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Li River, one of China's most famous scenic areas, was listed as one of the world's top ten watery wonders by America National Geographic Magazine. It boasts the largest and most beautiful scenic area in China and attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Originating in Mao'er Mountain in Xing'an county northeast of Guilin, the Li River winds its way southeast for about 437 km, passing through Guilin, Yangshuo, Pingle, Zhaoping and finally meets Xi River in Wulin. The 83-km-long waterway from Guilin to Yangshuo is like a masterpiece. The landscape is decorated with rolling hills, steep cliffs, fantastic caves, leisurely boats and is lined with bamboo. A poem says: "The river is a green silk ribbon, and the hills are jade hair-pins".
The Li River (Lijiang) scenic area, totaling 83 km in length, is situated in Guilin City of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Hanyu vividly described the enchanting beauty of the Lijiang River in his poem: The River looks like a blue silk ribbon, and the mountains resemble emerald hairpins." The Li River is famous for its beauty of four unique: verdant mountains, fragrant waters, mysterious grottoes, and exquisite rocks.
Along the river, there are deep pools, dangerous shoals, murmuring springs, and roaring waterfalls. Going downstream in a tourist boat, one can enjoy spectacular views of crowded towering peaks along the riverbanks, waterfalls suspending over forests of rocks, and their crashing sprays upon jutting rocks.What one marvels at most is the Picture Cliff. It's endowed by nature's uncanny workmanship, with a smooth flat surface. Seen from a distant boat, due to the interplay of various shades of brilliant colors upon it, the surface looked as if painted with a picture of faintly discernible 9 houses.
On the crest of the peak, poised a colossal "steed", rearing its head and neighing, while by its side two "Colts" were grazing. One can see " The Avant-garde Horse" on the summit of Yuwei Peak and "The Horse Falling Behind" on Mahuang Mountain. The Lijiang River brimming with crystal-clear waters twists and turns between magnificent and beautiful mountains. Its banks are covered with lush bamboo and luxuriantly green woods. Luohan Mountain, Chaoban Mountain, Wuzhi Mountain and Luosi Mountain rise up from under the waters. What a splendid scenery they present!
Li River Reviews
Descriptions cannot do justice to this awe inspiring scenery. Right out of Chinas most popular landscape paintings which I always thought were fantastical. They are real! 5 hour cruise with lunch was great a photographers dream. Not to miss
Very impressive. Enjoyed every minute of it, although you are packed with some people aboard a ship with ten ships in a row. Nothing could spoil the beauty of this place. Do not buy food apart from what is served for lunch, very overpriced.
We decided to do half of the river on a PVC "bambo" raft and half hiking alongside the river, after reading a few reviews. We took a bus from Guilin to Yangdi Cross Road. 21 RMB 50 minutes but not without a huge annoyance-will warn about it later. Then switch to a mini bus (coming from Yangshou) to Yangdi Dock for 3 RMB, 20 minutes.
If you hike the whole way, you will have to cross the river twice by hiring a raft for probably 10 RMB, so our boat driver suggested that he will drop us off at the third dock so we can hike all the way to Xingping without needing to cross, for 80 RMB (after a long negotiation).
The resulting experience: should have stayed on the raft all the way. It could be possible that the last leg of the river was just not as exciting. Perhaps the hike near Yangdi is better? Well, the first 10 minutes were nice. There were nice grassy "valley" along the river where cattle were being herded and locals were working, then after that it was all about walking and listening to the engines on the rafts for 2 hours. They are loud, kind of ruins it. You only get to enjoy the visual beauty of the place.
I have to say, the same landscape formation, I like Li River better than Haolong Bay in Vietnam. Li River is narrower and you get the feeling of being surrounded by it. There were a group of four tourists also trying to find a boat to hire. Turned out they were offered 70 RMB per person, which was way over priced. I told them that on the internet, it says 120 RMB per boat and people in Guilin were offering 120 RMB (call their cousin or uncle who owns a raft). Persistence and knowing your price finally paid off. They accepted 40 RMB per person. Good enough. Although it was weird. We were expecting being swarmed by sellers but there weren't any. Possibly because we were there late, 1pm. So it was difficult to negotiate.
A warning about the bus coming from Guilin. Even though you bought the official ticket and hop on the bus at the main bus station (on west side of Zhong Shang Middle Road, north of Guilin Railway Station), the bus leaves the station but will go around town trying to pick up more people to fill the bus. We went all around the city center for over an hour, picking up random people at the public bus stops and intersections. Also people would call the driver and we have to go pick them up. Over one hour wasted! It was horrible and frustrating...
But if you go with a tour, it's a cruise on a big boat. Those look really tacky and not fun. Most of the big cruise boat passing us were empty. Plenty of bambo rafts, even more crowded down by Xingping.
Last word of advice: when your hike ended at Xingping, take the open-sided mini truck to the bus station! It's a long long walk... That was a mistake.
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