Yellow Cloth Shoal

Yellow Cloth Shoal
Yellow Cloth Shoal
There is no doubt that the section from Yangdi Village to Xingping Town is the highlight of the Li River, and the Yellow Cloth Shoal is arguably the essence of this section. The shoal is located in Xingping Town in Yangshuo County of Guilin, about 500 m (550 yards) downriver from Mural Hill. Approaching the Yellow Cloth Shoal, one will find that the broad water is as smooth as a mirror, reflecting the hills on the banks. A large cream-colored flagstone lies under the broad water, looking like a piece of new yellow cloth lying on the riverbed, hence the name.
 
 

Landscape on Banknote CNY 20

As the representative of China's natural landscape, the picture of the Yellow Cloth Shoal has been shown at an international tourism expo. Moreover, it is the very place from where the background design on the CNY 20 banknote originates. Visitors love taking a photo of the banknote against the background of this fascinating scenery. The best time to enjoy the scenery is when the cruise just passes by the Yellow Cloth Shoal, and you need to stand at the stern and look back. Since the ship goes fast, you have to find a great shooting angle and take pictures as soon as possible. Have you got your camera ready? For those who choose to take a bamboo raft, you can go ashore to take pictures at Yellow Shoal Dock.
 
 

Enchanting Reflections

It is said that the beauty of the Li River lies in its reflections and the most charming reflection is the one at the Yellow Cloth Shoal. That might be because of seven elegant peaks standing on both sides of the shoal. They are named 'Seven Fairy Maidens Descending to the World'. Legend has it that the seven fairy maidens traveled to the Li River and were deeply attracted by the unique scenery. They lingered with no thought of leaving, even though the annoyed Jade Emperor ordered them to return to Heaven. However, they preferred to turn themselves into mountain peaks and stay in Guilin for ever rather than obeying the order.

On a sunny day these seven fairy maidens show visitors their true appearance. The reflections of the seven peaks are so vivid that you may not be able to tell the real peaks by the river from the reflections in the water. You will have the feeling that you are sailing on top of the peaks. Early in the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911 AD), the poet Yuan Mu wrote the following poem to express his astonishment when he saw this stunning scenery: ‘What’s on the water looks just like real hill tops, but if it is true, then how come there is a boat sailing on it?’ We suggest that you come here to see the sunrise or sunset, which will be very different from the one you have seen from the mountain top. When the setting sun shines on calm water, the surface shows dim reflections, looking like a wash painting created by nature.

Nevertheless, not everybody is lucky enough to enjoy this enthralling sight, for on a wet day the reflection will be broken up by raindrops, while on a foggy day the reflections will be shrouded in mist. However, many believe that it has a distinctive flavor when it is rainy or foggy.
 
 

Photography Tips

With its alluring views, the shoal has always been beloved by painters and photographers. It is said that the earliest picture of the reflections we can see now is the one taken by a western photographer at the beginning of the twentieth century. During the past century millions of pictures have been taken. People even joke that the films used to take pictures of this view is as long as the Li River.

Early morning around five o'clock and a higher place will make a better photo, and if you want to shoot the sunrise, you had better visit between May and October. To get a good shot of the first light of the day a number of photography enthusiasts get up early before the break of dawn and wait to seize the right moment. But it is worthwhile because the beautiful landscape will never disappoint you.
 
 

How to Go to Yellow Cloth Shoal

 From Guilin: Take a Li River morning cruise ship from Zhujiang dock. The 4.5-hour downstream cruise to Yangshuo passes the Yellow Cloth Shoal around noon. Follow the ship guide’s reminder to take a quick shot of the scene.

Or you can take a bus from Guilin general bus station to Yangdi dock first, and then hire a bamboo raft to Xingping Town, which costs CNY216 for an adult and around CNY40 for a child under 1.3m (4.3 feet). You can go ashore to take pictures of the shoal and then continue your journey.

 From Yangshuo: A bus from Yangshuo bus station to Xingping Town takes 40 minutes. Walk to the Xingping dock to rent a bamboo raft to go upstream to the shoal or hike the whole way in one hour.
 
Admission Fee Note: Some best spots or platforms for photography are enclosed by local people, and usually charge CNY 5 - 10 per person.
Opening Hours The whole day

media recommendationfeatured on media