This post is written by Katie, about her solo trip to Yangshuo.
Today I woke at 7am, and ate breakfast at 7:30am on Huanggong Garden Hotel‘s front porch. Today’s breakfast had different fruits than yesterday’s: mangos and passion fruit. It was just as good as yesterday’s, and seriously worth the ¥35.
Today I set out on what I was told was a popular, easy-to-follow bike ride along the Yu Long River. It did not seem to be popular, and it was certainly not easy to follow. As you can see by my track, there are a lot of points where I backtracked, sometimes even multiple times. The best was when I made a loop near Huang Tu because I was having serious trouble finding either of the paths across a stream to Xin Zhai.
The route began easily, with many other tourists making their way to the Xing Long bamboo raft area. I got a bit turned around and biked through the actual Xing Long village before backtracking and finding the main path leading out of the tour bus parking lot.
I missed a turn in Huang Tu and ended up biking past Yan Men (and up a large mountain) and intersecting the interstate. I knew this was wrong, so I consulted my map and backtracked (over the large mountain again) to Huang Tu. Then I probably spent an hour biking all around the countryside on all sides of Yan Men. One farmer lady probably correctly waved me down and noted my path down a rough dirt track was incorrect (or I assume that is what she was saying). Some men building a house yelled at me when I tried to turn around at one point, where turning around was probably the right move (since when I got back near that point, I found the correct path). I assume they were trying to help me get back to Yangshuo, but that’s not what I wanted at that point.
Once I finally found the correct path leaving Huang Tu, I only mistakenly found a path (maybe the correct one? probably not – I think it was the hiking trail) to the bridge at Yu Long. I stopped to chat with a Swiss family who gave me some useful information in navigating this path.
Once at the bridge in Yu Long, I had to carry my bike over the stone arch bridge. Good thing I had a high-quality, light-weight bike! Of course, the touts really wanted to sell me a bamboo ride here.
From the bridge, it was really easy to find the right path, although the path did turn to narrow, rocky, mud field paths in at least one place. If you bike all the way to the end of the road (like I did), it dead-ends at the river. The Swiss family claimed they had to bargain really hard to get a reasonable price to be ferried across, but I did not enquire what their final deal was. I did not want to be hassled with bargaining, so I rode back and easily crossed the bridge at Da Shi Zhai to Jui Xian.
The ride back to Chao Yang was easy, and then I decided to take the path towards Long Tang and Moon Hill. Once I got on the interstate, I was sickened by all of the touts! Although I rode all the way down to Moon Hill with the intention of going in, all of the touts and sellers completely turned me off. Plus I searched on my phone for whether Moon Hill was worth it, and decided it was not worth the hassle. So I took the same path back to my hotel in Ji Ma.
I crashed for a few hours, and then went out to search for dinner. I tried the restaurant, Pica-Pica Cafe, in Ji Ma village (where my hotel is) that claims on their sign to serve Western, Thai, Chinese, and Pizza. They seemed very surprised I was alone, but provided great service. I ordered a local beer (12), chicken burrito (28), and french fries (20, and the basket was huge!). Everything was great, although it was a bit strange that they served the burrito with a glove instead of a knife and fork. Pica-Pica cafe is very well decorated, and you can tell the staff works hard to keep the ambiance causal but nice. They had bug coils burning, and were watering the plants when I arrived. Overall, a winner!