Guilin Travel Guide

Find out about the best things to do in Guilin.

Li River Cruisethe most popular thing to do in Yangshuo

​​​Last Update: 4th October 2020

What is the Li River Cruise?
Li River Cruise is acclaimed to be the most popular activity in Yangshuo and Guilin. Endowed with the breathtaking karst scenery, the Li River features its own beauty and charm from Guilin to Yangshuo.

Li River Cruise Fast Facts

  • Chinese Name: Lijiang Youchuan (漓江游船)
  • Things to do there: Photography, Cruise
  • Who visits: Photographers, Nature Lovers
  • Time required: 4 x hours (Big Boat) or 1 x hour (Small Private Raft)

Interested in visiting the Li River Cruise during a Yangshuo Tour?

Wendy Wei Tours offers a variety of different packaged tours as well as custom tours in Li River Cruise, among other cities and areas. To find out more, please visit our Tours page or Contact Us directly to find out more.

What to expect at the Li River Cruise?

The Li River Cruise is divided into two types. One is the big boat cruise and the other one is the private Li River motorized raft cruise.

Available for all ages (and heights!), the big boat Li River Cruise lasts for around 4 hours from Guilin to Yangshuo. The period of time just depends on the water level in the Li River. Take the big boat and you’ll enjoy all of the stunning scenic point along the Li River between Guilin and Yangshuo. The river turns 90 degrees at the Cattle Valley with the Green Lotus Rock, Bat Rock and rocks in other shapes. Expecting Husband Rock looks as if a women with a baby on the back is expecting the return of husband. The Crown Cave is also located by the Li River. But the boat doesn’t stop during the cruise.

When the boat arrives at Yangdi, you’ll be amazed at the natural beauty. The section between Yangdi to Xingping has the most amazing highlights to enjoy. Wave Stone Legend, Fairy Pull the Mill, Xialong Scenery, Nine-horse Fresco Hill, the background of 20 RMB note – Reflection of Yellow Cloth all are situated there.

There are 3 types of big cruise boats departing at 09:00, 09:20, 09:30 and 09:40 from Guilin to Yangshuo, 3-star, 4-star and 4.5-star cruise boats. With the simple Chinese packaged lunch and the lowest pricing, the 3-star boat is the most popular among domestic Chinese tourists. Always, the foreign tourists prefer to take the 4-star and the 4.5-star boat with the Chinese buffet lunch. And the lunch on the 4.5-star boat is much richer than that on the 4-star boat. Usually, the pricing of tickets on the 4.5-star boat is the highest. Usually, the big cruise boats operate daily. There is Lower Deck, Upper Deck and VIP Seating on the 4-star and 4.5-star boats. There are also 3-star and 4-star return cruise boats from Yangshuo to Yangdi. The 3-star return cruise boat just offers the simple Chinese packaged lunch onboard while the 4-star return cruise boat offers the Chinese buffet afternoon tea onboard as it usually departs at 13:00 from Yangshuo pier. As the boat runs upstream, the cruise lasts for 4 hours as well. It offers the most stunning scenic spots along the river. Usually, the return cruise is unavailable from November to February due to the very low water level. When it will be available again just depends on the rainfall in Yangshuo.

The private Li River motorized raft cruise is appropriate for those who don’t want to spend so much time on the Li River. But the pregnant women, children under 1.2m tall (1.2m tall not included) and the elder above 70 years old (70 years old included) are not permitted to take it due to safety concerns.

​The private cruise can just accommodate 4 passengers. It runs along two sections on the river. One is between Yangdi and Nine-horse Fresco Hill and the other one is between Nine-horse Fresco Hill and Xingping. Whether the private cruise is available is subject to the water level in the Li River. 

Best time to enjoy the Li River Cruise?

It is safer to enjoy the cruise from October to March and in May, July and August as it rains a little in Yangshuo.


How to get to the Li River Cruise?

There is no direct bus from Guilin city to the pier in Guilin. The only option is to rent a vehicle to the pier (the pier for the 3-star cruise is called Mopanshan Pier and the pier for the 4-star and 4.5-star cruises is Zhujiang Pier). For the private rafting, there are piers in Yangdi and Xingping.


Additional Li River Cruise Advice

  • As at 4th October 2020, the return cruise from Yangshuo to Yangdi is available & operating. It typically operates between April to October. The same applies for the Yangshuo to Guilin return cruises.
  • There are one or two vegetarian dish options on the 4-star and 4.5-star boats. If you are vegetarian, it is suggested that you have lunch at the very first beginning as some meat may drop into the vegetables when other passengers pick it.
  • There is a security check at the pier just like that at the airport. It is recommended that you arrive at the pier 30 minutes at least in advance.
  • All types of tickets on the 4-star and 4.5 star boats are capped with the same pricing due to the accounting reason. But the actual pricing is higher than that on the ticket.
  • For the Private Li River Cruise Rafts, persons over 65 years of age and under 120 cms tall are not permitted on-board.

Interested in visiting the Li River Cruise on a Tour?

Wendy Wei Tours offers a variety of different packaged tours as well as custom tours in Li River Cruise, among other cities and areas. To find out more, please visit our Tours page or Contact Us directly to find out more.

Reed Flute Cave
​Would you like to know why several former US presidents had spoken highly of the Reed Flute Cave after visiting it? It features its own unique charm, which some consider to be distinct from any other attractions in the world!

Elephant Trunk Hill
​Have you visited a hill standing in the middle of a river in the center of a city before? How about one shapred like an Elephant? In Guilin, there is such a hill – the 300 million year old Elephant Trunk Hill. It looks just like an elephant drinking water from the Li River!

Shangri-La Hotel, Guilin Exterior

Jolie Vue Boutique Hotel, Guilin Interior

Elephant Trunk Hill Hotel, Guilin Exterior
Zizhou Panoramic Hotel, Guilin Interior