Guilin's Li River Cruise is a popular trip in Western China.
This visit will leave you a visual feast of the unique Karst landform when riding a boat from Guilin to Yangshuo.
This cruise offers the top experience of photography lovers from all over the world. The soaring limestone peaks, the limpid water and the fisherman floating by on bamboo rafts, even a careless shot in here will get a picture that blows your family and friends' minds.
Top Reasons to Visit Li River
- World-class view of the Karst landscape and pure water.
- Clean, comfortable, and classy cruise boat.
- English-speaking guides are served on board.
- Relaxed atmosphere on the boat.
- Chinese buffet lunch included.
About Li River Cruise
The sightseeing boats depart from Guilin's tourist wharf opposite the Golden Elephant Hotel each morning at around 8:00. However, we will transport you to take a one-hour bus ride to the Bamboo River Dock (Zhujiang Dock) or the Millstone Hill Dock to start the cruise from its essential part.
The river trip is over 83 kilometers (52 miles) long and is estimated to take four to five hours on board.
Numerous attractions such as peaks and villages spread over along the river. Most of them have interesting names, which calls for much of your imagination to see what it is like.
Guilin is a place that are never lack of stories. Listening to tour guide's legendary stories about the mountains and rivers is a delightful experience when capturing the landscapes. Most are mystical fairy and love stories.
Price for Li River Cruise
The price for the Li River cruise is higher than other attractions in China. However, you can join a tour arranged by a China agency to pay a much cheaper price for the same service. Generally the price will include the boats ticket, lunch on board and the bus trip back to Guilin from Yangshuo.
Yangshuo - Last Destination of Li River Cruise
When the cruise ends in Yangshuo, you will disembark at the Shuidongmen Dock near the Green Lotus Peak or Fu'an Dock near the Schoolboy Hill. Walking to the famous West Street is a great choice if you disembark from the Shuidongmen Dock.
The West Street lined with western cafes, restaurants and hotels is a wonderful place for people who want to explore Chinese life.
Attractions Along the Li River
Elephant Trunk Hill
Situated majestically on the western bank of the river, the hill resembles an elephant sucking water from the river with its long trunk. It is supposed to be the landmark of Guilin landscape, which you can find on travel brochures or books.
The most impressive is said to be the water reflection of a moon-like cave when the moonlight sprinkles over the river, hence the name 'Moon over the Water'.
A few minutes down from the Elephant Hill on the west bank is a small hill topped with a pagoda. The hexagonal pagoda is called Longevity Buddha Pagoda (Shoufo Ta) dating from the Ming Dynasty.
It is said the second floor has stone Buddha figurines on display and the hill is compassed in Chuanshan Park. In autumn, the hill illuminated with red maples is very charming.
Perching on the northern bank of Li River, the ancient town keeps in its antique style from the Ming Dynasty. A flagging street, lined with old residences, shops and stalls, runs two kilometers along the river bank through the town.
Some well-preserved residences hidden behind the street door may give you surprises you when you occasionally explore further into a shop.
These are quarters for businessmen in the past times. Have a try on various dumping snacks on the stalls or peddle cars along the street. Some will surprise you with both its taste and cheap price. People in the town are very kind to tourists.
Li River cruise makes the small town known to foreigners. The town is very small that everyone will know you after one month. Located some 90 kilometers south of Guilin City, this town is the downstream end of the cruise but not the least. The enchanting fairyland of Yangshuo is renowned as the best in Guilin.
Half-Side Ferry (Ban Bian Du)
Not very far from the Crown Cave on the western bank, a huge rock descends into the river and cuts off a footpath by the water edge.
Villagers have to take a ferry to reach the other side and continue the way. So, this spot gets its name Half-Side Ferry (for usually ferry means to transport people by boat across a body of water and reach the opposite bank)
Yellow Cloth Shoal
Boating downstream, peaks become steep and the river become wide and quiet. A huge yellow flagstone lying under the limpid waters can easily be seen. It is like a cloth piece and people called it Yellow Cloth Shoal.
There are seven green peaks standing nearby. A legend goes that the seven peaks are fairy girls from the heaven who took baths in the river. Enthralled by the charming scene, they stayed here and become into the peaks.
With verdant bamboos, the green peaks under the blue sky reflected on the quiet waters create a spectacular scene. Sometimes, people doubt they see boats floating on hill tops. Many Chinese paintings and poems present this charming scene and tourists run out of their films for it.
A 'village' on the river bank is worthy a visit. Chinese call it a 'village' because of the fact that nowadays it is inhabited by villagers. Actually, it is an age-old castle complex survived from over 500 years ago.
Although some courtyard buildings have weathered through ages, the simple but elegant flying-eaves, roofs with colorful paintings, lattice windows and unique timber structures present the folk residence from the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
The villagers have the same surname of Zhao, so it is rumored that they are descendents of the imperial family in the Song Dynasty. Both Dr. Sun Yet-sun, the pioneer of China's democratic revolution and US president Colinton paid a visit to the village on their visits to Li River.
Crown Cave (Guanyan)
A crown-like crag earns the hill its name. What makes the hill a worthy stop for both river cruise tourists and those arrive from Guilin City by bus tour is its twelve kilometer long water-eroded cave.
It is a wonderland of various stalactite, stone pillars and rock formations in the cave. Since it is open to tourists in 1995, illuminating lights, sound control tour guide system and escalators are equipped in the scenic area and sightseeing cars and boats enable visitors to tour inside the cave.
The Weather Along Li River
The rainy season is from April to July. In the hotter months of June and July the rain is often heavy but short-lived, with the afternoon sun quickly drying up the rain. In the heat of the summer the river mist is best seen in the early morning.
The high season is from April to October. During sunny days, you can see the inverted reflection of the hills on both sides clearly in the water. During cloudy days, the hills are surrounded by mist and tourists may feel they are cruising in a mystical paradise. When the rain comes, drizzle is like a veil covering the hills and the river.
The Li River will not end after arriving in Yangshuo. It is a great place for hikes and cycling excursions. There's no doubt that taking a close-up exploration to the country villages, you will have a taste of the rural life.