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Guilin Li River Cruise

Li River is the mother river of Guilin city.

It is famous for its beauty of four features: verdant mountains, fragrant waters, mysterious grottoes and exquisite rock, along the river in home and world. In the year of 2013, Guilin Li River is honored as one of the World's 15 best rivers for travelers in CNN news. It became the only China's river on this list.

Li River Brief Introduction

Li River, situated in Guilin City of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is one of China’s famous scenic areas. Li River winds its way about 437 meters, originating from the Mao Mountain in Xing'an County located at the northeast of Guilin, and flowing through downtown Guilin, Yangshuo county, Pingel, Zhaoping and finally meets Xi River in Wulin.

The 83 kilometers length of Li River between Guilin and Yangshuo is just like a masterpiece. The landscape is decorated with rolling hills, steep cliffs, fantastic caves, leisurely boats. Along the both sides of the river, Grotesque peaks float in the clear and pure water, the scenery is so beautiful.

Li River Cruise

Li River Cruise

According to the different views, Li River cruise can be divided into three scenic spot.

The first scenic spot is from Guilin to Ox Gorge: Elephant Trunk Hill, Rooster Fighting Hill, Pagoda Hill, Forest of Odd Shaped Peaks, Daxu Ancient Town and Ox Gorge.

The second scenic spot is from Ox Gorge to Shuiluo Village: Wangfu Rock, Crown Cave, Half-side Ferry, Yangdi Village, Mural Hill, Yellow Cloth Shoal and Xingping Town.

The third scenic spot is from Shuiluo Village to Yangshuo: Snail Hill, Green Lotus Peak and Schoolboy Hill. The scenery is equally beautiful.

Elephant Trunk Hill

The first part: from Guilin to Ox Gorge

Elephant Trunk Hill & Pagoda Hill

After boating out of downtown Guilin, you come firstly the Elephant Trunk Hill. It situated majestically on the western bank of the river, resembling an elephant sucking water from Li River with its long trunk. It is known as the symbol of Guilin.

Several minutes down from Elephant Trunk Hill, you will see a small hill topped with a pagoda on the west bank. The pagoda is also called Longevity Buddha Pagoda (Shoufo Ta) dating from Ming Dynasty. In autumn, this hill will fill with charming red maples.

Pagoda Hill

Gamecock Hill & Jingping Hill

Downstream a while, Gamecock Hill will come into sight. It is located on the east bank and with a moon-shaped cave, and resembles a pair of fighting roosters, hence the name “Rooster Fighting Hill”.

Southward, Jingping Hill (Clear Vase Hill) jumps into your eyes, elegant and simple, like an overturned vase lay in water.

Daxu Town

Perching on the northern bank of Li River, the ancient Daxu 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. People in the town are very kind to tourists. Further to south, there is a single-arched bridge in the town named Longevity Bridge.

Daxu Town

Forest of Odd Shaped Peaks

On the banks near Daxu town, a range of hump-like peaks rises steeply-famed as "Forest of Odd Shaped Peaks". It is a typical Karst land formation in Guilin.

Father and Son Hill & Millstone Hill

At the spot where the Li River meets Liangfeng River lays Father and Son Hill. The name comes from the two human-like stones on the hill, which according to legend is a man that refused to build boats for a landlord and instead sheltered himself in a cave with his son.

South of Father and Son Hill is Millstone Hill where a dock situates 28km from Guilin and where 3,000,000 people pass through annually.

Boating south from this dock, and passing Nine Dragons Playing the Water, the ship enters the Ox Gorge, where the next highpoint of the trip arrives.

The second part: from Ox Gorge to Shuiluo Village (Total 17km; 40 minutes' crusie)

Crown Cave

After passing the Ox Gorge, the water becomes calm and wide. Wangfu Rock, a human-shaped rock, stands on the west bank of Li River as the first scenic spot in this section. Boating south, about 29km from Guilin, is Caoping Village where the famous Crown Cave locates. Crown Cave is 20 kilometer long water-eroded cave. There is a wonderland of various stalactite, stone pillars and rock formations in the cave.

Crown Cave

Half-side Ferry (Ban Bian Du)

Continue south is "Half-side Ferry". Different from other ferries, the ferries of these two villages are in the same side instead of two sides. Boating south one would see a group of peaks in various shapes rising out of the river.

From Yangdi to Xingping

Boating downstream from Yangdi to Xingping, the river passes an endless procession of distinct peaks and bamboo groves and the stunning landscape. This part is the highlight of the cruise.

