Duration: 5-6 hours
Starting all the way up in Guilin, Li River cruises on large tour boats are the most popular way to see the river. The downside is that dozens of tour boats operate on the river causing a large amount of traffic and noise. Nevertheless, it is still a great alternative to taking a car or bus from Guilin to Yangshuo. The price for the cruise is relatively high but includes lunch (average Chinese dishes) and you can bring your luggage onboard.
Duration: 4 hours
This particular section of the river is known as the Golden Waterways and includes the most famous local peak, Nine Horse Mountain. The small family boats which can take you on this trip are mostly unlicensed which means they're not supposed to take tourists. However, if you set off early in the morning or late afternoon you should be able to get one.
Duration: 3 hours
Take a local bus from Yangshuo to Xingping and walk to the boat landing. Here there are many locals offering boat trips upstream. You can ask to be taken to Yangdi and back but prices vary so remember to bargain hard (start at 30% less) in advance. The trip takes over an hour one way and is arguably is the most scenic part of the Li River, with giant limestone peaks, sub tropical forest shading the banks and long white pebble beaches.
Duration: 6 hours
Catch the local bus from Yangshuo to Xingping. From here take a small farmers boat at the Xingping landing, downriver about 30 minutes to the Fishing Village. The boat tour takes 40 minutes coming back, but allow for around four hours round trip to have enough time to visit the Fishing Village. Apart from the well preserved Ming Dynasty architecture and wood carvings dating back more than five hundred years, the Fishing Village is worth seeing for its natural Feng Shui alone. Encircled by seven forested peaks and two stone guardians at the village entrance, the modern world has largely bypassed this highly spiritual place.
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