After recently visiting and reviewing some very off the beaten track and somewhat average Vietnamese cities in Lang Son and Cao Bang I was offered the chance to visit Yongzhou in Hunan province, as a friend of mine had some work to do here.
A quick search of travel guides for Yongzhou, or what to do in Yonzghou yielded zero results, so I therefore deemed it worthy of my efforts.
How to get to Yongzhou
Yongzhou is one hour north-east by fast train from bustling metropolis of Guilin. Just kidding; Guilin is not bustling metropolis, but Yongzhou will make you think it is. Another 90 minutes would get you to Changsha, home of Chairman Mao, and it’s a few hours south to Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
Accommodation in Yongzhou
The more I think about it, staying in crap cities is a bit of a thing of mine partly because you can get a suite for the same price as you’d get a normal room in a normal city. I stayed at the Vienna Hotel near the train station. Inexplicably there’s two Vienna hotels in Yongzhou. The hotel was fabulously over the top, with weird art and a breakfast we didn’t bother with. At $50 a night you couldn’t complain.
More budget-conscious travelers could get a room for a little under $10 if you don’t mind the semen content of your sheets.
What to see?
What is there to see in Yongzhou? Well this article is likely to become the Yongzhou travel guide! There’s a river that cuts through the city that is nice to walk down when it’s not raining (it rains a lot). There’s a few nice parks in Yongzhou, and about 23km out of town there’s a place called Ping Island that is apparently popular with Chinese tourists.
Yongzhou itself looks like it’s 6 months into a zombie apocalypse with most of the roads in a state of poor repair. This makes walking, or even getting a cab, difficult.
What to eat?
There seemed to be two things to eat in Yongzhou. If you need Western food there is one KFC and no McDonalds; hell, there is not even a Dico’s in Yongzhou. There is Wallace Fried Chicken, a place that our local friends were shocked to find did not exist on every corner of the world. When I eat fried chicken from McDonalds I feel like I am cheating on KFC, but at least I am cheating with a high-class whore. This felt like cheating with a street walker. If fried chicken could give you AIDS, Wallace would be the culinary equivalent of barebacking a Djibouti hooker.
The second thing to eat was street BBQ, and I have to say the street food of Yongzhou got a big thumbs up, with particular specialties being freshly cut snake, pig penis, and nuclear snake liquor. The local food is spicy and getting rid of it was harder than eating it.
Nightlife of Yongzhou?
A local girl added me on WeChat and offered for me to come to her bar where I could buy 12 beers for $50 and share it with pretty girls who would drink with me. This did not sound fun.
Alternatively, there’s eating BBQ and necking beers, much like any provincial Chinese town. Not without its charms, and at least the street food in Yongzhou is good.
Lastly every convenience store seemed to have chairs where people would buy beer and snacks and sit around the Quick-E-Mart chewing the fat. We didn’t do this.
Is it worth visiting Yongzhou?
Not unless you really like visiting undeveloped shit Chinese cities, but that being said the night we spent out with the locals of Yongzhou was fun. They assured us if you “scratch beneath the surface” Yongzhou can be quite a fun place. I’ll probably never find out.
Getting out of Yongzhou
One of the best things to do in Yongzhou is to leave Yongzhou. There’s one train station for fast routes to a number of places with the main ones being to Guilin, from where you can easily get to Yangshuo, or east to Changsha, capital of the province of home of the Chairman.