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Li River Cruise

Guilin, China

When in Guangxi region, checking out the 80 kms long Li River is a priority item on most visitors list. The scenic views there are considered some of the best aquatic panoramas in the world.

The Li river starts in Guilin, twists and turns past many a pretty landscape before finally ending at Pingle, the point where it becomes one with the river Lipu. However, Li river cruises generally go from Guilin to Yangshuo in a single-way trip. The ideal time to make the most of these cruises is April to September, when the weather is favorable, and visibility clear. The only times to avoid are July, August and public holidays because there is major influx of domestic tourism at that point. The cruise generally lasts 4-5 hours depending on stops the service provider takes. Travelers have the option to either sleep over at Yangshuo, which is a quaint little town a short distance apart from Guilin or catch a bus ride back the same day (Guilin bound buses go at frequent intervals till 20:30).

Once the trip is planned and the cruise ship boarded, gear up to be blessed with some amazing sights. The journey is broken up in to three parts. The region from Guilin to Ox Gorge (A), onwards to Water-Dropping Village (B) and finally to Yangshuo (C).

The four main attractions on part A of the trip are Ancient Town of Daxu, Elephant Trunk Hill, Chuanshan Natural Reserve and Ox Gorge. Elephant Trunk Hill is iconic amongst these and is an emblem of Guilin’s water wonderscape. As the name describes, the hill resembles an elephant bent over and drinking with its sprout. Further along, you will come across Chuanshan Natural Reserve and Daxu Town, both of which have unique charms that are worth a closer look. At the sight of peculiar cliffs looking like oxen, know that you have completed the first leg of your journey.

Along part B of the journey you get Yellow Coal Shoal, Yangdi Town, Wangfu Rock, Xinping Town, Mural Hill, Half-Side Ferry, Xianggong Mountain and Crown Cave. All parts have something to offer but this particular part is the crowning glory along the river Li and one you must be on the front seat for. Mural Hill with its colorful rock façade and Crown Cave with its precious layout (ships usually stop here), the buffalos and fishermen and their unique fishing companions will get you many rewarding pictures.

These fishermen have cormorant birds who are trained to dive underwater and retrieve fish for them. A ring is tied around their neck which prevents them from gulping the catch. Pretty ingenious! The villages that pop-up en route are worth a stop-over too.

The last leg (C) of the cruise includes Schoolboy or Shutong Hill, Green Lotus Peak and Snail Hill before coming to stop at Yangshuo, a serene and old town with an enchanting feel that deserves a night stay to properly explore if you aren’t in too much of a hurry.

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