Guangxi: Climb in Yangshuo

Limestone karsts along Yangshuo's Li River     Photo: Photodisc

If you think industrialization has extinguished old, bucolic China, you don't know Yangshuo. The 300,000-person city, in the southwestern part of the nation, has emerged as an adventure hub, while the surrounding countryside holds on to China's past. Here, cormorant-wielding fishermen ply the Li and Yulong rivers, and thousands of nearby karst mountains serve as playgrounds for a burgeoning climbing community. Base yourself at the Paradesa hotel (doubles, $145; ys-paradesa.com). Then buy a copy of Paul Collis's Yangshuo Rock Climbs ($9; available in town) and head to the Lizard Lounge, a bar that doubles as the local rock grotto. The outfitter Chinaclimb, based at the bar, offers half-day guided courses on the area's 330 bolted routes ($43; chinaclimb.com), but finding a group to tag along with isn't hard in the high season, August through November.
GET THERE: Yangshuo is a 45-mile bus ride from the airport in Guilin; China Southern Airlines flies from Hong Kong to Guilin ($470; csair.us).

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