We had to meet our tour for the Li River cruise at 8am we took all of our stuff as we were hoping to stay in Yangshou over night and return in time for the sleeper bus.We were on the Panda tour so we had to wear little panda badges, we were driven for about 30 minutes to the souvenir quayside where boarded the boat as it was too shallow in Guilin.The scenery was fantastic all the way along the river and it was a really clear day.The riverbank and hillsides were being farmed and there was one area on the hill that had crops growing but it looked impossible to get to as it was so steep, so we are not sure how this particular place is harvested.Along the way we saw herds of water buffalo both in and out of the water and small fishing boats selling their catch to the tourist boats like ours.We had our included lunch with a Spanish couple and the food was really good, there were numerous dishes including, fish balls, noodles, pork, samosa type things, egg and of course rice but the bonus was a beer!There were lots of other tourist boats like ours and ever motor boats doing the same route and it does spoil the atmosphere as it seems that you are just in a tourist in a line it does not feel as natural as it could.We arrived at Yangshou and our guide had offered to help us find some accommodation for the night, so we were met by a lady who took us and 2 Northern Irish people to a hotel.We checked n but there was no other room for the others. Once we got in to the room I noticed some ants on the sideboards and when I looked in the bed they were there too.We looked at another room and it was the same so we got a refund and left.The next place we found was where the others were and this one was fine.The village is really small with one main road which has lots of bars, cafes, small clothes shops, where Wayne brought some shorts and souvenir shops.At the top of the road is a KFC and the bus station.On our way out for dinner we went to the riverside and there were lots of locals swimming and floating down the river on rings and blow-up beds.It was nice to just sit and watch as the sun set.We also watched the bamboo rafts follow the cormorant fishing, this is where the fisherman has a cormorant and it ducks into the water and when it comes up it regurgitates the fish.The rafts were of tourists paying to watch this, we decided we were better off staying on the bank.We had a nice meal, a wander around the market where I brought a pashmina and a silk scarf and then off for a drink.
The next morning after very little sleep, as the building next door had been demolished brick by brick since the early hours, we went for a quick breakfast and then tot the bus station where we got on a mini-bus to take us back to Guilin. Yangshou was a very nice place that has been influenced to much by tourism, it is also quite expensive, however I think we could have stayed another night although we would have had to have changed hotels!
Back in Guilin we waited to be picked up and be taken to our sleeper bus.We were picked up by a Chinese guy in a taxi who could speak no English, when we got to the bus we put our bags in the bottom and then we were led off by a different Chinese guy who could also speak no English.We figured out that he wanted us to wait for over an hour before the bus was due to depart, I felt really nervous as it was all so unclear.We got collected after an hour and were taken to the bus, we had to take or shoes off as we got on and we were basically put in our bunks.There were 2 levels top and bottom and 3 rows, left, middle and right and we counted that 47 people could sleep on the bus.We were at the back, both on the top me in the middle and Wayne on my left, there was not a lot of room at all.Once we were out of the station the road was already quite bumpy, but it got worse and at some points we were both being shot up in the air, quite scary.After an hour we reached Yangshou where there was another stop and as we left it looked as though there were people sitting in the aisles as well, I am sure this was not safe.We made another odd stop at a warehouse where it looked as though the bus was being loaded up with crates all a bit strange but I felt a bit better when Wayne noticed they were full of crates.The people in the aisles were ushered of the bus and after 10 more minutes of driving they were put back on, all very strange it was as if they shouldn't be there but after we passed maybe a check point they jumped back on.I am sure it was not comfortable for anyone on the bottom bunk or the floor for that matter as there was no room at all.