The whole town says the bus ride takes 9-10 hours... it doesn't! I took more than 12! The wouldn't let me and some other backpackers pput our stuff under the bus because there was no more room. Our bags were sitting next to other random people on the bus all night long. Might have been my own fault but I ended up losing my passport. Don't lose your passport in China! It's a particularly bad place to lose it!
On our cruise to Yangshuo from Guilin, there were many local kids lingered along the riverbank... I noticed most of them had a long stick with tuck net on the top. First, I thought they were playing around or trying to catch fish or something like that. But the lady worked on our ferry told us they were actually waiting for catching something we may throw to them.. hundreds ferry passed by everyday, many tourists used to throw snacks, toys even money into the water when their ferry passed by. Then the children walked into the water pick them up with the long stick. That's why they wait along the bank now.. yet a tragedy happened a few years ago, there was a little boy tried to pick up a 100 note near the ferry, he went too close to the ferry, then accidentally he got engulfed into the screw...
So please remember, DO NOT throw anything to the kids.
Since Yanghuo is such a big tourist spot, they will rip you off for anything and many people pay that high price for things. For something that costs 10RMB people would tell me 150. Almost every single store here you can bargain at. I have even seen chinese people pay quite a bit for things as there are many chinese tourists as well. So just be carefull with how much you pay.
Some tour guide in Yanshuo are good, and some aren't. My tour guide over charged us (100Y each, 50Y or less is typical) and new nothing of the area. He just took us from place to place and got kickbacks from inflated prices.
Try to find a guide someone recommends.
On entering the city a tout asked us if we wanted to see his hotel. He said they started at $US 30. I laughed, said no and kept walking. He followed. I asked politely for him to leave us alone. His English was good so I know he understood. After ten minutes, he was still following us. I intentionally bumped into him and said more directly leave us alone. Ten more minutes followed and he was still following us. I eventually swore at him in Chinese. He got very upset and told me I was ruining his country. He's trying to rip me off and then irritates me by following me for more than half an hour, but somehow I was ruining his country.
This eventually worked as he left us alone.
As all backpackers know, bottled water is a must in all of China if you don't want to spend all of your vacation on a tiolet. One popular Chinese brand, Wahaha has a red and white label with a cheesy picture of a man on the front. As all backpackers also know the Chinese have mastered the art of copying name brands. My friend bought a bottle of Wahaha with a green label one day, he was so thirsty, and then noticed that the water tasted funny. Later that evening he was very ill, and the sickness continued into the morning. We gave him a rehydration packet and everything was OK. Always when buying water, make sure that the bottles have the safety seal, and that name brand labels look EXACTLY like they should.
This is just a general tip-When you do go on some of these bicycle tours or venture off on your own, beware of being charged to stand on someone's property or being charged for unwanted or unsolicited company. When we went to the Fuli village we were met by a "student" on the road who wanted to hang out with us to learn better English. By this time we new the tricks so we told him up front that there would be no money exchange for this "friendship" When it was time to leave he asked for money for his "tourguide" services and got very angry when we were not willing to cave. We had set the standards up front. However, it is still very scary when you are miles away from Yangshuo with only a bike as your getaway vehicle!
In this region of China, the weather can change very quickly and catch you by surprise... One day, when we were there, it was hot and sunny out... Suddenly, the wind started to pick up speed, and you could see storm clouds on the horizon... Within about 10 to 15 minutes, a heavy rain shower commenced, with high winds and a temperature drop of at least 5 - 7 degrees celcius! In this picture, people have pulled out their umbrellas due to the onset of rain showers...
Climbing Moon Hill can be very dangerous so take special care, especially when bypassing the "no admittance" sign and making your way to the summit. During this final part of the ascent, there is no cement and the path becomes a very thin dirt trail that winds around the peak... When it rains, the trail becomes extremely muddy and slippery, increasing the level of danger... There are some steep cliffs as well, and the trail is also full of sharp jagged rocks so if you fall, you could wind up badly injured as happened to one unlucky hiker on the day we were there... All we saw was his blood spattered all over these rocks (click on photo to enlarge), and it looked like he had a pretty nasty fall...! This is one place you don't want to get injured, because you're a long way from medical help in this area...
Around noon all the boats from Guilin arrive in Yangshuo. Then thousands of tourists from all over the world enter the streets of Yangshuo for souvenir-shopping. After a short time they go back to Guilin by bus. Then Yangshuo is again in the hands of the backpackers, who enjoy the banana-pancake and beer in the many restaurants.
Not dangerous, but scary nevertheless: bugs the size of mobile phones! Luckily they get smaller and smaller every year.....