We stayed at this Homestay in May, 2008. We paid 240 Yuan, (approx. $35 USD) total per night for a private ensuite. Room was on the third floor, there is no lift. Room was on the small side. There was a small balconey, A/C, no TV, no phone, no fans. There was no place to set luggage other than on the floor or beds. There was no closet or any place to hang clothes, a bit odd. Room was clean with only two single beds and one nightstand for furnishings. Beds were extremely hard, even by Chinese strandards. There is a common room with one PC w/free internet.
This place is touted as a great 'cultural' experience on many forums/traveler reviews and on the hotel's web page on the internet. It's web page advertises that you can experience/learn: Chinese Cooking, Chinese Tai-chi, Chinese Language, Chinese Brush painting, Chinese Calligraphy. Price is stated to include 3 meals a day. This place is marketed with the premise being that you will be enjoying a great Homestay experience. Free in town pickup available. Sounded like a great experience and we anticipated our stay there as being the highlight of our Yangshuo experience. That was not the case though.
When we called from the bus station for free pickup, there was none available, we were told to make our way there on our own. No classes, formal or informal, were offered while we were there, for free or otherwise. No lunch was offered, when we enquired about lunch we were told that it is not served because guests are not expected to be around at lunch time. There was no dining with the family. The meal was prepared by the family, but they did not dine with the guests. To put it in Mr Wei, the owner's own words, and I quote:"We don't eat with you are beacuse we have a diffrent way to cook and we eat that you are not used to eat's things." Pretty much sums this place up, 'Cutural experience' wise.
Breakfast consisted of toast/w jam, tea, and bananas. Dinner was numerous Chinese dishes along with french fries.
This is not a place to experience Chinese culture....I highly recommend avoiding this place.
Unique Quality: Hmmmmm......well, it's not on/near West Street.
Directions: Head towards Gulin, pass the gas station on left, walk about another 2 minutes to sign on right side. It's down that street. About 15 minute walk from Bus station.
Better yet, go elsewhere.
The Yangshuo Culture House is fairly basic as a hotel, but that is made up by Mr. Wei, an English-speaking father who is helpful, accomodating and very pleasant company. The Lonely Planet said that this hotel goes for about 80RMB per night, however, it is 80RMB per person per night. During the Spring Festival, which is when we were here (we are here at the time of writing, proven by the relentless sounds of fireworks...) the rates are about 120RMB per person per night. I need to contact the LP about the price difference. The hotel's website says per person per night.
It's a bit far out of town, about a 1.7km from the bus station says the Lonely Planet, (though we timed it at 20 minutes at a leisurely pace) but it's also probably usually more quiet than the in-town places (if you don't come New Year's Day. If you do, you'll find the streets littered with the matte red casings of thousands upon thousands of spent firecrackers.
The room is basic, with standard hard beds, a heater/air conditioner (which is struggling this winter) but the whole place is spotless. There is a balcony that runs around to the front, a TV and internet room (one TV, one computer, and I'm on it and on VT! So wait your turn!) During the Spring Festival it's not very busy, so access to the computer shouldn't be hard. They have Skype. There are some movies, but they may not be recogized in the DVD player.
The hotel is located on a side street about 20 minutes walk from the bus station. Head approximately northwest on Pan Tao Lu out of town. You'll pass a Sinopec gas/petrol station on your left, nestled in the angle of a "Y" shaped intersection. Stay right. Keep going, but when you can, get on the smaller side street that runs parallel to the main road (separated by a hedgerow). (When the road narrows, you've gone too far.) Be on the lookout for a fading yellow sign that says "Yangshuo Culture House". Take a right. It's the last building on the right, and says "Yangshuo" on the outside wall. Ring the bell. You can also call for a pickup.
Unique Quality: Mr. Wei can help you with things to do around town and they offer calligraphy and Chinese lessons, I believe, among other things. I'm sure they can help arrange tours and trips. We're going on our own, so I haven't done much research on that front here, but Mr. Wei is a great source of information.
Meals (all three) are included in the price whether you eat them or not. For dinner one night we had six plates: dumplings, shrimp, chicken and mushrooms with ginger, cauliflower, stuffed peppers and another vegetable dish I forgot to try... lots of food. It's really nice to sit down to home-cooked food at their table, though we eat with the other guests. At the time of writing, beer cost 4RMB and other drinks cost about the same. Breakfast of toast, jam, butter, peanut butter and fruit got us going, ad was happily provided to us even though we got up after the breakfast time of 8:30am to 12pm.
In short, it's a friendly, family-run place that is probably much better than our cold, February room is letting on. They give you toilet paper, but no soap or towels (that we know of) so keep that in mind. I'm sure it's easy enough to get.
It's a nice, family place. Highly recommended.
Photos of the rooms, facilities and how to get here will be up as soon as I get home!
Directions: See Describe Your Stay section!
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