Unfortunately, tours arranged for foreigners are ridiculously expensive. You can expect to pay several hundred yuan for one of these. However, this can be easily avoided if you look around the cafes in Yangshuo asking about cheaper (albeit illegal) boat rides. We arranged ours at the Mei You Cafe, and got a very nice 2 hour boat ride for 30 Yuan (plus another 5 yuan for bus fare to the small village upriver where we boarded the boat).
The trip was illegal because it was on a local transport vessel that isn't licensed to carry foreign tourists. Therefore the operator of the boat was eager to charge us at least ten times what he would transport locals for and we still got a really good deal at a fraction of the cost of the licensed foreigner tours that are legal for us.
The "illegalness" of it actually added to the trip's appeal. Every now and then, when we had to pass a police checkpoint, we all had to crouch down against the floor of the boat and hide. I felt like a fugitive. It was fun. (I was in no danger though. Had we been caught, it would have been the been the boatman, not me or my friends, who would have been in trouble)
The sights along the boat ride were, of course, stunning, and very distinctively Chinese. This is where you find the oddly-shaped, columnar mountains, lushly green and dotted with quaint settlements, that you have seen depicted countless times in Chinese art.
The weather cleared up ever so slightly that afternoon and during the course of those two hours we were cursed with only overcast skies and sporadic bits of light rain. However, despite the minor discomfort due to the weather, the fog and drizzle did nothing to diminish the impressiveness of the scenery. If anything, the clouds made the area appear more exotic and mysterious.
Results 1-2of 2 Reviews
February 24, 2006
From journal Cliffs, Caves, Cruises
by Lauren T
May 1, 2002
From journal Short Stay in Yangshuo