Location: 85 km stretch from Guilin to Yangshou in south China
Time of Visit: Throughout the year, preferably between April and November
Preferred Timings: Daytime
Cruise charges: Â¥ 450 – Â¥ 210 from Apr to Nov; Â¥ 380 – Â¥ 190 from Dec to Mar
How to Reach: Reach Guilin by air, rail, or road and then embark on the cruise
Nearest Railway Station: Guilin
Nearest International Airport: Liangjiang International Airport in Guilin
Time required for sightseeing: 4 hours
A silver ribbon winding its way through the quaint Chinese landscape: the river Li. A cruise on this river as it makes its serpentine way through hills, rocks, caves and fields. It is like passing through a Chinese painting with most exquisite brushwork in watercolor. You wind through rapids and waterfalls, and bend around rocks and bamboo groves. The hills on either side are covered with vibrant forests and thickets. The reflections of the conical limestone hills in the still waters of River Li make you live in a virtual fairyland.
Li River Cruise between the towns of Guilin and Yangshuo by paddy fields, quaint villages and distant mountains is invigorating and relaxing for any traveler. This 85 kilometer cruise is a rage among tourists visiting south China. The view on either side of the River Li is very unlike any other river cruise in China. No other Chinese river cruise will offer the sight of miles of paddy files, water buffaloes, and bamboo rafts. Go back in time and away from the drudgery of city life. The River Li cruise is one of the most stunning in the world and you will be thrilled to embark on it.
The cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo is divided in three sections. The first part of the journey begins from Guilin City and extends for 46 kilometers upto Yangdi. The first remarkable feature you see is the Elephant Trunk Hill which resembles an elephant with its trunk in water. Another couple of hills that attract your attention are Chuanshan on the eastern bank and Gamecock Hill with a crescent shaped cave on the opposite bank. These two together appear like a pair of fighting roosters and hence the name of Rooster Fighting Hills. As you cruise farther south you will notice the Jingping Hill or the Clear Vase Hill resembling an overturned flower vase. Other two hill formations that will amaze you are the Father and Son Hills. As you cruise past these two hills you complete the first part of your journey of about an hour and twenty minutes.
Another easier way of noticing the end of the first part of your cruise is the approach of Erlang Gorge or Ox Gorge. This flying waterfall at Yangdi indicates the beginning of the second leg of your cruise. This portion of the journey of 17 kilometers from Yangdi to Xingping is the most picturesque. The most remarkable natural feature is the Mural Hill of Nine Horses. Each of these nine horses is in a different position and seems to be carved out by knives. According to local legend, on identification of these nine horses you will top the next examination. It is said that U.S. President Bill Clinton could only identify two horses. After you cruise another 500 meters from the Mural Hills you reach the Inverted Image of Yellow Cloth Shoal. A massive yellow flagstone at the bottom of a sand embankment creates an exceptional view in the still waters of Li River. Rising above the Yellow Cloth Shoal are seven steep peaks resembling seven fairy ladies. Feast your eyes on this fantastic view of vibrant green mountains, blue sky and clear still water reflecting the seven peaks.
After this 40 minutes voyage your last part of the cruise begins at Xingping and terminates in Yangshou after 20 km of travel. Make a note of the Snail Hill or Screw Hill which has a vein like feature spiraling from the bottom to the top of the hill lending the appearance of a giant snail or screw. When you near Yangshou you cannot miss the magnificent Green Lotus Peak whose smooth face gives it an appearance of a mirror. As such this hill is also referred to as the Mirror Hill.
In this Li River Cruise bring your pair of binoculars as you should not miss the tranquil village life all along the journey. Vast stretches of paddy fields, quaint fishing villages, village folk washing and cooking on the river banks complete your countryside journey.
You can undertake this wonderful cruise of about 4 hours in air-conditioned boats from Guilin to Yangtsou. Book yourself in the Super luxury, Luxury, or Ordinary classes during anytime of the year. The peak season, however, is from April to November when the river is full. All cruises in Li River start between 9:30 am and 10:30 am.