As always in life, once something is presented as a given in our lives, we take them for granted. If you’re staying in Yangshuo for an extended period of time, there will surely be things that become so much of a part of your daily life that they start to bug you. However, as soon as you leave, you’ll start to miss a lot of those things that you’d complain about on a daily basis.
Due to its remote location, Yangshuo’s scenery is some of the best in China. Upon arrival, the vast mountain landscape will surely take your breath away and leave you in awe for a good few seconds. Waking up to incredible beauty every day, however, somehow desensitizes you to the sheer magnificence of it, and some may even grow resentful of the remote location, taking an hour or so to the nearest large city. When you leave Yangshuo, hit the high rise buildings, and the smog, this will surely be the first thing that instantly wish you took in more of.
Number 2 is food. Since Yangshuo is small, it’s easy to get sick of what it has to offer in terms of food. Whether you’ve been sticking to the Western style restaurants, or been braving the various street food BBQ and noodles stores, there’s only so much of one place you can have. Maybe you’re also missing your favourite fruit and vegetables that you can’t get hold of in China, or there are some certain snacks that you’re craving. Even if Western dishes try to replicate a lasagne or steak, no matter how much they try, it’s never going to be the same in your home country. However, upon returning back home, you’ll surely miss the cheap prices, greasy and garlicky BBQ, and spicy street food noodles. The flavours you find here will be even harder to replicate back home, especially since it’s usually cooked by skilled chefs with an array of seasoning and spices you may not be able to find back home.
The climate in Yangshuo may not be perfect, but it certainly has its upsides (as well as downsides). Its daily 35+ degree relentless sunshine and 85%+ humidity may start to get a bit too much for some travellers, especially if it’s something you’re not used to in your home country. But you can be certain that apart from the odd short shower or two during the day, the weather is going to pretty much be certain sunshine. As a Brit, knowing how the weather will be for the following day, or indeed the following few hours, is a major novelty. And depending on where you’re going back to, having actual sunshine in summer is certainly also something that you miss.
The expat community is a very tight knit and small one. For some, it can be pretty difficult seeing the same faces week in, week out, doing the same things every day. Although you may learn to love your new community, you may also tire of it quickly. However, the expat community in Yangshuo is an extremely unique one and not something that can be replicated quickly. Despite it being a very small community, it’s incredibly diverse and full of people from all kinds of walks of life. Some have been in the town for years, and some just for a few weeks – the best part about this is that you never know which one it is because everyone is welcomed in as soon as you arrive and treated as equals. Whilst you may think that seeing the same faces every day can be dull, the people you met in Yangshuo will certainly be one of the things you miss the most when you leave.
A large part of Yangshuo life is drinking and partying. Some may get caught up in this life and love it (sometimes a bit too much), whilst others tire of its relentlessness. There’s always something going on every night in Yangshuo, even if it’s just a few beers at the local hideout with the fellow expats. You can rest assured that there is never a dull moment, and it’s hard to find a bar you can drink alone in. Some may complain that the drinking is too much, or they’re sick of a quiet night turning into one that they can’t remember – however you’ll be hard pressed to find a drinking culture like the one in Yangshuo. So, make the most of it whilst you’re out there; you’ll be craving the pints and non-judgemental drinking buddies when you get back home.
Whatever you’re disliking or finding hard to deal with at the moment in Yangshuo, make sure to take a step back and think what life would be like without it. Be sure to make the most of your time in this special town and savour even the things that can frustrate you. They won’t last forever!