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“the China I imagined”
Review of Li River

Li River
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$108.99*
and up
Li River Cruise Full Day Tour of Guilin and Yangshuo
Ranked #1,011 of 1,004 things to do in Guangxi
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Metro Manila, Philippines
Level Contributor
53 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“the China I imagined”
Reviewed September 13, 2013

This is the China I imagined looking at all those paintings of karsts when I was a child. I took a Li River Cruise in August 2013. At first I did not want to be in a packaged tour but looks like I have no choice in this case. I only have three days in Guilin and Yangshou, so as soon as I landed, I took the 250 RMB river cruise from Yang Di to Ping Xing which I arranged with an agent in the information booth of Guilin airport. I paid in the airport and was directed to go to Aviation hotel and wait for my pick-up there. Waited in the lobby of Aviation hotel for more than 30 minutes, and eventually was picked by a big bus full of tourists headed for Yang Di. Jump off point was Yang Di where you will take “bamboo rafts look-alikes” which are actually made of PVC’s which can carry four people plus the boatman. For me this is nicer, than those huge boats cruising the Li river. The toilet in Yang Di scenic area is an experience in itself. And it was quite a welcome in rural China. All part of the adventure I must say but if you low tolerance, then better not use the public toilet here.
The cruise was just two hours in total and you would get to see the most scenic part of the Li River from Yang Di to somewhere close to Xing Ping. The weather that day was cloudy which added to the mystic feel of the place. The sight that I saw while cruising along Lijiang is something I will remember for the rest of my life, beautiful karsts amidst fog and rain (if only they were not broken by the humming of the raft engines).

Visited August 2013
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Thank Nikki Lou B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
166 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
“The Best of Guilin”
Reviewed September 7, 2013

Whatever the weather condition, a cruise on the Li River is a "Must do" on any visit to Guilin, as the scenery is as mesmerising on a sunny day on my first visit years ago as it is on a misty day this time round. As one cruises from Guilin to Yangshuo, there are said to be over 300 turns along the river with a change in scenery in every turn. One can lose count of the number of turns, but cannot lose sight of the rugged and imposing mountain ranges along the way. Their breathtaking beauty is awesome and provides endless scenic spots for photo-lovers.

Guilin is reputedly the most scenic place in China for its amazingly pretty mountains and rivers. Only on a crusie on the Li River can one appreciate the extent of such heavenly beauty.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Cletus L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
Level Contributor
118 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“If I knew then what I know now...we would have taken a local PVC boat.”
Reviewed September 4, 2013

I would have done it differently. We were on a large "Western" river boat going from Guilin to Yangshuo. We had a guide with us, but he proved to be fairly useless for the river cruise, in my opinion. Upon getting on board we were served tea and given a menu to order extra river type food to supplement the included lunch. There was turtle soup, multiple kinds of fish, mussels and that type of thing. All over priced.

As we traveled along, a small boat with a woman on board sold to our river boat the different fish that people had ordered and then went on to the other river boats. It was fun to watch the sterns of the other large river boats, as they were cooking lunch in giant woks and such. Don't plan to spend time on the lower deck of the large river boats unless you take your ear plugs - VERY LOUD, and nose plugs (diesel fuel, I believe). The bathrooms were typical heads on a Chinese boat (squat toilets), and of course no elevators or access for wheelchairs. The bottom deck seemed to have only Chinese folks, and I suspect that they paid a lower fare. I don't know how much the fare was, as our guide took care of this for us.

We enjoyed the scenery, I stayed on the top deck from shortly after tea until they served lunch. It was beautiful, a nice soft breeze and gorgeous sun (wear your hat, it is bright), nice and hot. It did get crowded, but there seemed to be plenty of railing for everyone even though most seemed to want to crowd around the front rail. Be sure you have plenty of memory and battery power for your camera, you will use it on this trip. The scenery is as lovely as others have described, local children and some adults fishing with nets in the water, water buffalo, ducks and their ducklings, lots of fish to be had.

Lunch itself was passable, not very good in my opinion, but they have plenty of rice and noodles as cheap fillers. Bring your own food to supplement. You receive one glass of beer or soda with lunch, additional beverages you must purchase. They do go around and offer "Snake Wine" which was described by a tablemate who bought a glass as grain alcohol with no real taste. He bargained the lady down by asking for only a "taste," otherwise she wasn't willing to go down. I did hear of a couple of people being able to get a slightly lower price on some things on board, but they were still tremendously over-priced.

