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 Yellow Cloth Shoal is arguably the essence of this section. The shoal is located in Xingping Town in Yangshuo County of Guilin, about 550 yards (500 m) downriver from Mural Hill. Approaching Yellow Cloth Shoal, one will find that the broad water is as smooth as a mirror, reflecting 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 it is named so.


Landscape on Banknote CNY 20

As the representative of China’s natural landscapes, the picture of Yellow Cloth Shoal has been brought to 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 Yellow Cloth Shoal, and you need to stand at the stern and look back. Since the cruise goes fast, you have to find a great shooting angle and take pictures as soon as possible. Do you get 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 Li River lies in its inverted reflections and the most charming reflection is the one at Yellow Cloth Shoal. That might because of seven elegant peaks standing on both sides of the shoal. They are named 'Seven Fairy Maidens Descending to the World'. Legend goes that the seven fairy maidens traveled to 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 than to obey the order. 

On a sunny day, these seven fairy maidens show visitors their true appearances. The reflections of the seven peaks are so vivid that you may not tell the real peaks by the river from the reflections in the water. You will have the feeling that you are sailing on the top of the peaks. Early back to the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911 AD), a poet Yuan Mu wrote the following poem to express his astonishment when he saw this stunning scenery: what on the water looks just like real hill tops, but if it is true, then how come there is a boat sailing on it? You are suggested to come here to see sunrise or sunset, which will be very different from the one you have seen from the mountain top. When the setting sun beams down on calm water, the surface is shining with dim reflections on it, 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 the raindrops while on a foggy day, the reflections will be shrouded in mist. However, many believe that the Yellow Cloth Shoal has a distinctive flavor when it is rainy or foggy.


Photography Tips

With alluring sceneries, the shoal is always beloved by painters and photographers. It is said that the earliest picture of the reflections we can see now is the one took 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 picture of this scenery is as long as 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’d 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 never disappoints 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 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 below 4.3 feet (1.3m). 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 within 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