Yangshuo is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and as such is visited by throngs of international and domestic tourists throughout the year. Whilst the feeling is vibrant, the parties wild and the people-watching unmatched, the downsides are also bad traffic, high prices and unfortunately deceitful traders.
After living here for over a year, I have had my fair share of bad experiences. So, without further ado, here are my top five tricks to be avoided in Yangshuo.
1. Big Bayan Tree
This is the most straightforward and immediately obvious scam of all time. It’s peddled on brochures and guidebooks and advertised in hostels. But it’s just a big tree. Not even that big. An averagely large tree, 15RMB for your troubles.
2. Scooter Taxi Prices
Generally speaking, if you’re trying to get from A to B, a ride on a scooter taxi will cost you 10RMB. However, factors such as what kind of day the guy is having, whether you know where you’re going exactly, if it’s raining, how drunk you are or even just how much of a foreigner you look will all affect the price drastically. No matter how persistent they are (unless you really have gone on a longer journey), my basic remedy is to pass them 10RMB, and get gone.
3. “Nice” looking restaurants
After arriving in a place you don’t know, looking for a restaurant with nice local food (or a long awaited pizza, whatever floats your boat), can be a fun challenge. However, be warned; the closer to West Street you are, the more touristy it looks, the more loudly they shout at you “LIKE-A-CHINESE-A-FOOD”, the higher the price and crucially, the lower the quality. You can get great Chinese food in Yangshuo made by people who wouldn’t dream of ripping you off, however these are very difficult to find for locals and tourists alike. Look online, listen to people, and once you’re there, keep tabs on what you ordered for when the bill comes.
4. Fake Brands
Whilst “New Barlun” is obviously not the real deal, some fakes are more subtle. From clothes to cigarettes, shoes to baby products and everything in between, in China, if it exists, there’s a fake of it floating around somewhere. Whilst watching a middle aged woman walk past wearing a “Hello Kratty” t-shirt may invoke a quiet chortle, drinking a “Budwezer” might ruin your night. Remain vigilant.
5. Tourist Sim Card
Getting a sim card in China is a great idea, as data is affordable, Wi-Fi sparse and much of the time, login requires a number. But walking into China Unicom without a Chinese speaker handy is going to cost you. You’ll get a number alright, but data is unlikely to last the most responsible user more than a few days at least, and the card will expire after one month. Yes, this wonderful deal is called the “tourist card”, and will most likely be around the 200RMB mark. You can get a sim card with 3GB of data, calls and texts for between 100-150! It’s a no brainer!