Comorant Fishing in Yangshuo

Towards the end of my stay in Yangshuo I gave in, I broke, I decided to go see the Comorant Fishermen. It was as staged for the tourists’ pleasure, and as packed with tourists, as I expected but it still managed to be unbelievably awesome.

We were all packed into this boat and sailed onto the river where we were joined by two fishermen on bamboo rafts along with their birds. And I have to say, even allowing for the tourists, the whole thing was NOTHING like that HSBC advert.

Each fisherman had a small flock of birds which he tipped into the water as we got going. A bright light shone from the front of the rafts onto the water, presumably to entice the fish closer to the surface, and glistened off the feathers of the birds. And then they started to dive. Just one at a time to begin with. They’d suddenly disappear and you’d see them moving under the water, sinuous and sleek as snakes, before reappearing. At times the whole flock would suddenly go and you knew they’d spotted something.

One flock caught two big fish and one tiny one in the end – the other flock caught nothing. When they caught the fish they tipped their heads right back, throats distended and working frantically, and enormous tail flopping and heaving half out of their beaks. The fisherman had to haul the fish out.

Then we turned to head back, with a brief pause at a tiny island for a photo op. And I admit I couldn’t resist.



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  1. Mum says:

    Wow. Wonderful! Amazing pictures too . You look about to burst with delight.

    1. Kate says:

      It was really really cool! The bird was so heavy :)

  2. Rach says:

    I would TOTALLY have gone for a photo op if I’d been there so I support this – and you look great on to the photos too, really nice pictures. It sounds an amazing night.

    1. Kate says:

      Thank you! And yeah it was really great :) a lot of people were being scardy cats about the photo which really. Can’t understand!

  3. D says:

    This sounds brilliant love the photos you clearly had a brilliant time -don’t try and smuggle one of the comerants home!

    1. Kate says:

      I’d be tempted except I don’t think they would fit in my backpack!

  4. Harry says:

    This looks so coooool! I’m crazy jealous! The bird looks like he’s trying to fly away with you 😀

    Also, Lol stop apologising for doing touristy things! Touristy things are fun! they have GIANT BIRDS.

    1. Kate says:

      All the birds were posing with their wings spread out! He was very heavy :)

      I will try to apologise less! *grin*

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