Yangshuo is a picturesque riverside town near Guilin in South East China.
Yangshuo is a popular place for its stunning river winding through the karst mountain landscape and rice fields.
There are plenty of things to do in Yangshuo. We spent almost a week in the pretty village enjoying its relaxed atmosphere and had to drag ourselves away.
On our last day, we decided to hire bicycles to go cycling through the Yangshuo countryside to the nearby town of Fuli.
It was a bumpy old back road that took us past farmers ploughing the fields with their buffaloes and little farm villages along the winding river.
We eventually arrived in the old Chinese town to wander the streets and to check out the strangely charming historic buildings and the fans they are famous for making.
As we were walking within the city walls by the river we were accosted by a small group of elderly friends sitting around a table by the river under an umbrella playing cards, singing and chatting.
They were excited by the foreign visitors and filled us with endless cups of green tea, peanuts and biscuits.
When it became evident that communication in Chinese was not going to happen, they whipped out their pen and paper and wrote down what they wanted to say in Chinese characters. Ahh! So that’s what you were trying to say.
When all else fails, you can turn to the universal language we all understand- music.
They got out their Chinese songbook, put on some music and started singing to us. Slowly they began to unveil their good China for instruments, passing us the wooden bangers and clappers instead. And then we started jammin.
We laughed and sang together, and I’m sure my attempts at following their lead to sing in Chinese sounded Russian to them, but they thoroughly enjoyed it and so did we.
Our Tommy Lee style finale got us big thumbs up and huge grins. They were really disappointed when it came time for us to bid them farewell.
Random travel encounters with the local people are so memorable. Sometimes even more so than the beauty of the jungled river landscape.
QUESTION: What have been some of your memorable cycling or random stranger meetings on your travels?
More Resources for China
Check out these helpful travel guides:
- China Survival Guide: How to Avoid Travel Troubles and Mortifying Mishaps, 3rd Edition
- Lonely Planet Discover China (Full Color Travel Guide)
- Grab your VPN for China here