Yangshuo rivers – Li Jiang and Yulong river

There are two beautiful Yangshuo rivers: the Li Jiang and the Yulong river. Both rivers are part of the must see areas of Yangshuo. No visitor to Yangshuo will ignore the rivers. Not only is Yangshuo town spread out at the banks of the Li Jiang, but many of the most spectacular sceneries are to be seen on the banks of the Yangshuo rivers.

The Li Jiang River

The Lijiang RiverThe famous part of the Li Jiang (or Lijiang )river starts in Guilin but originates in the Hai Yang Shan mountains east of Guilin. In Pingle the river merges with other rivers and is known as the Gui Lijiang. It is however the part in between Guilin and Yangshuo which is most famous.

There are several ways to experience the most of the Li Jiang river. The most famous is to take a river cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo. The river cruise actually starts at the Zhujiang wharf, 31 km south of Guilin city. Cruises leave daily at 9.30am and take about 5 hours.
More about the river cruise from Guilin here).

Although the river cruise is by far the most popular way to experience the beauty of the northern areas of Yangshuo around the river, it’s not the only way. A great alternative, and if you ask me, a better alternative too, is to go to Yangdi and hike from here to Xingping. This hike will demand you crossing the Lijiang a few times. Although you can do this hike on your own, it is recommended to take a guide. Jessie does this hike in some of her tours, for example in her 5 days package Yangshuo tour, but it is possible to hire Jessie just for the day.

Early morning fishing at the Lijiang River
Early morning fishing at the Lijiang River, I made this photo when I joined Jessie on an early morning tour from Yangdi to Xingping

A more demanding experience is kayaking. This can only be done at the part of the Lijiang river south of the Yangshuo town center due to safety regulations. Basically you can start in Fuli and go by kayak to either Liugong or even to Puyi. It requires some planning, as we have to bring the kayaks to Fuli. Read more about kayaking around Yangshuo.

Rafting at the Li Jiang
Rafting at the Li Jiang Another option is to take a raft for an hours from the riverbank in Yangshuo town center. These rafts take you up and down the river for a while and give you an idea what the scenery from the riverside is.

More photos of the Li River

The Yulong River

The Yulong river is quite short and joins the Lijiang just south of Yangshuo. The Yulong river is to me the best part of Yangshuo. Especially the part that starts close to Moonhill all the way to the Dragon Bridge.

Yulong river in 1997, during my first visit
Yulong river in 1997, during my first visit

It is this part you should not skip when visiting Yangshuo. You can bring your bicycle, drop in on the raft and let yourself flow top the Dragon Bridge and cycle back from there to enjoy the same scenery from a totally different and as spectacular view.

The limestone peaks are without exception all beautiful. And just as beautiful are the rice fields all along the river. Here is much more abou rafting at the Yulong River.

More photos of the Yulong River

Yangshuo retreats at the Lijiang and Yulong riverside

Certain parts of the Yangshuo rivers are that spectacular that hotel owners build their own Yangshuo retreats.

Rafts at the Yulong river
Rafts at the Yulong river

Along the Lijiang river our favorite is the Snow Lion Riverside Retreat. The resort is build near Mushan village which has a long and rich history and certainly worth a visit. The Snow Lion offers also kayaking trips on this part of the Lijiang river.

Yulong river view from the Dragon River Retreat
Yulong river view from the Dragon River Retreat

There is more choice along the Yulong river. Our favorite here is the Dragon River Retreat. The views from the rooms here are spectacular, some rooms even have views to the backside of Moonhill!