The West Street of Yangshuo - A Shopping Paradise

I arrived in Yangshuo in the afternoon. Yanghshuo lookes more like a village than a city, since a large part of its population lives amidst the rice paddies in the countryside. There is a marked distinction between the tourist side of town and the native side of town. The tourist area is dominated by the West Street, a trendy shopping and dining area with eclectic shops, perfect paving, and no vehicle traffic. My trip of this beautiful town started with Western Street and I spent the whole afternoon and evening there. I rarely went shopping on Pedestrian Streets while traveling, because I considered them in similar pattern in every city. But after walking around here, I found it was definitely worthy of my time and energy.

West Street is a nice place to shop for souvenirs and spend the evenings in the restaurants along the street serving international foods. During my time there, I noticed many French tourists pass by and that there are indeed several French restaurants here.

The other nice thing about West Street was that its tourist industry helped the local economy and bettered the lifestyle of many farmers living the area. Having browsing through the stores, I learned a lot of the handicrafts, and dresses of the local ethnic minorities since many shop owners were so enthusiastic to introduce their goods to me. More than ten Chinese ethnic minorities lived around this area which include the Zhuang, Yao, and Dong. The Zhuang people, by far the largest minority in this area, commonly wear blue or black and I was shown their traditional clothes which were made in a more puritan sense. This looked particularly handsome on men. The most enjoyable thing was in one of the shops I was invited to try on a set of dressing of Miao girls, with collections of massive silver headdresses, huge necklaces, and other body ornaments that show personal wealth, which they typically display at village festivals, such as singing festivals or village meals. The ethnic clothing here exhibits the skillful embroidery work. These unique garments would be meaningful souvenirs to bring home.

On both sides of the street there were a large number of shops selling calligraphy and paintings. It seemed that Yangshuo never lacked talented artists, either in the streets, or hiding and painting in countryside. It is common now for Chinese artists to combine Asian and Western techniques in scroll paintings – the brilliance of acrylic and oil colors with the simplicity of traditional ink. For those who would like to buy landscape scroll paintings, I suggest that it’s better to purchase the painting of same scenery in different seasonal depictions, and display them together on the wall.

Besides all there, pashmina scarves, silk products and pottery, bronze, stone carvings were almost everywhere available on the West Street. Many of them were lovely and really very tempting but their prices were horribly inflated. A small silk scarf was asked for 80-100 Yuan. However I made a deal at only 20 Yuan.