The main hub for the Li River is Yangshuo (‘Bright Moon’), a lively riverside village with a crop of Ming-era houses and bustling market area where you can stock up on local souvenirs and people watch in the open-air cafés. Enfolded by some of the area’s most spectacular karst hills, it makes a great springboard for walks in the surrounding countryside, which offer superb views over the valley. A great way to explore the magical countryside and pretty villages around Yangshuo is to cycle. We can arrange for quality bikes and an English speaking guide to lead you via peaceful, traffic-free back lanes and paddy fields to traditional farming hamlets. A particular favourite of ours is Jiuxian, which has retained many of its Ming-era houses, complete with antique, grey, mud-brick walls, red-tiled roofs and carved-wood doors.