Li River Facts
Chinese Name: 漓江
Chinese Pinyin: Lí Jiāng
English Translation: Li River
Length: 102 miles (164 kilometers)
Location: Originating from Laoshanjie Ridge of Mao'er Mountain in Xing'an County, and traversing Guilin City in the middle.
The karst landscape along Li River is widely considered representative of this kind of inland region. Hailed as having the largest and most beautiful karst landscape, the river meanders for about 102 miles, boasting incomparable scenes of lofty green peaks on both of its banks. The main features of the river are the green hills, clear water, peculiar stones and splendid caves. In a list of the World's Top 15 Rivers quoted CNN, the Li River is the only one from China.
World's Largest and Most Beautiful Karst Landscape
Yangdi Village and Xingping Town. There are many places of interest between these two locations. The popular Li River cruise is the best way to enjoy the charm of the hills and water, and a boat can be taken from the Bamboo River Port. Floating down the river is like being taken into a landscape painting. As you pass hills, caves, bamboo groves and villages, it will be as though you are immersed in the picturesque scenes.
It is hard to take one's eyes off the continuous undulating hills along the cruise. The hills with their eclectic shapes are truly favors from nature, and most of them are named after their extraordinary appearance. Open your heart and let your imagination fly! You will encounter the Elephant Trunk Hill, vividly resembling a giant elephant drinking water, Solitary Beauty Peak like a lonely goddess, Folded Brocade Hill like a pile of colorful silk, and Yangdi Village with a hill resembling a goat's hooves.
Use Your Imagination When Seeing the Hills in Various Shapes
Rafting along the river, you will see a sharp precipice named Nine-Horse Fresco Hill. Seen from a distance, it looks like a giant mural in several colors. So you can also call it Mural Hill. It is said that, in total, plants and rocks on the cliff profile the shapes of nine horses. An old saying spread among local people is that, 'If you recognize seven horses on the cliff, you can attain the second level of the Imperial Examination (an ancient test to select talents for the royal court). If you count nine, you will be the winner of the entire Examination.' Therefore, counting horses on this hill continues to be a traditional activity even today.
Counting Horses on Nine-Horse Fresco Hill
The beauty of the hills along the river lies in their reflection. The most beautiful reflection can be seen on the Yellow Cloth Shoal, the scene printed on the note CNY 20. There is a large beige flagstone under the water surface, looking like a piece of yellow cloth laid flat on the riverbed. That's how the shoal got its name. Seven elegant peaks, named Seven Fairy Maidens, stand on each bank, casting their reflection on the water. When the weather is fine, the reflection is so clear that you can hardly distinguish it from the real hill.
Landscape on Note CNY 20 – Yellow Cloth Shoal
A bamboo raft is long established means of Li River transport. Without the noise of an engine, you will experience the near silence of the river and savor twist and turn of the scenery as you slowly drift along. The most beautiful section to appreciate in this unique way is between Yangdi and Xingping. For a one or two hours' drift, you can start at Yangdi. But if you prefer to spend even more time drifting, you can take raft from the Crown Cave.
Drifting on a Bamboo Raft
Scenery along Li River is beautiful all year around. However, in fact, the river does not display all its charm during the dry period between November and January. This is when the shallowest stretch of the river less than 3.3 feet (1 meter) deep. So, the best time to pay a visit is between April and October. After a lot of rainfall in spring, the river puts on a perfect show for visitors.
Travel in High Flow Period from April to October
There are many karst caves along the river worth visiting, such as the Seven-Star Cave, Crown Cave and Reed Flute Cave. Here you will see stalactites and stalagmites that form fantastic shapes, like animals, waterfalls, pagodas, and forests. With colored lights, the decorated caves are like crystal palaces.