Overview of Li River
Li River, flowing through Guilin city, has formed the world-renowned Li River Scenic area together with the hills, cliffs, waterfalls scattering along the river sides. The 83 km waterway from Guilin to Yangshuo is the essence of Li River scenery area. Guilin has a typical karst landform. Limestone is seen everywhere of the city, it has undergone weathering and erosion for billions of years, and formed the picturesque Guilin scenery, praised by Chinese as "Hills and rivers of Guilin top all the landscape of China, and Li River tops Guilin scenery". The Li River is also called as a hundred-mile painting scroll. Along the crystal clear waterway of Li River, countless green mountains, cliffs, waterfalls, oases and shoals are standing shoulder by shoulder, just like a classic Chinese landscape painting.
The Li River Cruise
For tourists, 2 kinds ofcruising on the Li River are available, either by taking a cruise boat or motor-driven raft.
The route for cruise boat is the essence of Li River, also called as full-section Li River Cruise, the boat is bigger than a raft and more comfortable. This is also a more convenient way to take the Li River cruise. The whole cruise takes about 4.5 hours, the cruise boat provide simple lunch, toilets, hot water service and roomfor luggage. The cruise starts from Zhujiang Pier or Mopanshan Pier and ends at Yangshuo Pier.
Zhujiang Pier offers two kinds cruise boats. One is called luxurious air-conditioned boat, free Chinese lunch, 2 passenger decks and one sightseeing deck. The other one is super-luxurious boat, free Chinese buffet, 2 passenger decks with dining area and one sightseeing deck, more luxurious facility.
Mopanshan Pier offers normal air-conditioned boat, simple Chinese lunch, one passenger deck and onesighseeing deck, it is comparatively cheaper than the boats at Zhujiang pier.
Cruise Route/Port Changes in dry season
In the dry season, usually from January to March, the cruise route is from Yangdi to the Painting mountain(Hua Shan) and then back to Yangdi. The boarding and disembarking pier is Shangzha Pier. The cruise takes about 2.5 to 3 hours, and the boat sdepart only at 10:00 and 10:40, 2 shifts a day.
Guilin – Shangzha Pier: visitors can take buses from Guilin Bus Station to Yangdi Tour Park. It's a ride about 1~1.5 hours, getting down the bus, you can take the battery car to Shangzha Pier. The battery car tickets are included in the cruise ticket cost.
Motor-driven raft offers a shorter cruise and close contact with Li River. It starts from Yangdi and ends at Xingping covering the most beautiful part of Li River cruise. The most famous spots like the 20 yuan banknote scene are located in this section. Please be noted that the rafting lasts about 1~ 2 hours, and there is no toilet on the raft, so make sure you are well prepared before boarding the raft.
The motor-driven raft is composed of PVC tubes, on which covered with a layer of aluminum alloy panel to make the raft more steady and flat. It is equipped with canopy for sun-shade and rain-protect. Motor on the rear, all rafts are also equipped with life jackets and buoys. Except for the gear man, the raft can carry 4 people. At the rear of the raft, it has some room to store passenger's luggage. The ticket is RMB 216/person, the raft company will charge ￥30 for each vacant seat if there are less than 4 people taking the raft. After arriving at Xingping, passengers can take the free battery car to Xingping bus station, where buses to Yangshuo are available. Please be noted that no free Lunch served on the motor-driven rafts, so you are suggested to bring some food or have a lunch when you get to Yangshuo.
Best time to travel
April to October is the recommended time for Li River cruise. Since late spring, the water level rises rapidly, the surface is not peaceful enough to reflect the hill scenery but the temperature is very cozy. In the rainy days, surrounded by a fine drizzle and mist, everything is just like a classical scene in traditional Chinese painting.
In summer, after the rainy season is over, Li River is very peaceful and clear during this time. White clouds dotted in the azure sky, while green hills reaches to the far along the crystal clear river.
In autumn, the air transparency is very good, thus, the sunrise is extremely beautiful, and the most beautiful rosy dawn of the year will appear at this time.
Tips to shoot the classic photo with a fisherman poling on the Li River
A lot of visitors to Guilin are enthusiatic about the fishing scene: sitting on a little bamboo raft, a fisherman lights a kerosene lamp with a cormorant standing aside ready to catch fishes. This classic scene is rarely seen since people who make a living by fishing are less and less. If you want to shoot this classic scene, you need to arrange everything in advance. The best place to shoot these pictures is at Xingping, where you can hire a fisherman with his raft and cormorant as your model, and the Best time to shoot is dawn and dusk when the light is less strong and the whole scene is more pastoral.
Daxu Old Town
Located in the east bank of Li River, close to Mopanshan Pier, Daxu Old Town was established in 200 BC. The old street of the town is narrow and paved with over 15,000 blue stones. The two-floored houses standing by the street are in Ming and Qing traditional Chinese architecture style. Many ancient manual workshops, like bamboo waving workshop, Chinese herb medical clinic and old style barber shop still exhist. The old town is very peaceful and faraway from the hustle and bustle city life.
Xingping Ancient Town
If you take the raft cruise from Yangdi, you will arrive at this small ancient town. Located in the east bank of Li River, Xingping Ancient Town is 25 km from Yangshuo County. The background on the 20-yuan RMB bill is also taken here. The fishing village of the town was called the President Fishing Village after President Clinton visited it in 1998. The town is small and old, paved with smooth flagstone, everything here looks simple and primitive. The Xingping town is a sparsely populated region, which makes it a good place for those nostalgic tourists.