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“Great landscape, terrible boat trip”
Review of Li River

Li River
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Li River Cruise Full Day Tour of Guilin and Yangshuo
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Private Guilin Half Day Tour including Li River, Reed Flute Cave and Elephant...
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Li River Cruise and Yangshuo Day Tour from Guilin
Ranked #1,012 of 1,004 things to do in Guangxi
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Taby, Sweden
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Great landscape, terrible boat trip”
Reviewed November 9, 2013

We took the boat trip from Guilin to Yangshuo. An bus picked us up at our hotel in Guilin and others at a few other hotels, then it took us to the boat docks which turned out to be some 30-40 minute drive south of Guilin. There was a guide in the bus who spoke only Chinese, and more or less continuously (and loud) for the full 30 minutes. At the boat docks we were instructed where to find our boat (#19). Finding it went without problems (there were around 50 boats there, leaving at around the same time!), however in the boat there turned out to be some problem with our seats which were already taken so we were moved to another boat (slightly less nice, no tablecloths for instance). In the chaos our tickets disappeared and of course noone spoke anything but Chinese. During the boat trip two different "guides" kept speaking (Chinese only) in a microphone at a *very* high volume. We had no choice but to use our headphones/earplugs and try do dampen the sound with some music. I tried to escape to the roof platform but on the way I had to pass another guy speaking (loudly, in Chinese) in a megaphone. In the end my coping strategy was to sit tight at my seat by the window, music in ears, focusing on the beautiful landscape. Unfortunately I had to close the window in periods because of the fruit vendors that anchored their bamboo rafts at the boatside "in-flight" (rather cool, in fact) but when the boat sped up water would then splash inside.
We knew that lunch would be served but we could not get information about when and how. Someone walked around with a menu and some passengers ordered from that. Later someone came around serving small dishes that turned out not to be included in the ticket price. Towards the end the lunch was finally served, consisting of a steel bowl with a rather cold rice dish, the cheapest imaginable lunch, especially considered the incredibly steep ticket price of 300 Yuans per person.

In short, our recommendation is: Avoid the boat trip and find some other way of enjoying the beautiful landscape. Maybe a bamboo raft or at least make sure you get a boat with guides speaking a language you can understand and that serves some decent lunch for the price. We stayed at a hotel in Yangshuo by the river a bit outside the city centre, and the breakfasts on the patio and a late cup of tea on the balcony among the magnificent mountains and butterflies was outstanding. We went by bicycle to Dragon river and from there one can take a bamboo raft (real bambo, not the plastic ones seen on the Guilin-Yangshuo-stretch) to Yangshuo city, takes about an hour and the scenery is just as amazing (at least from what we could see from our bikes).

Visited November 2013
4 Thank bjorn_myrland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Las Vegas, Nevada
Level 6 Contributor
132 reviews
90 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“Hike it!”
Reviewed November 2, 2013

Like other reviewers, the best way in my opinion to admire the georgeous river is on foot! I did the Yangdi-Xingping hike that lasted approximitely 5 hrs and at the end I was super satisfied.

Got to Yangdi by cab, the initial part had to be done with the bamboo electric boat (10 minutes), then it stops you and you start your hike.

Walk by the river and you will be delighted by the peeks scenary all around you. Mid way through, you have to catch a 2 minute ferry boat that crosses to the other side of the trail. easy stuff.

Doing it with the large boats from Guillin might be a good option for un fit/lazy or anyone that does not like walking (note that it is a really long hike and it gets a bit challenging if its very warm)

Visited October 2013
Thank Clint S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Croydon, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Best thing in China”
Reviewed October 31, 2013

The scenery was stunningly beautiful, every inch of it from Zhujiang all the way to Yangshuo. We spent two weeks in China, and this was the best thing we did. It was not sunny, and even in a fleece it was a little cold standing on deck, but I couldn't tear myself away.

We made all our arrangements in China independently, and I booked this excursion through holidaychinatour.com. They were very straightforward to deal with. I paid 50% on booking via Paypal in USD, and the other 50% on the day in RMB. They provided comfortable coaches for pick-up and for the return journey. Their guide, Carrie Chin, was very good, and spoke good English (if a little rapidly.) There was no pressure to buy any other product, although there was an optional addition, the three hours' punting on the Yangshuo river on bamboo rafts, for 150RMB pp, which I would also recommend. My brief glimpse of West Street in Yangshuo did not instil any regret that we were missing something there. It looks very touristy, rather like Pattaya. Our boat was the Ge Shi Ni. It looked larger and better appointed than any of the other boats we passed (or that passed us!) The dining room was very smart. The food on the other hand was just acceptable. Highly recommended overall.

Visited October 2013
Thank PAH49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
160 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
“Breath taking scenery”
Reviewed October 29, 2013

We joined the cruise tour in Guilin and was picked up from our hotel and taken to the pier. We got on board and set off, but about 15 minutes into our cruise, we noticed that a lot of boat were passing us, which was strange we thought, then another boat came up along us, and was drawing very close to us, which was rather alarming. . .then suddenly they stopped, and all the passengers from the other boat, started boarding our vessel! It was alarming, as suddenly you had people swarming into the boat! It felt as if pirates had boarded the ship! But what it was is they combined the passengers from a "cheaper" cruise, unto our boat! The staff do try to upsell you on a plethora of stuff, 2nd floor seating (for better view) was going for 300 RMB per person, seafood or "local cuisine" food, for additional cost, etc. (the cruise was supposed to come with a lunch buffet, which consisted of one piece of under-cooked chicken drummette, a few strings of french fries, noodles, vegetables and some fruit.). Unfortunately, the day we set out on the cruise was quite cloudy and misty. . . however, as one of the locals stated, the weather does not detract from the view, as the cloudy weather adds to the mystery and majesty of the mountains, which is how we choose to look at it. So we took lots of pictures. Overall the scenery was worth the trip, however the service is really sub standard. So go for the views, and don't expect much in terms of food or service. . . if you got a better vessel and service, then be happy that it is a great cruise.

Visited October 2013
Thank hkfornow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salem, Oregon
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“World Resource!”
Reviewed October 28, 2013

I rode the Li River Cruise yesterday and it was wonderful all the way, every aspect. They did a fine job with all the people wanting to experience this world treasure. Just to think of all the coordination that goes on, every day, to get the right people onto the right boats, to get the boats cleaned up and back upriver for the next day. Sharing a huge landscape and big river with lots of other boats? Not a problem. Skilled pilots. Skilled guides. I had no interest in counting the number of horse images among the rocks, but when I said “oh, now I see,” she was happy. And the food was fine, traditional foods, specially prepared for us in traditional ways, on the aft deck. Buffet-style, eight or ten alternatives, even French fried potatoes (traditional Chinese French fries, I’m sure, likely a Chinese invention, if someone would just do the research). Take what you like. At the far end, I chose to stay in busy Yangshuo, so I cannot report on the trek back to Guilin. I was glad I chose the big boat.

Visited October 2013
Thank Jim S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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