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The Lijiang River

A cruise on the Lijiang River or Li River takes you through one of China's most famous scenic areas.

The Lijiang River is the main river system of Guilin Prefecture in Northeast Guangxi. Originating from Kitten Mountain, the Lijiang River winds its way south for 437 km (272 miles) before joining the western tributary of the Pear River. The 83-kilometer-long (52-mile-long) section between Guilin and Yangshuo is the most beautiful part and where the cruises take place.

A cruise starts in Guilin and is estimated to take seven to eight hours to cover the 83-kilometer section. On the way you will see rolling peaks, steep cliffs, green hills and clear water that creates a fascinating picture gallery. Water buffaloes casually patrol the fields and fishermen use cormorants to catch fish and return them to the boat. The fishermen drive the birds into the water where they dive below the surface in search of fish. When the birds catch a fish they return to the boat and the fisherman removes the fish from their throat and places it in the basket.

Other attractions you will see on the cruise are: The Elephant Trunk Hill, it looks like a huge elephant stretching its trunk into the Li River; Daxu Ancient Town, Built in the Qin Dynasty (more than 2,000 years ago) it has many well-preserved traditional buildings and winding stone-paved lanes; Gudong Waterfall; and the stretch from Yangdi to Xingping, which is considered to be the most beautiful part of the Lijiang River. Many famous scenic spots cluster along this stretch, including Nine-Horse Fresco Hill and Yellow Cloth Shoal.

The high season for cruises is from April to October. In the hotter months of June and July it often rains, it is heavy but short-lived, with the afternoon sun quickly drying up the rain. In the winter low season (November till March) the water level gets much lower, so the cruise length is shortened to about 2 hours.

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