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  • Writer's pictureRick

China Story 2: Xingping Ancient Town in Guilin (桂林兴坪古镇)

Sights: Xingping Ancient Town (兴坪古镇)

Region: Yangshuo County, Guilin Prefecture, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region


Xingping is the best place for taking photographs of the beautiful scenery of Guilin. It is in close proximity to several famous mountains, such as Nine Horses Mountain (九马画山), the Yellow Cloth Shoal (黄布滩) that is printed on the back of the 20-yuan China note and the meandering Li River (漓江) where it makes a sharp U-turn. Laozhai Hill (老寨山), just beside the arch of Xingping Ancient Town (above photo), offers a vantage point for viewing the surrounding landscape from above ground.

In fact, the real Guilin lies in Xingping!

For the natural beauties of Guilin's Li River, see Story #1. This post focuses primarily on Xingping Ancient Town itself and nearby villages.

Getting From Guilin City to Xingping Ancient Town

Use bamboo raft from Yangdi (杨堤) to Xingping is the easiest way to get to the ancient town from Guilin City and enjoy the views along the river.

Rafting Down Li River

Alternatively, take an intercity bus to Yangshuo and change to a local bus for Xingping Ancient Town — and forgo all the sights along the river.

Where I Stayed

I stayed at Xingping This Old Place International Youth Hostel (兴坪老地方青年旅舍), having arranged for it through its sister branch in Guilin City (see stories #1 and #5).

By the way, when staying at Xingping This Old Place Hostel, don't miss their Italian wood-fired pizza! It's great for munching and chatting with fellow travellers in the nights.

Italian wood-fired pizza

The Rustic Ancient Town

The rustic streets in Xingping Ancient Town were surprisingly picturesque, especially with Laozhai Hill (老寨山) as its backdrop. Some of the houses here were cultural relics dating as far back as the 17th century during the Qing Dynasty.

Street of Xingping Ancient Town
Street of Xingping Ancient Town
Street of Xingping Ancient Town
Street of Xingping Ancient Town
Street of Xingping Ancient Town
Street of Xingping Ancient Town
Street of Xingping Ancient Town
A lady peddling through a street

Guilin Specialty Noodle Dishes

While Guilin has a specialty noodle known as "Guilin vermicelli" (桂林米粉), there was another Guilin specialty — horse meat vermicelli (马肉米粉). The vermicelli dish is usually soup-based with slices of horse meat added to Guilin vermicelli. Chili and sour-spicy veggies may be added to tastes. Both vermicelli dishes were easily available in Xingping.

Guilin Vermicelli

Guilin vermicelli (above) and horse meat vermicelli (below).

Horse meat vermicelli (马肉米粉)

Around Xingping

After checking out the ancient streets, I took a walk into the surrounding farmlands and small villages, which revealed more on the lifestyles of Xingping villagers. There were paddies, vegetables, chilies, citrus fruits, etc, grown on the lands.

Citrus fruits
Farm land

While in Xingping, some villagers could be seen selling pomelos near the pier. It was one of their local produces too. Pomelo trees could be seen in abundance near the villages and with their bulky fruits hanging from the branches.

Small village with pomelo tree

I was in Huashan Village (画山村) and observing the houses on the farmlands and farmers working on their crops.

Houses on farmland
Farmer beating harvested crops

An elementary school in Huashan Village named after the Nine Horses Mountain. This shows that the village is located close to the mountain. And that was how far I had walked from the ancient town to the foot of Nine Horses Mountain.

Elementary school in Xingping

While walking to/from the farmlands and outer villages, I checked out the scenery of Li River at the same time. I was hoping that the mist would clear for a brief moment so I could take some nice photos. But it was not happening in autumn.

Lady painting Guilin scenery

After 3 nights in Xingping Ancient Town, I moved on to Yangshuo, which is about 25Km away by local bus.


After Xingping, next stop will surely be Yangshuo

Yangshuo Yulong River Scenery

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