Are Yangshuo people dishonest?

Yangshuo people

Are Yangshuo people dishonest? The sad answer to this is that yes they are, with the reputation being known not just by foreigners, but throughout China. Sadly this has steadily affected the tourism industry here.

And I will add that this is not a race thing as I am not saying this about China, nor am I saying its about all of Yangshuo. But, Yangshuo has a reputation and after living here I must say that it is funky deserved.

What is the reputation of Yangshuo

The reputation for people in Yangshuo is that they charge exorbitant prices for poor goods, or services and are not at all honest. This view is pretty famous throughout China and for foreigners that come here.

Why is this so? Well Yangshuo was basically the first place in China to open to tourists from abroad. This occurred whilst Yangshuo was still a backwater and people were not all that educated. At this time merely knowing some English was enough.

This meant that those in the tourist industry could earn astronomical sums compared to “normal” people. Thus the association for getting a “big score” from tourists took hold and has never ever left, to sometimes communal level.

Are Yangshuo people dishonest? The 4 tier pricing system

Muti-tiered pricing Yangshuo used to be very prevalent, but has to an extent died out. When I had the DMZ Bar here a Tsingtao was 10 RMB for locals and 15 for tourists. The problem was some people would be a mixture of the two. This could lead to times when two people could be sitting at your bar talking, but paying different prices.

Foreigners could be quite belligerent about this, so I just stopped selling Tsingtao. Foreigners though did not invent the system, with that being done by the people of Yangshuo, with it looking a little something like;

Tier 1 – Yangshuo people that are Chinese get the cheapest price on everything. People from outside of Yangshuo do not qualify.

Tier 2 – Foreigners and Chinese that live in Yangshuo. They will pat an OK price for things.

Tier 3 – Chinese tourists will less than foreigners, but are still seen as cash cows to be milked.

Tier 4 – Foreign tourists are the biggest whales for Yangshuo people. Sadly because this occasionally works they will try to overcharge even if it makes no sense.

And this tier system is incredibly well known and has been featured on Chinese social media.

The decline of Yangshuo

And it is principally for this reason that both foreign and high end Chinese have stopped coming to Yangshuo. I saw this during the 5 years that I was here. Essentially Chinese people felt that they might as well go to Thailand rather than pay ridiculous sums within their own country, while foreigners just went to other places.

Said decline then pushed out Chinese and indeed foreign businesses, which again put off people from actually coming here. Formerly a hippie backpacker type town, now few of the foreigners are left.

Yet despite this the people of Yangshuo did not pull back, but instead doubled down, with the government even introducing new fees, in line with cities such as Dali which again just put people off.

I can explain the mentality best with the following story. Many years ago I left my bar at 5 am in October. It was cold and raining with there hardly being tourist in town. I went to get a bike taxi and was wearing a shirt and had a laptop bag. I asked the price in Chinese and he said 100 RMB – it is usually 10. I told him where to go and went to get another driver as they guy chased me.

The point here is that even though there was only perhaps 1 in 10,000 chance I might agree his mentality was that he could not risk not trying.

Sadly the same just happened to me in Xingping as one of the scores of taxi drivers (that no one was using) tried to rip me off.

Are Yangshuo people dishonest? Yes and they are unlikely to cage before the whole town simply tanks.