"Bustling tourist town in the centre of a unique landscape"
Yangshuo town itself has seen a huge amount of development since its hayday as a backpackers paradise in the late 80's. The once quiet fishing village is now a full blown tourist town with all the benefits and drawbacks that it brings. Yangshuo is well-known amongst travellers in Southern China, and is a major stop on the trail of many independent travellers.
Yangshuo town is laid out roughly like a ladder. The two main tourist streets run more or less parallel up from the river and they end at one of the town's larger streets. There are assorted smaller streets (rungs) crossing between the two larger streets. The street (ladder vertical) on the left seen from the River is West Street (西街, Xijie) and is the older more established tourist street, the real centre of things. The other long tourist street is Diecui lu (畳翠路).
The town centre has become a bustling mix of restaurants, bars, KTV bars, juice stands, street vendors, travel shops and a few independent minority culture based shops offering local specialities and gifts to take back home. Higher rent is pushing up the standard (and prices) everywhere with finer shops and restaurants springing up each season.
Yangshuo does have a good variety of restaurants, the main bulk are made up of beer fish restaurants (a Yangshuo speciality dish) but there are also restaurants representing most of the different cuisines found around china. There is also a good selection of foreign based places offering Korean, Indian and all forms of western cuisine.
The main Tourist street is the infamous West Street, which during the day offers a selection of standard tourist and minority shops, but at nighttime becomes a very loud bar street, filled with clubs and revellers enjoying the atmosphere. During peak season this street can become extremely busy and quite intense for those looking for a relaxing walk.