Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Back to Yangshuo

Day 12 (3rd April 2011)
The return visit to Yangshuo was met with unexpected surprises.

The spot at Guilin Train Station/ bus terminal where I got on the bus to Yangshuo the first time has a bus parked there but it was locked. There were a few people milling around, expecting the driver to come anytime. After a lengthy wait and with the driver still missing, I went across the road to the bus terminal where the Yanghuo to Guilin bus terminated. There was no Yangshuo bus. I came back again and shortly later, I overheard that the Yangshuo bus was departing from the other end of the station.

Here was the first surprise. A long queue had already formed for the bus to Yangshuo. Fearing that it would take too long to wait for the bus, I began to have doubt. Should I go to Yangshuo again? As I was hesitating, the queue got longer. It was about 9:40 a.m. already. I decided to get into line and within minutes, the queue doubled in length.
Two buses came in succession, and I went for the second bus, doubting whether I would be able to get a seat as I was well behind the queue. I was turned away together with 3 - 4 hopeful passengers in front of me. The first bus was still able to take in more people and I went over to the first bus. I was lucky enough to get on board.

On reaching Yangshuo, I did not see the hostel touts I encountered the first time. Time must be good that they did not have to solicit for guests or they could be having lunch.  I went in search of accommodation at other hostels. Here was surprise no. 2. Fawlty Towers Hotel rate was RMB200. It was a real shocker. It could not be that expensive! I went to the hostel just behind and the rate was RMB150 for a dilapidated room. What happened to the cheap hostel rooms in Yangshuo? I decided to go back to Sons of West Street Hostel again. The rate was now RMB150, more than doubled from the RMB65 I paid a few days earlier. The fact had finally begun to sink in. This was the rate during the holiday season. I realised only then that I was in Yangshuo during the peak period, i.e. during the Qing Ming Festival holidays. There was regret. I should not have come but continue to stay in the RMB70 room in Guilin. Then again, I would be wasting time in Guilin. Going back to Guilin might see me getting a hostel room which had climbed in prices too. After asking for a discount, I was offered a rate of RMB140 per night as I was a "former" guest of the hostel, for two nights' stay. I took it after some hesitation.

Outside, the weather did not look too good. I had originally planned to cycle to Moon Hill that afternoon and to Xingping the following day. With the light drizzle, it was not a good idea. As a result, a good part of the afternoon was spent in Yangshuo itself.

The first destination was to Binjiang Road, to the section which I had not gone before. This was the pier where the big cruise boats from Guilin came to berth. Cruise boats came and went.

Next, it was exploring other streets.

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