The hills beyond hills with their reflections in the crystal water are like fairy land; the green bamboo greets you all the way along the river in the breeze; the water buffaloes eating grass casually; the ducks swimming along the river; the fisherman fishing or catnapping on the bamboo rafts with his cormorants resting peacefully next to him, it's God dotted landscape. All these create an idyllic and beautiful scene of the life removed from concrete cities.

Mural Hill & Yellow Cloth Shoal

About 61km from Guilin and on the east bank of Li River lays Mural Hill. It was said that nine horses were contained in this huge painting, and anyone who can tell all of them would be the Number One Scholar.

Going downstream and turning right is Yellow Cloth Shoal, where is the best place to view the reflections in the water.

Mural Hill

Xingping Town

Xingping town is the place where the second section basically comes to end. The river takes change at Xingping and endowed with beautiful and poetic scenery. There are many Chinese landscape paintings. Even the newly-issued 20 RMB note has the scenery on its back.

Once a photographer said: "Shots from any perspective for Xingping turn to be impressive and stunning."

Xingping Town

The third part: from Shuoluo Village to Yangshuo (Total 20km; 2 hours' voyage)

Yangshuo is an enchanting town, where the limpid water, verdant pinnacles and hillocks, and spectacular caverns compose a captivating tableau. Green Lotus Peak, Schoolboy Hill and Snow Lion Ridge add more charm to this beautiful town. No wonder people often say: “Guilin has the most beautiful scenery in China, and Yangshuo is the most beautiful part of Guilin.”

Schoolboy Hill & Snail Hill

Schoolboy Hill rises up on the right bank of the Li River. It is the smallest peak along the bank of the river.

Snail Hill, with a huge vein spiraling up from the bottom to the top, situates near Li River like a huge snail. Passing it, the boat straightly advances toward Yangshuo, where is the termination of this exciting cruise.

Yangshuo County

Li River Cruise Route

No.1 from Guilin downtown

Get on boat from the southern dock of Liberation Bridge in Guilin downtown area and enjoy the whole highlights along the Li River.

No.2 from Zhujiang Dock

Take a one-hour bus ride to the Bamboo River Dock (Zhujiang Dock) or the Millstone Hill Dock and then start to cruise the essential part of Li River from Zhujiang Dock.

No.3 from Yangndi to Xingping

Drive from Guilin downtown to Yangdi, then to Xingping by Bamboo Boat. The part from Yangdi to Xingping is the most beautiful part of Li River. It will cost 3 hours by boat.

No.4 from Yangshuo to Fuli Town

Take a shuttle bus from Guilin Bus Station to Yangshuo. Then you can choose a deluxe boat or bamboo boat to cruise from Yangshuo to Fuli Town. Some people prefer to enjoy this part of scenery due to the river is peaceful and calm, without too many engine noise. It will takes 2 hours with round trips.

No. 5 from Yangshuo to Liugong Village

Enjoy the downstream scenery of Li River with various shapes of peaks, the trip starts from Yangshuo dock to Liugong village by bamboo boat for around 2 hours.

Bamboo Rafting on Li River

Tips for Li River Cruise

1. The best suitable time to tour Li River is flood season which is from July to November in each year. Normally, visitors get on boat out of downtown Guilin in the morning and get off in Yangshuo County in the afternoon.

2. The winds over the river are relatively strong. Tourists are recommended to wear a heavy jacket when boarding a ship during Li River cruise.

3. Remember to ask the price of one way trip before you get on the boat.

3. Li River cruise is normally scheduled to departure at around 9:00am to 9:30am. However, it may be changed during low water season. You are recommended to double check the departure time on you cruise tickets.

4. Waiters on the cruise boats may promote souvenirs to you. Although the prices are negotiable, a better optional souvenirs is to shop in West Street after arrival in Yangshuo County.

5. The Li River is extremely picturesque, described by ancient poets and artists as one hundred miles of Chinese ink landscape painting. You are highly recommended to fully charge their camera's batteries, and make sure the memory cards have enough space for a big shooting event. Usually, the bamboo boat is design as open-air style, take care of your bag or camera to avoid dropping off the river.

6. Catering services are offered on the most Li River cruise boats. However, it may not satisfy your high demands on the food quality. Choose the right boat for yourself. Our recommended option for you is to have a good breakfast before taking a river cruise.

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