The beautiful Li River is the connecting waterway between Guilin City and Yangshuo County, which originates on the Maoer Mountain northeast of Guilin.The crystal clear Li River is sandwiched between sheer cliffs dotted with few cascades. A cruise down the river is one of the highlights of a holiday in China. From Guilin to Yangshuo, it winds its way through 83 km (52 miles) of beautiful countryside, with some extraordinary peaks, bamboo groves lining along the riverbank, leisurely water buffalo and picturesque villages. Sometimes the visitor can see a fishing boat slip by with two or more fishing cormorants on board. The local farmers feed the birds for fish catching. They tie a string around the bird's neck just right enough so that that it cannot swallow the fish it may catch.
The Li River was an exceptional place to observe the native farmers as they go about their daily routines. There was much people activity all along the river. Farmers tilling land, duck herders watching over their flocks, people washing laundry in the river, fishermen and much more. Another special treat was seeing so many water buffalos. The World Bank-financed project to protect the ecosystem that exists on both sides of the Li River in Guilin, one of the China's most popular tourist attractions, has made significant progress since earlier 2000.
Passing Scenery and Things to Do
There's something interesting to see from your Li River cruise boat along the banks of almost every bend of the river. You view graceful bamboo groves, farmers tending rice paddies, unique kart hills, lumbering water buffalos pulling carts or cooling off in the river, and fishermen gliding on the Li River on narrow bamboo rafts. Some use tethered cormorants to catch fish.
The Li River vista is particularly mystical when flowing mists weave themselves around the peaks. The vapor hides then exposes the peaks in moments of surprise.
◎Li River Cruise
All the cruise ships are operated by local government. The cruise starts from Zhujiang Dock. It is about 40 minutes drive from Guilin city center, and then 4 to 5 hours cruise will take you to a beautiful and sedate ancient town - Yangshuo.
All the bamboo rafts are operated by the local farmers from some of the villages along the river. Rafting on the Li River usually from Yangdi to Xingping, or from Yangdi to the Nine Horses Mural Hill, or from Xingping to Yangdi. Bamboo rafting on the Li River is not recommended as it is dangerous and illegal.
◎Hiking along the Li River
The most popular Li River hiking route is from Yangdi to Xingping. The 22 km route covers the essence of Li River. It crosses the Li River three times and passes six nature villages. The entire trip takes five to six hours by foot. Hikers come across many scenic spots, such as Langshi Scenery, Nine Horse Mural Hill and Yellow Cloth Shoal. The road along Li River consists mostly of rice field trails and footpaths. Hikers do not need to climb mountains, and will not get lost since there is only one way.
Main Attractions of the Li River
The attractions throughout the Li river journey are too many to put into words, with every turn and step bringing with it a spellbinding tale of enchanting beauty with it. While some of the places are famed for their unique appeal and aura, some are revered for their artistic charm or for the mystical stories associated with them for centuries.
In the first section, which is from Guilin to Ox Gorge, you can enjoy the following scenery: Elephant Trunk Hill, Rooster Fighting Hill, Pagoda Hill, Forest of Odd Shaped Peaks, Daxu Ancient Town, and Ox Gorge.
In the second section, which is from Ox Gorge (near the Bamboo River Dock and the Millstone Dock) to Water Dropping Village, the most charming scenery of the cruise awaiting you include: Wangfu Rock (Yearning-for-Husband's-Return Rock), Guanyan (Crown Cave), Banbian Du (Half-Side Ferry), Yangdi Village, Nine Horses Mural Hill, Yellow Cloth Shoal, Yucun (Fishing Village)，Xingping Town, Shutong Hill, and Yangshuo Town.
Best Travel Time to the Li River
The Li River is suitable for travelling all the year round, especially from April to October. In the low water period (occurs in Dec. Jan. and Feb, but infrequently), the government usually open the sluice gates of the upriver reservoir, which makes sure the cruise ship run on the river.
1) If you hike along the river, don't forget to wear good walking shoes. The best hiking time of the River is spring, in this time you can see large field of rape flowers in full blossom. Prepare enough water and food. Prepare small changes if you want to buy water or other snack. Restaurants (operated by local famers) can be found along the way or in Xingping.
2) Bring an umbrella or a rain coat in rainy seasons, and a hat in sunny days. Sun scream should be prepared to protect your skin.
3) Lunch is included in your cruise fee you need not take food during the cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo.
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