Yangshuo is a county of Guilin, about 65 km from Guilin. It is very famous for the West Street in the town. Hundreds of shops with many amazing variety of local crafts, antiques and souvenirs make this a shoppers’ paradise. Or you can just wander through the many alleyways or along the river, people-watching. Many visitors prefer to stay the night in Yangshuo to enjoy it in a more leisurely way or take in some of the active nightlife.
West Street is the oldest street in Yangshuo with a history of more than 1,400 years. Situated at the center of Yangshuo County, the street has become, since the 1980's, a window of eastern and western culture and the biggest 'foreign language center' in China. It is the most prosperous district in Yangshuo, and, each year, approximately 100,000 foreigners come here on their travels or to attend advanced studies. Visitors are attracted to West Street by its unique mix of cultures.
The West Street is 517 meters (1,696 feet) long and 8 meters (26 feet) wide, meandering in an 'S' along its length. Being completely paved with marble it is a typical example of a southern China street. It is greatly admired by foreigners for its simple style and courtyard-like setting. There is a saying about it that 'half is village while the other half is stores'.
Because, at times, foreigners outnumber Chinese, this street is also called 'foreigners' street'. Don't be surprised if you hear English words spoken by elderly Chinese women, for this street is called 'the global village'. Besides the local accent of Yangshuo, English has become the language for daily use. West Street is modern and fashionable, nearly every store has bilingual shop signs, and more than 20 stores have been opened by foreigners who have settled here.
Chinese visiting there may think they are in a foreign country, while foreigners come here to search for the ancient civilization of China. However, whether you are Chinese or a foreigner, this is a terrific place to take a rest, both physical and psychological. West Street will drive all of your pressures and burdens away, and give you a calmer view of life. It shows different faces at different times: calm and peaceful in the morning, while trendy and modern in the evening. Traveling to that place is an experience to be with the landscape, with the people, with the soul, and with yourself.
Stall selling souvenir
Visiting West Street, you will be surrounded by an array of traditional folk and amazing international elements. Various shops, craftworks shops, painting and calligraphy stores, backpack shops, cafes, and Chinese Kung Fu academies jostle for attention. You may see a multitude of items, from embroidered silk cloth, wax-painted weaving, to tiny shoes worn by women before the liberation of the People's Republic of China in 1949. In addition, elsewhere on the street you may find bars and cafes, some run by foreigners, decorated with bamboo rafts, fish baskets, wax-painted tablecloths, and so on.
West Street does not only satisfy you visually. You will be tempted by foods from all over the world: ciba (a kind of Chinese rice cake) and rice noodle of Yangshuo, authentic Italian coffee, banana cake, Western style food, etc. So now, choose a cafe, ask for a cup of coffee and let the pretty scenery and dulcet music take you to a fantastic world.