The most fun was seeing the small boats made out of PVC pipes that had paying customers who were required to wear very sorry looking life jackets carrying water guns/shooter trying to shoot the large river boat passengers as they passed them by. They could dip their hands or feet in the water as they went. It looked like they were having a great time. In hindsight, I'd have taken one of these little hired boats to be closer to the river and not be with a bunch of other tourists. We probably would have spent less time on the river (the first and last half hours were relatively boring stretches that I could have easily skipped and less $$$. I also think that our sons would have preferred to be closer to the water and not spend the useless time on the boat.

After I finished my lunch, I took my chair from the table out onto the front deck and sat in the shade and wrote my travelogue on my iPad, taking occasional pictures on it as well. It was one of my favorite parts of the whole cruise, as almost everyone was still inside or had gone on the top deck after lunch. I had the whole area to myself for most of the time. I want to note that other than inside at the tables, there is no seating whatsoever on these large river boats.

Upon disembarking, we enjoyed walking up the very touristy street to where all of the tour buses were. The vendors sure seem to have the tourists numbers, and they do not bargain much. I felt like I was getting a fair deal by western standards, but not nearly as a good a deal as in other places. We still bought a couple of things anyway. It seemed that most people were told to meet their group or guide "Under the KFC sign at the end of the street." We walked around and went across the Main Street and just had a chance to check things out.

After this we took a ride to Fuli, the painted scroll factory. We had originally planned to rent bikes and cycle over, but the road to Fuli was busier than we had anticipated, and though the locals seemed to do just fine on their bikes, we decided that with that amount of traffic, we may as well pass on the bikes. They did have plenty of bikes to rent, including tandem bikes.

We went to Fuli and enjoyed our guides explanations of how the houses had been built with stores underneath and a small window to look out to determine if the person knocking at their door was someone that they wanted to deal with after dark. He also explained the red signs on the entryways and what they meant. We went to the scroll factory and saw huge differences in quality between the Peng Family Painted Scroll Factory and other scroll stores. In the Peng Family Scroll Factory they let us all try to put the wood in the fans. It is not as easy as it looks.

After this, we asked our guide to take us to the local market that was in Fuli that day. The market moves from one village to the next and is only in each village once every couple of weeks. It was the end of the day by this point, so about half of the vendors had closed up shop already, but we saw a man getting his hair cut in the open air, saw chickens go from alive and clucking to plucked and ready for dinner (I am sure it isn't a big deal to those who have spent time around farms or in rural areas, but to city folks, it was a show. Lots of different foods, and unusual items, live fish swimming around in tanks, talk about fresh farm raised seafood! We enjoyed our time in Fuli very much.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank luron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
24 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Spectacular scenery”
Reviewed August 21, 2013

This cruise is really amazing. The rock formations are spectacular and not to be missed. We were very happy to be able to enjoy both the outside and inside of our boat. The August heat is not so bad if you can retreat for a while to the inside AC. We saw many tourists in the bamboo rafts, but they looked very hot, and sat much lower in the water, perhaps not getting as good a view. We skipped the food offered on the boat and instead had lunch in Yangshou. We ended up buying one of the books for sale on the boat, as our tour guide said the quality of the book was better and the DVD would actually work. Probably we paid too much, but that's ok, the book has stunning photographs.

Visited August 2013
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1 Thank Dolceduet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
341 reviews
219 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 160 helpful votes
“Scenic part of China”
Reviewed July 17, 2013

This cruise was a part of our China tour and was a beautiful experience not to be missed.
Our day was wet and a bit on the cool side. Our guide picked us up after breakfast and took us to the cruise boat, which was one of many boats, we had to walk across a couple of other boats to get to our one.
The scenery along the river has the very sharp, rising, limestone hills which are associated with parts of China and some other parts of Asia, it is very beautiful. The scenery here is depicted in a lot of Traditional Chinese Calligraphy paintings and on one of their currency notes (The 20 Yuan note). Life on the river is quite an active one, even though it was a wet day there are a lot of raft style boats made out of PVC pipe, with motors on the back and cabins built on top, very unique.
Our lunch was okay, it was a help yourself style feed that is cooked on the rear of the boat as you travel down stream.
The cruise finishes at the town of Yangshuo, where you have to walk through the West street tourist market to get back to your bus, but I did enjoy the market atmosphere as well.
The cruise takes over 3 hours.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
Thank MitchMitch52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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