Looking for a quaint, traditional and delightful piece of China in the glorious mountains of Guilin? Chasing that thrill of discovering somewhere cute and delightful along the beautiful waters of Li River that Yangshou used to be like? Teacake stumbled upon the oldest town here: Xingping. It has yummy food, amazing cycling and hikes, intriguing handmade crafts and a whole lot of love for being featured on the back of the 20 yuan note! Read on to find out what happiness and joy you can get from visiting this lovely little piece of Guangxi.
If you like to wander aimlessly and soak up an atmosphere, this is the place for you. Teacake loves nothing more than people watching, breathing in the tasty smells of yummy food, strolling through narrow alleyways and rubbing shoulders with the locals. Xingping will give you all of this and more: you can spend from one hour to four days here and be a very content hippy. For those of you who have been to Pai in Thailand, this could be the Chinese equivalent. Should you return back to Yangshou the same day or throw yourself into some local accommodation here? These Xingping bonus features will help you decide!
Discover cool, funky scarves and pretty summer dresses. Beautiful handmade jewellery including bracelets, earrings and necklaces. Groovy handbags. Unique stones that look like streaky bacon (yes, truly). There is also a plentiful amount of original and local art. If you want to snap up some fantastic creativity, this is an excellent place to procure it.
Xingping is in the middle of changing: it’s definitely drawing in the tourists but it still maintains its charm. Locals are hanging out in their old traditional houses with the doors wide open: they may be watching their favourite daytime show, playing some cards or munching on lunch. It’s a lovely way to just chill out and relax in a place which is also chilling out. It’s not all ‘buy this, do that’.
There’s plenty of sweet, small and unique restaurants and cafes here. The food is really scrummy. Sure, it is a little pricier than the hole-in-the-wall street food you’ll find elsewhere in China. When you’re away from the city masses, it’s going to happen.
With many places, including hostels, offering bike rental for around 20 yuan a day, you can’t go wrong. Grab a bike, grab a map and ride along the Li River to your heart’s content. You will be able to go through many other small villages and grab some ‘me’ time. You’ll see a handful of locals, mind blowing scenery and that’s it: what a treat!
When the sun sets, Xingping people know how to *ahem* party. By party, I mean they go to the local square and partake in some super cool activities. You can play basketball (ladies: these young local basketball players are hot). You can dance (men: if you like older ladies, these hot dancing aunties are for you). You can sing into a treasured KTV (karaoke) machine. If that’s not your cup of tea you can watch an animated movie with the kids on a big projector. It may not be Shanghai but the whole place portrays a tight knit community spirit and I’m all over that.
You can easily get here from the south bus station in Yangshou. Just 25km north of Yangshou, it costs 8 yuan and takes one hour to travel between both of these awesome spots. Buses run from 6am to 7.30pm from Yangshou every 15 minutes. You can also get a bus to here from Guilin. They run almost every hour from 7am to 6pm and cost 20 yuan.
There are other ways though! You can take a boat or cycle from Yangshou. Each has its unique perspective so choose what gives you the happy traveller vibes. You could also take the Li River bamboo raft tour from Guilin. I personally didn’t like it but check out my post on why that is and you can make your own decision.
You can definitely enjoy this place in a couple of hours but staying overnight ensures that you get to see this place all to yourself once the tourists have gone. This Old Place is one super comfy hostel to stay in. With dorm rooms from just 30 yuan a night, you’re set.
It’s a 5 out of 5!