We caught the bus at 7 a.m. along with the pair of rather dopey young upper-crust English people we’d met the previous day. They had ended up buying new tickets and had made it to Wuzhou on the same boat as us.
The trip to Yangshou was long and cold, with misty rain and a cold wind taking any remaining colour – save for green and grey – out of the sodden landscape. By early afternoon the hill country had given way to valleys and plains, then the Karst formations of the Gulin area began to appear: strange finger-like projections swathed in green and shrouded in mist. Quiet rivers twisted like snakes amongst the peaks and the paddy fields, wet and muddy, encroached to their very bases.
At Yangshuo we were dumped off the bus outside a hotel whose touts do their very best to get us inside…but we knew where we heading and walked down to the Xilang Shan Hotel and got a three-bed dorm room for eight Yuan each.