Hike from Yangdi to Xingping, China: Trekking Through a Chinese Painting

By Mark Wiens 39 Comments
Yangdi Village, Guangxi, China
Yangdi Village, Guangxi, China

The hike started in Yangdi, China, a small fishing village on the banks of the Li River, about 45 minutes from Yangshuo town proper.

Despite the rainy conditions, we decided to go through with the hike.

Chinese hawkers are ALWAYS prepared – they have mastered the business strategy of having exactly what you need, when you need it. When it’s cold they’ll sell something warm, when it’s raining they’ll be standing next to you selling umbrellas and rain coats.

I bought a cheap rain coat to counter the misting rain.

Chinese Steamed Buns
Selection of Chinese Baozi

One of my favorite things about hiking, walking, or doing any sort of outdoor exercise while traveling is that it heightens the hunger, and one can feel better about devouring gigantic feasts afterwards.

I often try to walk as much as possible so I can justify things like eating as much Hong Kong street food as possible in 3 days or engorging myself on a stunning Chinese meal.

Before beginning the hike, we enjoyed a little mini feast of steamed buns, known as “boauzi.” The cinnamon roll looking bun, filled with sticky rice and beans was delightful!

Small Ancient Chinese Village near Yangdi, China
Small Ancient Chinese Village near Yangdi, China

Due to maintenance on the trail that day, we had to do things are little different from the normal route.

The first part of the hike was to cross the Li River on a ferry. From there we started walking before coming to a small ancient village where we had to cross back over the river on a bamboo raft and reconnect with the normal trail.

Big Rooster Comb
Big Rooster Comb

We passed quite a few old small villages, houses and farms – and of course I stopped to take loads of photos of cool things like the bright redness of this rooster’s comb.

Hike from Yangdi to Xingping
Scenery on the Hike from Yangdi to Xingping

The views from the main trail were spectacular. We navigated our way on small garden paths, attempting to ingest as much of the gorgeous scenery as possible.

Hike From Yangdi to Xingping
Hike From Yangdi to Xingping

In every direction, the views were mind blowing. We were nested in the Li River valley, so there were dramatic stone formations on all sides of us.

Sesame Seed Plants
Sesame Seed Plants

Walking through small villages and local farms presented an awesome opportunity to analyze some of the crops. Rice was everywhere to be seen, but other vegetables and spices were scattered along the fertile banks of the river.

Fresh Sesame Seeds
Fresh Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are perhaps my favorite little seed. Their distinct flavor is marvelously complementary in food, especially on top of things like grilled chicken or in sesame seed candy.

View of the Li River, Guangxi Province, China
View of the Li River, Guangxi Province, China

The views along the trail continued to leave me holding my breath in amazement, the reaction that can only result from seeing something like the Batad rice terraces.

It felt like I was tossed into the midst of an ancient Chinese water color landscape painting. The mystical karst limestone peaks, the eerie water and the soft lofty clouds added to the peaceful natural setting.

The beauty of the region was first hand evidence of how so many Chinese artists over so many dynasties have been inspired to create masterpieces around that exact area.

9 Horses Rock, Guangxi, China
9 Horses Rock, Guangxi, China

About 3 hours down the trail we came to a giant rock mountain known as 9 Horses Rock. You are supposed to be able to see 9 horse faces within the face of the stone, though I could only really pick 1 out. It might take a stretch of imagination to find them all!

Bamboo Raft Salesman, China
Bamboo Raft Salesman, China

At 9 Horses Rock we boarded another ferry to get across the Li River once more and continue on to the final stage of the hike from Yangdi to Xingping.

Ancient Xingping Village, China
Ancient Xingping Village, China

By mid afternoon we had completed all 25 kilometers of the hike and arrived in the charming ancient town of Xingping.

Hike From Yangdi to Xingping

Here’s how to take the hike:

You can’t really get lost as long as you just follow the river upstream. Bring a few bottles of water and some snacks. There are a number of restaurants along the way, but they are quite pricey.

If you have a spare day around the Yangshuo area, the hike from Yangdi to Xingping is worthwhile!

