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South Guizhou, Libo and Huangjiang

Libo, though a little far from Yangshuo, is one areas you can visit when in Yangshuo. As said, it may be a little far but it is certainly worth a visit, as we shall see.

Most people get a bicycle in Yangshuo town and cycle to Moonhill which is great. Others get a local guide, like Jessie, and cycle to other villages a bit further away from Yangshuo. Xingping is another favorite.

But what if you are interested in going of the beaten path? Sure, not everybody like cycling like I do. But there are other possibilities and areas to visit where few, if any visitors ever come. And many are worth a visit.

Libo is such a place. Located in a valley quite far from the so called "big ugly world" Libo is a little town surrounded by beautiful mountains and sceneries. The town is located along a small river in south east Guizhou. And, Libo karst mountains is recently added in the World Natural Heritage List!

Here's my own old map, as you can see it's much used. Libo is in the left upper corner:

Map of Libo, in Guizhou China

The question is of course why someone would want to go there. As you can see Libo it quite far from anything people visit. And how do you get there? Is it worth to go? Any hotels available? Let's see.

If Liuzhou do not see a lot of visitors and Hechi, the 200 km further westwards city sees less, why would you consider Libo, a town nobody writes about? And nobody heard it is interesting! However, I have been in Libo, I admit, more or less by accident.

Street life in Libo
Street life in Libo

My ride to Libo

Like you dear reader, I had never heard of Libo but there are many little towns I had passed I had never heard of. At the time, it was already late November and it was cold. That specific journey I did on bicycle and I came from Kunming. By the time I was close to Libo I knew it was only another week or so cycling to Yangshuo.

Spectacular view over small towns in Guizhou
On the way to Libo, Guizhou

I had cycled south Guizhou, an area few, if any tourist ever take except for going by bus to Guiyang from Liuzhou. But this area was totally unknown by most tourists. I had enjoyed myself most of the time with the surprised local population. Some told me they had never seen a foreigner passing their village.

A few kilometers before Libo I had the choice of going north and take the road to Sanjiang and Longsheng. I decided to go to Libo as I had been a few times to Sanjiang and Longsheng. Why bother doing it again? Besides, I had to stay somewhere. And Libo was nearby. Before Libo there was a pass before I came in the valley of Libo. Maybe the pass too, was a reason to find my way out of Libo in a different way, but this is for later.

Libo was a small town along a small river. At first glance it was not much different from any other Chinese town except that the surrounding looked very beautiful. Spectacular almost. I decided to stay a day and go around a little.

Libo turned out to be a city expecting tourism in the longer run. The town center was completely rebuild, street names were in English and there were a couple of very decent hotels.

Libo is located in a long stretching valley roughly in north south direction. There is a little road going south west out of the town that leads to Nandan, 67 km north west of Hechi. This road is supposedly in very bad condition. The people in town told me the road was bad. I had but one choice, go back and then head north as I originally had planned.

But my maps told there was another road. This road would lead me to Huanjiang, not far from Hechi. The Guizhou map and the Nelles map showed the road as a reasonable ok road. So in the early morning I left Libo, crossed the bridge and cycled out to the eastern hills. The valley was very peaceful and quiet. The road sign to the next town, Pingzhai, was clear and the road to Pingzhai was in excellent condition. This area was magnificent. The road swindled through the hills.

On the way to Libo, Guizhou
Spectacular view over small towns in Guizhou

In the first kilometers it became clear there were plenty of good hikes to do and my guess is that this is what Libo will promote. The hikes can go deep in the hills and guides are essential.

scenery around libo
The scenery around Libo, World Natural Heritage List

But my road would lead me to Pingzhai and then in good temp to Huangjiang. Or at least, that was the idea. But after Pingzhai the road ceased to exist. There was a small dirt road following the local railroad. With the kilometers passing, the scenery became more beautiful and the road worse. Heavy road constructions were going on here. By the time you read this story, the road will be in excellent condition.

For the road between Huangjiang and Libo alone, I would love to go there again! Rough terrain, never high, but spectacular sites. Although the distance from Libo to Huangjiang was just 100km or so it took me the whole day because I had to use about 30km very bad roads. By the time I was back on decent roads it was already late and I was more then happy to find a good hotel in Huangjiang.

Street life in Libo
Children in a village near Libo

This hotel was probably one of the cheapest and best I ever had. For Y100 (around US$12.50) I had two rooms, living room and bedroom. Both had a big TV and both had a bathroom. By now I had left the bad roads and was on my way to the main connecting road between Liuzhou and Guiyang.

Getting to Libo

In case you feel you want to visit Libo, which is worth to go to, but only if you have time. You need your own transport although local busses do the job too. Reaching Libo by bus can be done from Hechi and Dushan. I was told there are busses from the Northern town of Sandhu. However the easiest way is to organize your own transport.

But even with a minibus taxi it is at least a full day traveling because the distance Libo-Yangshuo is roughly 500km. And the question if it worth? Well, I am happy I have done it this way, but if I would do it again? I have to think about it.

For those who want to know if I am telling the truth, ask Kelly in Kelly's Cafe what she thinks of Libo!

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Guizhou Province

Guizhou is for the most an underrated province.

Apart of Libo, there are more areas to visit. I wrote a few pages about cycling in Guizhou:

Cycling in North Guizhou


Cycling in South Guizhou

Life on a bicycle

Discover the secrets to traveling by bicycle.

Bicycle secrets

bicycle blueprint


Liuzhou, the poor sister of Guilin, but the city has a few places worth to visit, the Yufengshan Park is quite nice