Yes, it’s a bit touristy, but it’s absolutely worth it!!
The scenery is breathtaking, it really makes you feel like a tiny speck on the landscape, the river runs lazily between the massive peaks.
They say that there’s 4000 boats to ferry people up and down the river, that’s perhaps a little over the top, but it does give you the opportunity to take some great photos of the quirks of people’s habits.
We met a really nice couple from the basque country, Ander and Janire, who we shared our boat with.
We met them later on for dinner, a pole dancing chicken to quote the menu.
Haha! How weird is that.
Back to the river then… The boats all looked tiny against the back drop of the steep sided karst mountains.
This is a place called Yangdi where the boats go from. It’s named after the mountain with two pointy peaks like a goat’s head so it’s called goat’s head pier.
The boats are made to look like bamboo but they’re actually PVC and have motors, the real bamboo boats are too flimsy to sail this far down a big river. We saw a load of them in Chaoyang village which will be one of the next posts.
We were actually on the boat for an hour, so you get a decent time to gawk at the mountains, to a place called Xingping. This is where the scenery on the 20 yuan note is, which we found exciting!
Of course on the note there’s a solitary fishermen with his cormorant fishing friend, and now in real life there’s a 100 tourist boats in the shot. Some things in life you just have to ignore.
Ander was wondering where all the places on the other notes are, and it reminded us of an American guy, called Alex, that we met in Huangshan who was visiting all the places on the Chinese notes. That’s a fun idea.
Xingping used to be a sleepy little place apparently now it’s not quite so sleepy with golf carts shuttling people from the river side to the local bus station where their tour buses are waiting to take them to Yangshuo. Yangshuo’s tourism has absolutely exploded and there’ll be more on that later. There is still a lot of opportunities to duck off the main road and find a sleepy little spot by the river though.