Tv Tower watches over Yangshuo from high above. It lies at the heart of the town and as such can be seen from nearly everywhere (including my front door - lucky me!).
Yangshuo's Tv Tower is by far the most climbed peak in the area, due both to its accessibility and stunning views. It's a short hike up (only 30minutes for the fit) and follows a paved pathway. The summit is gated off and supervised by a local, as the radio station is fully functional. Well actually, there seem to be a couple of smiley locals who take turns charging tourists for entry (5-10元).
From below, Tv Tower looks unclimbable, like every peak in Yangshuo. An impenetrable forest of green covers the entire mountain. The path winds its way through the foliage using sharp switchbacks to tackle the steep mountainside.
If you're lucky (depending on how you look at it!), you might spot a snake on your way up. I've been up a handful of times now and haven't bumped into one, but have now heard three reports. Be mindful of this and give the little guys some space if you have to pass. They don't tend to hang out on the path because there's constant traffic up and down so don't let it stop you from making the hike!
I've visited Tv Tower in all sorts of conditions. Early morning gives you a chance to see the peaks dancing amongst drifting low cloud and is my favourite. On special days you could find yourself above the clouds like Ella and me, pictured below.
Sunsets are also magical. You can watch the sun slip behind the layers of humped mountains which decorate the horizon and if the humidity is right, you'll catch huge rays of light spilling across the land.
I'm told that Yangshuo has changed a lot in the last 10 years and Tv Tower's summit is the perfect place to see this. The metal bars preventing you from getting close to the edge are a new addition.
Far below, you can see evidence of huge construction projects. One of my friends here, who has grown up in the town since childhood, was given money by travellers on more than one occasion when she was younger. It was a poorer region and westerners outnumbered Chinese tourists. It's hard to imagine this now with the many flashing neon lights, organised tours, restaurants, bars and the huge Romance Theme Park.
Yangshuo is a fascinating place and Tv Tower is the best way to get a bird's eye view of the town. It puts into perspective the scale of the natural grandeur in Guilin. In every direction, mountains stretch into the horizon. To the northeast, the great Li river winds ever onwards. It's a feast for the eyes and soul. I know it's going to be a hard place to leave!
Words & Photography: Scott Norris (@radventuresofficial) // Summer 2019
Tv Tower is located near the center of Yangshuo (阳朔). To Get to Yangshuo board a bus from Guilin South Bus Station. Also please note that the train to Yangshuo Station actually goes to Xing Ping, not Yangshuo.
To reach the summit, a local who lives on the top will ask you for 5-10元 depending on how much of a local you are! He also charges a little more if you come at 5am (the earliest possible).
It's rare, but on some days I have been refused entry to the summit. The man's under orders from his superiors and there's a camera pointed directly at the gate so unfortunately you'll just have to come the next day if this happens. However, don't let this put you off - there's great views near the gate even if this is the case and you can visit the next day if you'd like with no problem!
Finding the trail head to TV Tower is a little tricky the first time. The alleyway you're looking for is located on a main road, Pan Tau Road (蟠桃路). If you're heading west to east, it's on the right-hand side of the road. You'll know you've gone too far if you reach a large intersection (where Yangshuo Park is situated on the left).
The Alleyway is lined with shops on the left-hand side with bright yellow and red signage. The turning before is a gated community (the guards won't let you in so you'll know you're in the wrong place!).
Once inside the alleyway, keep to the main path, with the greatest incline. There's the occasional 山(mountain) character to point you in the right direction.
The trail begins up steps which become lined with foliage and the way becomes clear here.
Follow the path all the way to the top and pass through the gate (5-10元) which leads to the summit.