Overview:Cruising on Li River is always a pleased thing. You can breathe the fresh air, feel gentle breeze and appreciate the fabulous landscape on both sides of Li River. In spring, tourists may stand on the front of a boat and let the mizzle falls onto their faces. It is really a wonderful experience.
The Li River Cruise is the highlight of all Guilin tours. The cruise starts in Guilin and ends in Yangshuo and is over eighty kilometers long. The Li River passes by some of the most beautiful landscape on earth. It is like an ancient Chinese landscape painting come to life as you slowly cruise by bamboo groves, ancient villages, fishermen on bamboo rafts, and locals washing their laundry in the river. It is a very special experience. The karst mountains that line the river are very unique and many of them have been formed by millennia into different shapes. Many of them are named and are surrounded by interesting legends. Below are a few of the more famous formations.
Elephant Trunk Hill:
The symbol of Guilin, Elephant Trunk Hill looks like a gigantic stone elephant dipping its trunk into the Li River. It is the centerpiece of a park.
Located a few minutes cruise past Elephant Trunk Hill, is a small rock formation topped with an ancient brick pagoda. The pagoda was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and was named Longevity Buddha Pagoda. According to legend, it was built to trap a demon who was terrorizing the area.
Located on the northern bank of the Li River, the ancient town of Daxu is filled with houses dating back to the Ming and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties. It is a very picturesque village. Opposite the town is Millstone Mountain. It is shaped like a traditional Chinese millstone for grinding grain.
This 12 kilometer long cave is a favorite site with visitors. It got its name from a crown shaped crag. It can be reached by bus from either Guilin, or Yangshuo. The cave is like a fairyland, filled with stlactites, rock formations, and so much more.
Half Side Ferry:
Located on the western bank of the Li River, the Half Side Ferry is unique. A footpath which winds along the riverbank is cut off by a huge rock and the only way around the rock to continue on the footpath is to take a ferry which goes around the rock. Unlike a normal ferry which crosses a river, this one only goes halfway across the river before coming back to the bank, so it is named Half Side Ferry.
Nine Horse Mural Mountain:
One of the most famous hills on the Li River Cruise, Nine Horse Mural Mountain is a 100 meter high cliff which, in a combination of weathering and rock stratus has taken on the appearance of a painting having nine horses on it. It is said that a person who can identify all nine is exceptionally intelligent.
Yellow Cloth Shoal:
About 500 meter downstream of the Nine Horse Mural Hill, a large yellow stone lies under the waters of the river. IT looks like a piece of yellow cloth. On the shore are seven steep peaks. It is said that the seven peaks are seven fairies, who came down from heaven to bathe in the river. They were so enthralled by the scenery that they stayed there and eventually became the seven peeks.
At Xingping Village, the Li River takes a sharp right turn. The village is very famous for the scenery surrounding it. When you reach this point of the river, if you turn around, you will see the same image on the Chinese 20Yuan note. It is a very famous section of the river.
One of the most photographed hills on the Li River, Snail Hill is located 1 kilometer south of Xingping Town. The stratus layers coil up the hill from the bottom and make it look like a snail shell. Located just south of Snail Hill is Snail Cave. It got its name from the hill. The stalactites of the cave are particularly interesting and have the shape of fruits, flowers, birds, and animals. There are three which look like three snail shells next to each other. One is pure white, the other is dark black and the other is emerald green.
Green Lotus Peak:
This hill resembles a budding lotus blossom and is very different in shape to the other mountains in the area.
Rising straight up on the right bank of the Li River, the Schoolboy Hill has an interesting legend behind it. According to legend, an evil dragon that lived in the Li River often ate the locals and their livestock. One day a schoolboy received a sealed book from his teacher. The book was magical and taught the boy how to beat the dragon. The schoolboy used the book to beat the dragon. He could see the dragon lying in the river and he was afraid the dragon was just pretending to be dead, so he decided he must stay at the river’s edge to watch the dragon, and he eventually turned to stone. The hill looks like a boy reading a book.
Located not far from Schoolboy Hill is Yangshuo. It is world famous for its blend of Western and Chinese culture. The countryside around Yangshuo is particularly beautiful and many visitors like to rent bicycles, or ride in an electric touring car to see it.