One of the most popular Yangshuo tourist destinations is the Li River running through the tourist town of Yangshuo. The Li has some very beautiful stretches that can be reached by bus, bicycle or by hiking. A popular way to view the Li River it to take a bus from Yangshuo to the nearby town of Yangdi and then rent a bamboo raft and float down to Xingping and then by bus back to Yangshuo. Anya had done the Li River trip before and brought me along to see its grandeur.
Coming over the mountain pass above Yangdi I shot the photo above. In this photo you can see the mountains that make this part of China so popular with the tourists. The entire area around Yanghuo and up and down the Li and Yu Rivers are surrounded by these beautiful green gems that climb up from the river to great heights forming a magnificent valley along the riverway. Unfortunately, it was quite an overcast day and the colors in this post are a bit subdued, but I vowed that I would return to the Li River again, on the next sunny day. The photo below is near the docks at Yangdi where I bartered for a boat to Xingping. Note to fellow travellers, don’t pay more than 100 Yuan for a bamboo raft to Xingping; I was quoted as high as 240.
I shot this photo (below) from the bow of MY bamboo raft. The boat coming opposite is the same type as I was in; the driver sits in the back, a double bench seat in the front for the passengers and a shade canopy overhead. I chuckled as I looked at the “bamboo” that was actually large PVC pipes. It seems that “progress” never ends… I suppose that its cheaper to use plastic than bamboo wood, but perhaps better for the bamboo forests?
As I motored peacefully down the Li River headed towards Xingping (and Yangshuo beyond) I enjoyed the beautiful view and busily snapped away with my camera. I saw this water buffalo and made sure to get a photo of him in front of the green mountains that disappeared into the foggy mists. I thought again and again, I must come back during the summer time.
Despite the overcast skies, the grand vistas from the Li River were spectacular. Even though the mountains were somewhat obscured by the haze and fog, the views were still quite stunning. With each mile that I floated down the river, I came upon mountain after mountain in a never-ending cascade of spikes and spires covered in lush green foliage. I enjoyed the gentle hum of the boats motor, the sound of the water splashing between the “bamboo” floor of the boat and I waved hello to passing boats of Chinese as they motored up the river headed from Yangshuo to Yangdi.
Sometimes, the river narrowed and there seemed to be some “traffic.” The boat captains expertly navigated many near misses and I looked at the Chinese in the passing boats and they looked at me. I smiled and waved and they did the same.
About 90 minutes shy of Xingpin, MY boat driver announced that we had arrived and tried to drop me at this dock that was, really, in the middle of nowhere. I realized that he was trying to pull a fast one on me. The boat man tried in vain to convince me that this was Xingping but I refused to get out. Finally, he continued down the river. A word of caution to other travellers, don’t get off until you are at the town of Xingping; you’ll recognize it because it’s a town, it has a lot of boats and vendors and you should be able to ask other tourists if you are at Xingping. I would have a later run in with this man and his wife. More about that in another post…
A little while later I out a 20 Yuan note. I held it up and look at the horizon. Sure enough, I were looking at the same view that was used on the artwork of the 20 Yuan note. I held the bill up and took a shot of it in the foreground with the mountains in the background. It was a beautiful landscape.
Just past the location where the 20 Yuan note art was created, I arrived at Xingping. After I exited my boat, I looked back up the river and captured the photo below. For about $12 US for a 4 1/2 hour boat ride, I was pretty happy with my visit. The Li River has some of the most beautiful river views in China and it was a relaxing trip. If you make it to Guilin or Yangshuo, I highly recommend the Li River raft trip!
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