We booked this trip while in Guilin, and after we had already spent time in Yangshou. It actually took us back to Yangshou. The price includes a bus trip back to Guilin. They only give you about 40 minutes to spend wandering Yangshou before you have to get on the bus. That’s such a shame for the people who will have this as their only opportunity to see the town of Yangshou. Since we knew Yangshou well and how to get the bus back to Guilin we decided to take a local bus back ourselves. We took the opportunity to stay in Yangshou and have some lunch and make it a much more relaxing day.
The boat trip was about 3 hours in length. We could have done this river cruise while we were in Yangshou. It is a lot cheaper than doing it from Guilin, but we didn’t have very good weather while we were there. We also heard that some companies offering the river cruise from Yanshou are not very well organized. Some travelers we spoke to had spent a good portion of their day waiting around for the tour company to pick them up. The boat cruise from Yangshou is shorter, but it does go on the most scenic parts of the river.
We coasted along the river as it wound its way through tall pointed Karst mountains. It was amazing how they towered along side the shore. There were waterfalls coming down the sides of some of the cliffs. Some areas of the river had grass islands with grazing water buffalo.
The trip included a lunch, but it wasn’t very good. It consisted of a big plate of corn and peas, some rice, dumplings and bananas.
We passed by fishermen in small boats as well as guys trying to sell us stuff. You have to picture this, we are in a big boat with two levels. It holds about 100 people. Some of these guys are on either a bamboo raft or a small wooden canoe type boat. They catch up to the boat and grab onto the side of it. They reach up to the people on the deck holding out items they have for sale. You could barely reach down to get the items from them. They had things like carved wooden buffalo, marble Buddhas and many other trinkets. You could then negotiate a price and pay them, or hand it back down if you didn’t want it.
We can’t comment on how the Li River cruise compares with the Yangtze/Three Gorges cruise, we did not do that one. We would recommend the Li River cruise. We had hoped for a bit better weather. It was overcast and a gloomy looking kind of day. It rained off and on while we were on it, but only light showers. The scenery of the mountains was spectacular and well worth the trip. If anything it was a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world.
It would be nice if you could get onto some of these areas of the river at sunset or sunrise, you could have some incredible photo opportunities. I have seen some beautiful pictures done at these times, but I don’t know how the people got them. Maybe they hired a private boat to take them out.