Li River, Li River Cruise
The Li River is blessed with the Karst Mountains and stunning river views, and it’s known as the “Glorious Pearl of Guilin.” As you travel along the river, you will see a flowing scroll of beautiful and idyllic landforms, buffalo grazing on the bund, farmers working in paddy fields, and fishermen angling on bamboo rafts. You will want to take a plethora of pictures of the views, maybe even a selfie or two!
- Source: Mao’er Mountain (Mountain Cat), North Guilin
- Length: 437 kilometers
- Best Seasons to Visit: Spring, Summer, Autumn
- How to Visit it: Boat Cruise, Bamboo Rafting, Hiking
The most beautiful scenery of Li River lies in the section from Yangdi to Xingping, about 18km long, and is like an artist's masterpiece. The landscape is decorated with crystal clear waters uniquely shaped by Karst hills, steep cliffs, fantastic caves, and rice paddies, and is lined with bamboo groves.
Top Highlights along Li River
Along the river, you can see magnificent karst hills, bamboo groves, countryside scenery, crystal water with rocks and plants, and rocky shoals. Highlights along the way include Nine Horses Fresco Hill, Yellow Cloth Reflection, 20-Yuan Bill Hill, and Xingping Ancient Village.
Yangdi Scenic Area
"The river winds like a ribbon of the blue silk hills tower-like hairpins of green jade”. The section from Yangdi to Xingping is the most beautiful part of the Li River.
Nine Horses Fresco Hill
Nine Horses Fresco Hill is 400 meters high and 200 meters wide. The cliff facing the Li River has images of a flock of horses. Horses on the cliff assume different poses: running, playing, jumping, drinking, neighing, or just lying there.
Yellow Cloth Reflection
The water is clear and turquoise and the reflection of hills on the glassy surface of the river forms an impressive picture. Seeing the river from the cruise boat, there is a yellow rock in the river which is like a yellow cloth covering the river, that’s why it got its name.
The scenery on RMB 20 Yuan Note
It’s a great photographic location. The water surface is like a mirror. The reflection of the fantastic karst hills on the crystal water makes for great views.
Li River Cruise
The Best way to explore the Li River is of course to take a Li River cruise boat from Guilin to Yangshuo.
- Route: Mopanshan/Zhujiang Pier (20km southeast of downtown Guilin) to Yangshuo
- Duration: 4-5 Hours, depending on the water level (one-way trip)
Li River Cruise Schedule
|4-Star Cruise||3-Star Cruise||Remarks|
|Departure time||9:00-9:30am||9:00-9:30am||The exact time is not fixed, but it’s normally during this timeframe.|
|Duration||4-5 hours||4-5 hours||The duration of the cruise depends on the water speed.|
|Boarding point||Zhujiang (竹江) Pier||Mopanshan (磨盘山) Pier||There’s no public bus to these two piers; you can get there by taxi.|
|Drop-off point||Shuidongmen (水东门) Pier, closer to West Street||Longtoushan (龙头山) Pier||Both in Yangshuo.|
|Travel Tips||1. The two boarding piers are about 25 km southeast of downtown Guilin. It takes one hour by car or bus to get there, and it is recommended that you leave your hotel for the pier before 8 am.
2. Longtoushan Pier is 1 km northeast of West Street. You can walk around 15 to 20 minutes or take a local electric scooter there.
3. Cruises can be canceled during the rainy season, when the Li River may be flooded. Please check the weather forecast three days before you want to depart.
Li River Cruise Boats - Which Boat to Choose
There are three-star and four-star boats. We recommend our customers choose a four-star boat.
4 Star Cruise Ships
The 4-Star cruise provides a more comfortable travel experience.
- Suitable for: People who want high-quality and a comfortable travel experience
- Facilities: Luxury boats with traditional decorations, a mini-bar, more legroom, and comfortable seating
- Service: English-Speaking Guides
- Seating capacity: Approximately 80 passengers
- Dining: Chinese/Western-Style Buffet Lunch, including Beverages
3 Star Cruise Ships
- Suitable for: Budget travelers who don’t care about details
- Facilities: Medium-Size Boats with standard facilities
- Service: Presentations only in Mandarin Chinese
- Seating capacity: 120-150 passengers
- Dining: One box lunch per passenger, comparable to a standard airline meal
Li River Bamboo Raft
A bamboo raft is a great way to explore the Li River. The bamboo rafts on the Li River are made from PVC pipes, each with 4 seats, an outboard motor, and a sunshade.
Nine-Horse Fresco Hill
There are two rafting routes on the Li River:
1. Yangdi Pier to Nine-Horse Fresco Hill (optionally move on to Xingping Old Town by Electric Vehicle (EV)
- Boarding time: from 7:40-8:20 and from 12:30-16:00, closed from 8:30-12:30
- Duration: From 1 to 1.5 hours (depending on the water speed)
- Price: CNY 118/raft
2. Xingping Pier to Nine-Horse Fresco Hill (round trip)
- Boarding time: from 8:00-9:20 and after 12:30, but closed from 9:30-12:30
- Duration: about 1 hour
- Price: CNY 92/raft
Hiking along the Li River
- Distance: 12 km (7.5 miles)
- The time needed: 3.5 hours
- Hiking route: Quanjiazhou village → pass small villages and fields → Nine-Horse Fresco Hill → cross the river by ferry → Xingping Ancient Town
- Highlights: non-touristy journey, see local lifestyles close-up, take deep breaths and enjoy the impressive Li River backdrop, breathtaking Karst Mountains, and peaceful rural villages.