Li River, Li River Cruise

Written by Ruru Zhou Updated Jul. 5, 2021

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!

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. 

Li River Cruise

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 attractions map

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. 

Li River Cruise Ticket

Li River Cruise Schedule

  4-Star Cruise 3-Star Cruise Remarks
Departure time 9:00-9:30 am 9:00-9:30 am 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.

4 star Li River Cruise

3 Star Cruise Ships

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 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)

2. Xingping Pier to Nine-Horse Fresco Hill (round trip)

 Hiking along the Li River

Photography on Li River

The Fishing Lights on the Li River

The classic shot of the Li River is the one called "fishing lights on the Li River", together with sunrise or sunset. In the past, local fishermen paddled their bamboo rafts and went fishing on the Li River as night falls. A magical scene appears when the river is dotted with fishing lights. It's a scene that shows an intimate relationship between humans and nature. Nowadays, if you wish to take such photos, you need to arrange fishermen on bamboo rafts with charge.

The Panorama of Li River

Xianggong Hill is the best spot to get a wide perspective view of the most beautiful part of the Li River. On the top, you will see thousands of strange-shapely karst mountains, and the winding Li River is cradled in the arms of hills. The sunlight and shadows, cloud sea after the rain, sunrises, and sunsets are all breathtaking sceneries, deeply loved by photographers.

The Best Time to Visit the Li River

Generally speaking, April to October is the best time to take the Li River Cruise. Vistas along the river vary in different types of weather conditions. On sunny days you can view the clear and splendid reflections of mountains, buildings, and azure skies on the river; while the rain and mist will add to the beauty of the Karst landscape in cloudy weather. Read more on the Best Time to Visit the Li River


Li River Travel Tips

Enjoy the Scenery of the Li River with China Travel

The China Travel Team is a group of Native Guilin Travel Experts. They know every nook and cranny in Guilin and can provide you with a private tour and a local guide, which will take your tour experience over the top! Perhaps one of the following Tour Itinerary will pique your interest:

Continue to read:  The Best Three Ways to Explore the Li River

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