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Li River, Guilin

Often listed by big publications as one of the top waterways in the world, when we say that this one is scenic, we really mean it. And no, that doesn’t mean that usually we’re telling fibs, it’s just that the Li River is basically China’s crowning glory when looking for some of that stunning scenery that you’ve seen portrayed in any classical painting of China that you’ve ever clapped eyes upon. That was a bit of a mouthful really, wasn’t it? But basically, Li River is pretty spectacular, so if you’re on the search for some staggering scenery, this is one for your list.

Flanked by towering karst peaks and peppered with traditional bamboo rafts, if oriental beauty is what you’re after, then oriental beauty is what you’ll get in this destination – it just doesn’t get better. Sleepy villages are brought to life on market days, bamboo groves line the shores and the hills roll for as far as the eye can see. A journey down this iconic river won’t only transport you from Guilin to Yangshuo, but also back in time. Hello, pastoral China.

And it’s not just as simple as connecting the scenic city of Guilin with the popular tourist town of Yangshuo, this river offers up weeks worth of exploration. But you’ll have to remind yourself to stop watching it through your camera lens, because as many snappable moments that there are on this river, nothing beats taking it in with your own two eyes.

Why add Li River to your itinerary

It’s an iconic symbol of Oriental beauty and a quieter side to China than you’ll have experienced in the country’s big cities. Here, fairytale landscapes are the norm and a sense of serenity is guaranteed.

Bamboo rafts are the most popular way to travel, but contrary to popular belief, in this day and age you’re more likely to see them built from plastic tubes than actual bamboo – they still make for a good picture though. In fact, you’ll be short on things that aren’t photogenic on this river. It’s the perfect spot for any budding photographers to really fine tune their skills, that’s for sure.

Whether you take in its sights on a cool and collected cruise, or opt for the sweatier option of exploring its shores on foot or bike, Li River won’t fail to wow.

Li River essential information


Running between Yangshuo and Guilin.

Opening times

This river stops for no man, so you can soak in its myriad delights 24 hours a day.

Dress code

It can get quite hot and humid during summer, so layers are always best and something to protect your head from the sun. There will be no sun stroke on our watch!

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