It is a small angler village, with the charming of the countryside in China. Walk around the orchards, vegetables gardens and the trails around the village. Listen nature she have something to tell you. Enjoy the countryside,expend some time with the local people. The local people make life by planting fruits, driving bamboo boat.
Li River Boat Trip. Take a boat trip along the most famous parts of the Li River for an hour and a half. These small boats are much more enjoyable that the large cruise ships that cruise by and far cheaper. Bargain hard. ¥80 for 2 people.
Yangdi - Xingping. As of Aug 2013, this 18-24 km walk can be done both ways and it is a far more peaceful way to enjoy the Li river and mountain scenery than a loud noisy boat down the river. It takes you along the pebbly shores of the river, through many small villages, fields and bamboo forests. You will have to take three bamboo rafts across the river at about ¥10-30 each after bargaining. Just tell someone you want to go "walking". In the direction of Xingping the first ferry crossing can be difficult to negotiate as it appears to not be entirely legal. The other ferries however are not an issue. If you get tired during the walk, you can always rent a bamboo raft to float down the river; don't worry about availability -you will be turning down offers of 'Bamboo? Bamboo?' the whole way. There are plenty of people selling food and drinks along the way, ranging from single sellers to sit-down cafes. One can then take a bamboo raft back to the start ¥300-500 one way.
Hike to Fisher village. This is a hour or so walk south of town. One can also reach the village by boat. Local will take you to the roof tops if you like for a panoramic view for ¥5. There are pictures of the Clinton's when they visited the spot on the walls. The youth hostel in town has a map with directions. Free.
There are a number of semi-permanent market stalls near the waterfront, all selling quite similar goods - pashmina scarfs, jade sculptures, books with photos from the Yi River, etc. As tourist traffic from Yangshuo increases, expect these savvy marketeers to start inflating their prices to match. Good bargains can be had, as with most of China, but only by those who educate themselves on the real value of the goods, and who have the skill and experience to haggle for the right price.
This Old Place Cafe (Walk up the main street from the waterfront until the first intersection - take the left and then the first right). This cafe, which is linked to the Hostel by the same name, offers a good range of Chinese traditional dishes, as well as some more Westernised versions (like Sweet & Sour Chicken without bones!). The staff are extremely attentive, lovely and go out of their way to make you comfortable and welcome. And interesting feature of this restaurant is the pond and washbasin between the bar and the bathrooms which is open to the sky - very unique and cool.
Love Landscape Restaurant, Rongtan St. (betwixt the bus station and This Old Place). An interesting little place with a limited English menu, LLR has very few vegetable dishes, but quite a few beef, chicken, or pork dishes. What is memorable about this place, though, is twofold. Firstly, just in front of the restaurant on a little patio, the management keeps live animals for consumption, including, but not limited to, Li Jiang fish, quail, chickens, ducks, and bamboo rats. Secondly, try their Snake wine, which is sitting in a huge jug also on the front porch, for just 5 yuan/glass.
7# Cafe, Old Street (Same street as TOP Cafe, just a little further towards the bus station). A lovely little place run by some very friendly staff, with good music playing, and heaters under the tables which are perfect when Xingping isn't being too kind weather-wise. The owners always brought out a game of Connect 4 to play while waiting for food, and it makes a nice cosy alternative to TOP Cafe down the road. The food is decent value and we ended up heading there three times during our stay. Food from 10 Yuan.
Local Guangxi LiQuan beer should cost ¥4-5 in local stores.
Local Jiu Place, Rongtan St (Literally 3 or 4 doors up the street from This Old Place). Sells local Osmanthus wine (of varying strengths) for very little money. The extremely nice sales girl even speaks a little English and offers a couple of free tastes from the large jugs.
This Old Place Hostel, 5 Rongtan St (From the waterfront, head up the main street (Rongtan St) - it is located on the left after the small rise), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: 12 Midday. This hostel, located a short distance from the Yi River, is a great find. The staff are amazing, and speak great English, are very personable, friendly and welcoming. The rooms are a little small (at least the dorms), but are quite comfortable. Larger double rooms, with river or mountain views, are available for a higher rate. A small kitchen offers wood-fired pizzas (￥38) for dinner, which both warms the room on cool nights and is a welcome bit of comfort food when so far from home. This hostel is a member of Hostelling International, and discounts are available for members. From ￥30 for Dormitory beds.
Xingping Our Inn, Dahebei Village (the other side of Xingping Town, take a ferry to cross the river for ¥1 from the Xingping pier), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Charming guesthouse having clean and comfortable rooms with excellent service and a nice garden. A small restaurant offers fresh food, vegetables are from the garden
Lao Zhai Shan hotel, Xingping port (Walk towards the xingping port. Before the pier, you will see a circular doorway. Go through the door and the hotel will be 50 meters ahead along the hill), ☎ . Lao Zhai Shan Hotel is a beautiful hotel situated at the base of Lao Zhai Mountain and looking out over the Xingping port on the Li River. This comfortable accommodation is run by a friendly old Japanese man and his Chinese wife. It features rooms with large windows which offer an unobstructed view of the picturesque Li River and mountains. Prices are reasonable and the owners are great fun!!! Although this is called a hotel, it feels more like a bed and breakfast or a pleasant homestay. .
- Yangshuo - A very popular town on the Li River, full of foreign and Chinese tourists, bars, restaurants and in the middle of some beautiful karst scenery.