Xingping 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 too 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.
Karst mountains around Xingping
- Li River Cruises - Guilin to Xingping Boat cruise (4 Star Boat), ([email protected]), . It takes approximately 3 x hours downstream departing from Guilin's Zhujiang Pier and boats arrive into the pier at Xingping. The only boats and cruises currently available for visitors interested in taking this route are the 4 Star Deluxe Boats. Opened 1st April 2018.
- Minibuses from Yangshuo can take you into Xingping for ¥10 (2016) and take roughly 45 minutes. These buses leave the main bus terminal in Yangshuo up until 6PM. Even though it is in between Yangshuo and Guilin, public buses to Guilin always by-pass Yangshuo first. Although workers at the bus station will tell you there are no buses going to Guilin from Xinping, there are private buses that make that trip via Yangshuo. About five such buses leave every day, and you can board them on the right side (if you are facing the bus station parking lot from the street) of the Xingping bus station. Public bus fares to Guilin via Yangshuo usually cost ¥20.00. Private bus fares are ¥27.00.
- Some hostels, like "This Old Place", offer pick-up taxi services for ¥120 to ¥140.
- 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 newly opened Yangshuo high speed train station is just outside Xingping (you can see the bridge carrying the line over the valley to the North East of Xingping) and has trains to Guangzhou, Guilin and Guiyang. Direct buses leave from Xingping bus station for the 10 minute journey. Note: at the time of writing (April 2016) the train station was open but the shops inside were still closed so bring food with you.
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, ("Also). 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. There is a ladder on the way to the top which could make people suffering from serious vertigo to return. 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.
- Hike to Fishing Village. 2-3 hour round trip hike. It is possible to hike to a small village along the Li river called Fishing Village 渔村. The walk is not signposted, but takes you through beautiful valleys, karst landscape and orange groves. The hostel This Old Place has detailed information of the route. Once you are at Fishing Village, you can get a bamboo raft ride back to Xingping (¥80-100, as of Spring 2015, ¥200 as of Summer 2016) or hike the same way back. There are no restaurants in Fishing Village, and limited shops, but it is possible with a little Chinese to visit a villager's home 农家 for food for a small price. Speak to any of the villagers and they will enthusiastically offer to take you to their home for food, and show you around their home, just remember to negotiate a price first!
- ¥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
- Dahebei Village. 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 (Pipe Raft). 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 than the large cruise ships that cruise by and far cheaper. Hard bargain. ¥80 for 2 people or ¥80 per person during peak time. The Yangdi-Xingping section has gotten substantially more expensive. It is now strictly controlled with an official ticket office to buy your tickets and touts at the official docks have all but disappeared. It is now ¥216pp and an extra ¥35 for each empty seat on the raft upto 4 seats. This can often be booked cheaper through your accomodation, or some boat handlers may offer around ¥200pp with no empty seat charge at the docks, but if you try to bargain cheaper, they'll just tell you to go to the ticket office.
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.
Note that there are no ATMs in Xingping that service the Visa/Plus or MasterCard/Cirrus networks. Be sure to bring enough cash before your arrival.
Most shops, hotels and restaurants offer wechat or alipay
There is an Agricultural Bank of China ATM just to the left of the exit of the bus station which accepts visa
- 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.
- Warm Cafe, (Across the corner from This Old Place Hostel). Friendly service, excellent kung pao chicken and banana pancakes. Homestyle food and set up, small cafe. The wall is covered with letters from customers recommending the dishes. Many recommended the eggplant dish. 20-40 RMB.
- Old Street Cafe, Old Street. Good Cafe serving Chinese and western foods. Good english menu and owner speaks English too and is friendly. Burger, pizza and good chinese food. Milkshakes made with fresh fruit. 12-50元.
- Ganga India Restaurant, 90# New Street (out of the bus station , turn right and follow the road ,approximately less 200 m you will find it, restaurant located on the left), ☎ +86 14777355768. 10AM-10PM. This restaurant has the best Indian food you can find in Xingping. Its authentic Indian food, the chef is also the owner used to work in a 5 stars hotel so no doubt for the food taste. Great service, friendly staff, speak english well, have a wonderful time here! Highly recommended! Another restaurant can find at Yangshuo. Food from 15 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), ☎ +86 773 8702887 ([email protected]), . checkout: 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. They have rental bikes but they are poorly maintained. The ride to Lotus Cave is certainly not a must-do, if you are pressed for time. From ￥30 for Dormitory beds.
- Xingping Our Inn, Dahebei Village (the other side of Xingping Town, take a ferry to cross the river for ¥2 from the Xingping pier), ☎ +86 15295923259 ([email protected]), . A quiet paradise, away from busy tourists. Charming garden face to kast mountains and Li River. The guesthouse has 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), ☎ 0773-8702692, . 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. .
- Kelly's Guesthouse, No. 12 Old Street Xingping ((Diagonally across from #7 Cafe)), ☎ 159 7709 7927. checkin: 12pm; checkout: 2pm. Owned by the famous Kelly's Cafe in Yangshuo. Has the same great Western and Chinese food as the one in Yangshuo. Located in the middle of Xingping Old Street. In the back is a nice patio, surrounded by big banana leaves and great views if the Karst Mountains. The rooms are tastefully modern with, flat screen TV, AC, wifi and ensuite Bathrooms. The present manager used to be the manager at Snow Lion Riverside Resort. 90 - 150 Rmb.
- 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.