Xingping to Guilin, the back road by bicycle
The road from Xingping to Guilin is even by many locals seldom traveled. That's really too bad as it is a very spectacular and relatively easy day ride despite the 30 km or so gravel road .
True, the main road, road 321 to Guilin is a better quality and slightly shorter road. But if you have not a lot of time and you still want to do some more serious cycling, why not make a loop from Yangshuo to Xingping and Guilin. You could do the journey in a day but it is nice to spend a night in Xingping.
There are two ways you can come to Xingping in the first place:
We start the description in Xingping. Get back on the road to Fuli for a few km and take the junction to your left (east). You will cross a stone bridge and arrive soon after that in Jiangcun. In the village there's a junction with a clear sign for Guilin. You can continue further on the road to Baishandi but this only leads deep into the mountains and although the scenery is beautiful and there's caves to visit, it is a dead end road.
It was my third time to cycle this road in May 2011 but I still went wrong and had to cycle back to get the right junction. I am not sure why I missed it but right at the junction the gravel road started. By now the rain started more continuously. There wasn't much to see here.
There was hardly and traffic on this road except an occasional motorbike or tractor. The road swindles here through the hills. It's never steep, never difficult except for avoiding the potholes.
Just before the last climb, which would go up to almost 500 meter altitude, I got problems with my chain. I was able to get it fixed enough to continue climbing to the highest point. On the way I could make a few nice photos of the nearby lake, despite the low hanging clouds and rain.
It seems I had reached the top but it turned I had just come halfway the climb. Fortunately it was no longer raining and the road was only climbing slightly.
6 months later, November 2011 I was back, now with much better weather
and views (this time cycling in the opposite direction)
But once at the top, it went quickly down. Still it was not in high speed as the road was still not good though better than in the kilometers before the climb.
The last few kilometers to a T-junction went quite fast. Had the weather been better, I probably would have had some good views. Unfortunately during my previous two trip I had not made many photos.
Once back on the better roads, I was speeding a bit up but now again my chain made it difficult. For unknown reasons I was no longer able to use the gear system. Maybe it was dirty? I cleaned it, used oil but it didn't work out well. For the next kilometers I was cycling on a very small gear but at one point the system worked again, and worked fine without bothering me at all.
I passed several caves and saw the busloads of Chinese tourist flocking around, looking in surprise where I had come from. I paid little attention and continue. By now I was cycling next to the Li Jiang river.
Only the last 10km from Daxu to Guilin were on a busier road. Here's substantial more traffic but it's not a big problem as the road is now upgraded. Close to Guilin I even had to join a highway for a kilometer or so.
Is it worth?
The usual question is of course if it is worth to travel this road. I think it is a much nicer road than the main road connecting Yangshuo and Guilin (G321). I was this time only a little unlucky the weather was not good. That said... I would recommend doing it.
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Xingping is what Yangshuo used to be. Once a day the tourist boats enter the town and Xingping changes for about an hour but the rest of the time, it is a town like 100 years ago. Xingping is certainly worth a visit with bike rides and walks in the limestone mountains nearby. And with a good hotel (This Old Place) you can't go wrong.
Yongfu to Yangshuo
After the logic stop in Yongfu, it's a pleasant and easy ride to Yangshuo. You will follow first the karst mountains north of Yangshuo before taking the G321 to the legendary town itself.
Back road to Xingping
There is a nice back road to cycle from Yangshuo to Xingping. Few people take the opportunity but I did it a few times. Here's the story:
Map of Xingping
Xingping is very scenic. Click on the map below to enlarge