We have heard about illegal boat operators on the Li River before we came here. So we booked a Li River cuise with the International Youth Hostel on West Street, thinking that the boat ride was legitimate. They told us to meet at dawn the next morning. A van took seven or eight of us to this place (about 15 to 20 mintues away, near Xingping)next to the Li River. We got on the boat and cruised the river with sunrise as backdrop.
It turned out that our boat was one of those illegal ones. As we were heading back, the boat operator got a call on his cell phone about the inspection at the dock and hurried us onto a sand bar on the other side of the river so that he wouldn't be caught with passagers and fined. Nobody from our boat was alarmed or concerned, we just laughed it off and hanged out on the sand bar in the middle of the river.
Later, the boat operator paid the bamboo raft operators to take us back across the river and dropped us off not too far from the dock. We have no idea where we were, we followed the crowd and walked this long concrete path (through vegetable fields) back to the main street and found several vans waiting to take passagers back to Yangshuo for 2 yuan. And that conclude our Li River cuise and Xingping excursion.
It was more exciting than I expected!!!