Monday, April 25, 2011

Huangyao Ancient Town

Day 4 (26th March 2011)

When I came back to Yangshuo yesterday, I mentioned to the employee/ tout at the hostel that I intended to go Huangyao today. I asked her whether there was any agency organising such a tour. She said she could help to obtain information about it and asked me to discuss with her that night. However, I also realised that I would be at her mercy should she decide to jack up the price that night. Where would I go to book the trip as an alternative when it was already nightfall? In view of that, I decided to inquire from the local travel agents the same evening. Yes, they did offer the Huangyao package, although this was obviously not a popular destination. The price advertised was RMB198 but the travel agency would offer RMB150 for the trip, inclusive of entrance ticket and bus fare. The second agency offered the same thing, so, I accepted the offer there and then.

There was actually very little material on the internet on Huangyao. There were even fewer pictures. Originally, I had wanted to go there on public transport but based on the available information, it was always mentioned that the bus departed from Guilin, not Yangshuo. This would require changing of buses at a town called Hezhou, formerly Babu. In view of the hassle (and time wasted), I decided to join a tour for the trip to Huangyao from Yangshuo directly.

Jamie, the agency manager of Guilin Shanshui International Travel Service who signed me up did not come to the hostel to pick me up as promised. Instead, she sent someone to the hostel to lead me to the coach which would be departing at 9:30 a.m. However, the last two passengers, the two westerners only turned up at about 9:45 a.m. and only then, did we leave.

We reached Huangyao at about 11:00 a.m. The ancient town of Huangyao is fantastically beautiful, and ancient. According to the tour guide, it was built during the Ming Dynasty. There was the old building in their ancient state, the river where the movie “The Painted Veil” was filmed (as mentioned by Am of sayingtheunsaid blog), beautiful arch bridges, etc. I just loved them. According to the tour guide, Huangyao is populated by Cantonese, and indeed I heard it spoken among the locals.

There were actually two tour guides, both young pretty things, leading us on this tour. The one who accompanied us from Yangshuo did not speak English hence, on reaching Huangyao, she sought the assistance of another guide who speaks English, for the sake of the two westerners and myself. What a nice gesture, but unfortunately, as in most tour packages, the guides were ignored when they tried to explain the history of Huangyao. What a pity!

I actually spoke to both guides about the location where the film "The Painted Veil" was shot. The Chinese-speaking guide had no idea about this film whereas the English-speaking guide actually showed me the location. She also said that she has the film on her computer.


  1. I always like a trip to ancient town. Oh, I missed out on this one during my Guilin trip. Thanks for sharing!

  2. And I missed Daxu Old Town because I got fed up after being given the wrong directions twice to the correct bus station to take the bus to Daxu.

  3. Oh yes, my friend had the wine tasting there! and I really enjoyed the snacks! Very similar with what we have here in Malaysia right?

    I missed my trip there...

  4. Hahaha!

    Am, so I guessed it right. Yeah, the snacks is similar.

  5. Hi, I will be going to YangShuo 2 weeks from now and may join the day tour abovementioned to HuangYao. Do you remember that time the tour ended (when you reached YangShuo)? I need to catch a bus to XingPing thereafter :)


  6. Hi Anonymous,

    I hope this reply is not too late for you. If I remember correctly, the bus departed from Huangyao at 3:30 p.m. You should be back in Yangshuo at about 5:00 p.m.