Since we first entered China, we observed a fascination of Chinese tourists with Western tourists and their children in particular. During a boat ride on the Li River, there was an American family with small boys on board. Everybody tried to hold them, pat them, have them sit on their lap in the overcrowded bus from Xingpin back to Yangshuo. Or at least have their photo taken together with the kids!
This curiosity extends to western tourists in general. On West Street, we often watched young Chinese women, who usually come here with a tour group, asking young western men to have their photo taken with them, giggling like mad. The first time we became aware of this passion with westerns was during our very first bus ride after crossing the border from Macau. The local bus we were on stopped at a gas station, so did lots of others. We found people staring at us or taking photos of us. We figured these might be people from far away provinces, who have little contact with foreigners, but the Chinese tourists in Yangshuo are mainly well-off city people from Guangzhou or Shanghai.
Sally, the young lady who works at the Bamboo Hotel, where we stayed, even claimed that the presence of so many foreign tourists in Yangshuo was an additional incentive for Chinese tourists to come there. With so many hotels, restaurants and bars concentrated in such a small area, there is a 100% chance to have good viewing of westerners.
Our hostel, the new Bamboo Hotel, is a place we can highly recommend. The staff speaks good English, the rooms are clean and comfortable and they organize any excursion possible in the area. The top floor has a great view of the river and the hills.
Another place we learned to appreciate is the Yak Café on Gui Hua Road, parallel to West Street, right in the center of things happening. It is run by Andrew & Sula, one of the two will most likely carry their 4 months old son around. The food is great and the place is a smoke-free environment, something hard to find in China.