China – Yangshuo (part 1)
April 12, 2010
It was time to go to Yangshuo, our last destination for my week long vacation in China. There is a bus terminal in Xingping and it’s just a short walk from our inn, come to think of it, everything’s just a short walk away in that town. ;) Minibuses leave regularly for Yangshuo. Travel time is around 2 hours and costs 15rmb. One was about to leave when we got there so we got in for the ride which was comfortable given the cold weather. I was enjoying looking at small Chinese villages, at the many orange orchard and the beautiful karst mountains surrounding the area when they said that we’ve already arrived at Yangshuo’s bus terminal.
Getting off the bus, there would be people approaching you to lead you to their hotel or to encourage you to book a tour with them etc. Since we had no plans on where to stay there (only what to do), we followed one lady. She brought us to one hostel just near the main street. There is one room at the 3rd floor there with a balcony and a view that I liked. We were told that a room would cost 150rmb especially for that kind of room (located at the higher floors and with a balcony) but we didn’t want to spend much and we’d agree to only 70rmb. They also have a room with no balcony that they offered for 50rmb. When they wouldn’t agree at first, we went back down to look for another place to stay at, not wanting to lose a customer, they gave in. We just have to give an extra 30rmb for key deposit. :)
TIP: Room rates are displayed by the lobby. They’re normally overpriced. Be sure to ask for a lower price. If you’re not satisfied with the amount, walk away. They will most probably come after you. If they don’t, keep in mind that there are tons of other inns in the area.
Securing a place to stay at, check! Next in the agenda was to fill our grumbling stomachs, we’re famished! We backtracked the path back to the terminal because there were lots of eateries and shops along the way. Since it was still a bit early, not all stalls were opened. However, there was an old man who was busy cooking on a claypot and the food looked appetizing so we ordered from him. I got chicken (why do I keep on ordering it in China?!!! It’s mostly just bones! Ugh! haha) *note to self: skip poultry dishes when on the mainland* while my companion had some pork,we had some tea to accompany it. Mmmm… Brunch! :)
Yangshuo is definitely a beautiful place. Everywhere you look at, there are karst mountains that add mystique to the area, I never tire of admiring them. Chinese architecture is seen on every building built. It doesn’t feel busy and has a relaxing atmosphere despite the many other tourists in the area. Walking around is a good way of discovering this place. We never got lost no matter if we took different streets nor went inside an alley or two. We even trekked another mountain there though we only got halfway up as the trail we were following didn’t lead all the way up. Another option is to rent a bike and then head out of the village to do more explorations, that one we plan to do on the next day. ;)
We never ran out of food nor drinks to try out. I loved their (rice) noodles! I want mine with chilis to it though. Yummy! haha Eating or drinking while walking there is common. :D
TIP: If you have the time to spare and would really love to live with the locals, a surefire way to save money while meeting tons of friends is to volunteer as an English teacher there for a couple of days. You only have to provide at least 2 hours of your time to talk to their students (they’ll practice their English skills with you) and you’ll be provided with a place to stay at, food, and they even organize trips for their volunteers. Sweet deal huh? ;)