Boat Trip – Limestone Peaks – Li River – Guilin to Yangshuo China


Zhujiang Wharf – tourist boat terminal

Today we headed down to the tourist boat terminal, such a plethora of boats,  for a trip down the Li River  and scenic views of the limestone peaks of the Karst mountains. We have been so lucky with the weather and today looks fine again, mist still shrouding the nearby hills.


Red Cruise Boat – Li River trip – Guilin to Yangshuo


Plenty of room inside the boat for this trip

We boarded a red cruise boat and headed down river, plenty of room to move about inside the cabin area and on the outer decks of the boat. Our guide gave us a brochure on all the main sights to see as we traveled down the river.

The Li River was wide, the water clear and green like jade, not long before the Karst mountains came into view, a myriad of rounded-mounded mountain shapes emerging through the morning mist. The Karst Mountains weathered limestone formations leading to dramatic and beautiful landscapes.

A-myriad-of-rounded-mountain shapes loomed at us from the mist of the river bank2

A-myriad-of-rounded-mountain shapes loomed at us from the mist of the river bank

Two men on a light bamboo raft managed to get close to the side of the boat and offer their wares for sale. One had to admire their tenacity and skill on the bamboo raft as they drew close, fought against the heavy wash from the cruise boat .


Hawkers on a bamboo raft-Li River boat trip

View of Bat Hill

Coming up was a view of Bat Hill, two sheer adjoining cliff faces that look like the wings of a bat; the first of many named limestone peaks or sheer cliff faces (some 300-meters high) on our boat trip down the Li River.


Bat wing hill – adjoining hills shaped like the wings of a bat – Li river boat trip


Snake Wine – boat trip Guilin to Yangshuo

Snake Wine

On board the boat a young Chinese woman came around with wine glasses and a large glass bottle of snake wine, assuring us it was “very good for your health”. For the very brave I think, the sight of the snakes made me shudder.


Change of view and limestone formations – zig-zag peaks – Li River boat trip

 Along the river bank

The scenery along the river bank, green grass, trees and shrubs, some areas a sandy rocky shore with low bushes, here and there a grove of soft feathery bamboo. The feathery bamboo typical of rural areas in southern China. Mystical shapes loomed out of the mist. The mist lifted to reveal rugged limestone peaks and mounds covered in lush green vegetation.


Limestone mountains covered in lush green vegetation – Li River boat trip

Weird and beautiful Karst limestone rock formations

Intriguing shapes, many shapes specific to the name given and folk legends. The scenery  like looking at some ancient Chinese scroll, paintings of weird and beautiful rock formations come to life. The Karst mountains revered by artists and poets alike for their rugged mystical beauty. Imagine in winter covered in glistening snow and ice.


Swathe of cloud or mist lying between Karst mountain peaks – Li River boat trip

Rocky limestone outcrops

At every bend in the river the  view changed as seemingly did the shape of the mountains.  Wangfu Rock a distinct rocky outcrop said to look like a women carrying her baby and yearning for her husband’s return. Below Schoolboy peak, another interesting jagged rocky outcrop legend attached.


View – ‘Schoolboy Peak” Li river boat trip – Guilin to Yangshou

View Xingping Village

There are about three or four small villages along the way. The most ancient, Xingping which you can view from the boat along the east bank of the Li river. Xingping has a history of some 500 years and is representative of the architectural style of northern Guangxi Province during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.


View of Xingping-Village-Ming-and-Qing dynasties architecture

The houses you see from the boat of Xingping village have ‘horse head walls, flying eaves, painted rafters and windows with carving’. A pity we couldn’t have a closer look at these ancient houses. What remains of  the village almost concealed from view by overgrown shrubbery and trees on the river bank.


View – Dragon Mouth limestone Peaks – Li River boat trip- Guilin to Langshou


View-Five finger peaks – Li river boat trip Guilin to Yangshuo

Dragon Mouth Peak resembles a dragon with its mouth open. Five finger peaks is just that. The limestone karst peaks, such rugged shapes, green and beautiful . The time passed very quickly on the boat trip with the view changing at each bend in the river.


Cascading waterfalls along the river bank – Li River


Entrance to Crown Cave – boat trip Li River


Bamboo-rafts-for-tourists when the river is low upstream.

There was no time to be bored, a very relaxing day on the  boat trip down the  Li river with wonderful scenery and such variety. Small waterfalls cascading from a rocky river bank, a view of the yawning mouth of Crown Cave. A river runs through the limestone cave, you can explore on a bamboo raft. Cormorant fishermen on slim bamboo rafts, nets hanging to dry on the shore. Along the river  bank, light bamboo crafts for the tourist to travel down river when the water is low upstream. Usually this occurs in winter and tours start from Yangdi village.  


Boat trip on Li River – spectacular limestone peaks

Spectacular view of towering limestone peaks

The view becomes more spectacular with the towering Karst peaks either side of the water way, the river deeper now. Coming into view the famous Mural Hill, nine horses in the landscape on a sheer cliff face. These are wild prancing horses turned into stone trying to escape from an angry god.  A little time and imagination and you can pick out the prancing horses in relief among the greenery, set against the black and white background of the sheer limestone cliff face. Fascinating scenery and legends.This was a fabulous boat trip down the Li River past the most wonderful Karst  limestone peaks and cliff-faces.


Mural Hill – images of nine wild prancing horses Li River boat trip

Soon we arrive at Yangshuo….

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