Yangshuo - scam capital of China!

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Yangshuo - scam capital of China!

Postby long_way » Fri Sep 12, 2008 5:59 pm

Yangshow, Yangshaw, Yangshee.. Oh, Yangshuo

November 12th 2006 by Preston_66

Originally published at:

( http://www.travelblog.org/Asia/China/Gu ... 03821.html )

almost identical account was given at our SCAM ARCHIVES page: http://www.yilongwei.com/tips/scam_arch ... gshuo_scam

Yes thats right. Bev can not remember the pronunciation of the city which would become the highlight of our trip. She was able to pronounce Yangshuo every single possible way but the right way. But whats in a name. The important part was we were going to see a city south of Guilin in the heart of the Li River Valley. Famous for their beautiful hills, rivers and boat rides. Although very touristy in the city of Yangshuo, if you just take a quick bike ride or bus out of the city, you enter a completely different world. A world of farmers and farms, cows and fields of various vegetables and fruits. With many tourists comes many con-artists. Bev and I were fortunate enough to have a taste of this art.

We were on a bus heading from Guilin to Yangshuo when the bus made its normal bus stops along the way when a good looking man got on the bus and sat close to us. He turned back and started making small talk. "Where are you from? Are you going to Yangshuo? Do you like China?" yadda yadda. Now usually when people talk to me on trips I don't talk mainly for the fact that 98% of the time they're trying to sell me something I'm completely not interested in. He then proceeded to ask me what hotel I was staying in. I replied with "The Bamboo Inn" which we found in our trusty China Travel Guide. "Really! Thats my brothers hotel! When we get to Yangshuo I'll give him a call and he can walk you there." Sounded like a good deal. He wasn't asking for money, so I was game. We got off the bus and began our walk down the street when a guy came up and said, "Hey your looking for the Bamboo Inn right (as he showed us a card of Bamboo in)? My name in Thomas. I'll take you there. We walked for about 5 mins and got to the hotel.

He took us up to a room to show us and see if it was to our liking. It was so so and a little more pricey than we thought it should be but we payed him for two nights. It definitely wasn't as nice as what the travel guide had said it would be but maybe the writer had a different opinion of the place. Because it was early in the morning, the room had not been cleaned yet which kindof annoyed me for some reason.

Maybe because I had been carrying my heavy backpack for long enough and was not ready to leave it in the room while some odd Joe cleaned the room. As I looked around the room Thomas would not stop talking about all these tours we could take for what he thought was cheap. He obviously didn't know that we knew what a fair price and a con would be. Or so I thought. After telling this guy to stop talking about 6 times I started to get a feeling comparable to Spidermans Spidey Senses. Something was up. No hotel person is this annoying unless theres a big pay off to be won. I began to wonder if the Chinese characters at the front of the hotel did indeed say "Bamboo Inn". Had we been taken? No. We couldn't have.

After telling Thomas to stop talking another 4 times and insisting we go downstairs to get a business card he finally shut up. When we got down stairs he handed me a card that said "Yangshuo Night Hotel". We were duped. Man did he see us coming. After giving him a look like I was ready to knock his head off and demanding he give us our money back, he did. I'll tell you though. That scam probably works 1/4 times with foreigners. But how did we fall for it? Maybe because I've become accustomed to people not blatantly lying to my face. But I'm Canadian. Its in my blood to give a stranger the benefit of the doubt. But you learn from your mistakes and we luckily lost no money in the process.

After a quick look at a map and 30 mins of walking we found the REAL Bamboo Inn. A nice hostel that was in a great location. Our first activity of the day would be the Li River Boat cruise. You have the option to take a ride on a big cruiser but I would suggest you take a small boat as we did. You're able to sit low to the water and you're also much less crowed. We relaxed on the boat for about an hour and a half, and viewed the stunning scenery. The boat ride is another one of those Must Do things when you visit Yangshuo. Passing by local farmers and cows in the water makes all for a great experience.

We got back to the hostel in good time and were able to go have supper and a couple beers before we set off to do some Cormorant night fishing. A cormorant is a bird that has the ability to dive under the water for long periods of time and catch fish. When the bird catches a fish they will bring it to the surface and flip it up into their mouths. Night fishing is much easier to fish because the local fishermen do what in Canada we call SpotFishing (which happens to also be highly illegal in Canada). SpotFishing is when you shine lights into the water to attract fish to the area and surface. To prevent the birds from swallowing the fish the fishermen tie strings around the birds neck, restricting them from expanding their necks enough to swallow the fish. How these birds do not choke, I don't know. Once the fisherman notices that a bird had swallowed a fish the man will pick the bird up out of the water with a bamboo stick, and work the fish up out of the birds neck and mouth into a basket. This is a skill that has been used for many years by the locals for catching food for their meals and for sale. Supposedly the night we went was an unusual night because of the amount and size of fish that the birds were catching. The fishermen looked very excited which made it very exciting for us to watch.
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