The poetic and picturesque Li River originates in Mountain Mao’er (Cat) at Xin’an county about 80 km in the northeast of Guilin. It winds and meanders its way for 170 kilometers, passing through Guilin, Yangshuo to the outlet of Gongchen river in Pingle county and then joins the Xi River, which is the upper reaches of Pearl River. The 83-km-long section from Guilin to Yangshuo has the best scenery and is the masterpiece of Li River, decorated with rolling hills, steep cliffs, fantastic caves, leisurely boats and lined bamboos, which constitute a fascinating hundred-kilometer picture gallery. Gorgeous Karst pinnacles give you surprises at each bend of the limpid river under the blue sky. Its banks are covered with lush bamboo and luxuriantly green woods.
The daily routines of the local people present you a picture of leisure country life: water buffalos patrol the fields, peasants reap rice paddies, village women do their laundry in the river, school kids and fisherman float by on bamboo rafts. With its breathtaking scenery and taste of a life far removed from the concrete metropolis, the scenery along the Li River become one of China’s top tourist destinations and attracts thousands of visitors both from home and abroad. Such numerous natural wonders along the 83-kilometer riverbank from Guilin to Yangshuo have inspired the saying: "Guilin has the most beautiful scenery in China, and Yangshuo is the most beautiful part of Guilin."
Hanyu, a famous poet in Tang Dynasty, vividly described the enchanting beauty of the Li 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 unique beauty of four characteristics: verdant mountains, crystal-clear water, mysterious caves, and exquisite rocks. The Li River’s charm varies with every change of light. At the rainy season, the river is shrouded with mist, the hills look more graceful when covered with such a fine gauze. Rain or shine you may enjoy it just as well. The eye-feasting landscape and country scenery will never disappoint you.
Li River cruise is a tour of highlight in Guilin that no one should miss. Depending on the season and level of the water, your boats depart from piers downstream from Guilin and disembark passengers in Yangshuo, a journey of about four hours.
The Li River also is a pleasant setting for displays of cormorant fishing. Fishermen on bamboo rafts use strong lights suspended over the water to attract the fish. The cormorants, which are tethered with rings round the base of their necks, catch the fish and then disgorge them for the fishermen.