39 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Emmelie Kitchell

    5 years ago

    Hi Mark,
    We saw this post when we were preparing our trip to Yangshuo, and got inspired and excited by your hike.
    But when we arrived in Yangdi we realized that there was there was no signs that showed were the hiked started and after doing some research we found out that we had to cross the river to start the hike. It seams like they have made the hike path in a way so that you have to cross the river three times.
    We speak chiniese and asked around for help in to how to get to the beginning of the hike path, but after and hour of searching and asking we had to accept that you could only get down the river by buying tickets for around 300-400 yuan and only by raft, we couldn’t hike. We found a fery but they wouldn’t take us, we asked rafts if they wanted to sail us over the river for 20 yuan, but no one wanted to help us and said we had to buy a ticket.
    We ended up taking the bus back to Yangshuo.
    It seemed like such a great hike you had, but it seams like we got there four years to late.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hi Emmelie,

      Thank you for the update, that’s really too bad. When we were there a few years back, it was fantastic, and once we got out of the initial area where the bus dropped us off, we just walked through villages all the way back to Xingping. So sorry to hear about this.

      Are you living in China?

  • Christina (Jandal Road)

    8 years ago

    I’d like to order a print of the Li River photo and one of the bamboo raft salesman, please. Seriously, your pictures are fantastic! Loved this photo tour; very aptly titled post as well!

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Thanks so much Christina for this uplifting comment, I really appreciate it!

  • Aussie on the Road

    8 years ago

    Some great shots there mate. Looks like a fantastic hike.

  • Cam

    8 years ago

    Love it – great collection of photos. That’s my kind of adventure!

  • Raymond @ Man On The Lam

    8 years ago

    I so need to get to China. Stunning photos Mark…

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Thanks Raymond, there are some really beautiful places in China, hope you can make it on this trip!

  • Laura

    8 years ago

    That’s awesome! I loved the rooster picture.

  • Shirlene from Idelish

    8 years ago

    Amazing pictures! Absolutely inspiring! Now I wanna go to China!!

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Cool, thanks Shirlene, I know your photos of Yangshuo would be stunning!

  • jenjenk

    8 years ago

    ok, those bao’s look amazing…and i never gave it any thought as to what kind of pod sesame seeds would come from. thanks for the knowledge!

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      No problem Jen. I was so excited that day because I got to eat so many bao’s!

  • NLM

    8 years ago

    Thanks to the NVR guys for stumbling this. Your photos are stunning; they really make me feel as if I were there. Thanks for the post.

    Nancy

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      No problem Nancy, glad you stumbled into this article…and thanks to the NVR Guys as well!

  • John in France

    8 years ago

    Spectacular! Beautiful photos!

  • jade

    8 years ago

    I would love to do this hike- I also really enjoy hikes or walks when I’m traveling. I feel more connected to the place and people.

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Cool to hear that Jade. I try to get outdoors and wander around as much as possible.

  • The Travel Chica

    8 years ago

    Excellent photos as usual. So different from the places I have been.

  • Christy @ Ordinary Traveler

    8 years ago

    So beautiful. It reminds me a little of the views in Halong Bay. I wouldn’t even know what sesame seed plants looked like if I came across them. Everything looks so green!

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Thanks Christy. Yes, the scenery did remind me of Halong Bay as well – both incredible places. I wouldn’t have known it was sesame seeds if a Chinese friend who was with us on the hike hadn’t told us. My cousin and I were so curious we had to confirm it was sesame so we opened one of the pods to check it out!

  • Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista

    8 years ago

    I love your pictures! Spectacular beauty that makes me wish I was in China!

  • Kelly

    8 years ago

    SOOO Cool! This is what I wanted to see when I visited China.. but alas, with only a short time in Beijing, I got something completely different.

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Hey Kelly,
      Cities in comparison to rural life in China are so incredibly different. I’ve never been to Beijing, but I’m sure it’s equally great in different ways.

  • Maria

    8 years ago

    Had no idea about the Sesame seeds. I love that photo as well. Thnx

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Yah, that was my first time to see sesame seeds growing in the wild, it was interesting to see.

  • Caanan @ No Vacation Required

    8 years ago

    We are solidifying our plans for next year’s travel, and are trying to figure out how we can fit China in. These pictures have really helped solidify that seeing this part of the world is of paramount importance! 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Great to hear that Caanan, would be cool to see you guys in this part of the world! I’d definitely give a thumbs up to the area around Guilin and Yangshuo, there are still incredible escapes into nature and rural Chinese life.

  • flipnomad

    8 years ago

    very beautiful pics mark… Yangshuo is one of the most beautiful places that I’ve been to in the past…

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Thanks Flip, cool that you’ve been there as well. The scenery was incredible, one of my favorite places as well!

  • paul | walkflypinoy

    8 years ago

    man those mountains are beautiful! will definitely considering exploring this area if i’m ever in that part of the world. thanks for sharing. bookmarked it. 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Awesome, hope you get a chance to visit soon Paul!