The Li River is the most beautiful place in the world
Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase we will earn a commission at no additional cost to you. We chose these companies / hotels because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases.
The Li River might be the most beautiful and most photographed landscape in China. On both sides of this river rise amazing mountains and pointed rock formations. From the water you have a breathtaking view of the picturesque surroundings. It is one of the highlights and on the bucket list for many travelers who go to China.
The Li River starts in the Mao'er mountain in Xing'an, northeast of Guilin, and flows down around 437 kilometres (271 miles) to the south-east and eventually joins the Xi River at Wulin. Especially the 83-kilometer (51 miles) waterway from Guilin to Yangshuo is a masterpiece. Here the landscape is decorated with rolling hills, fantastic caves and traditional boats. Beautiful peaks surprise you here at every turn of this river. The water buffalo still patrols the fields, farmers harvest rice fields and school children and fishermen float on bamboo rafts.
With its breathtaking scenery and lifestyle far removed from the big cities, this river is an unmissable place during your trip through China. It has the largest nature reserve in China and attracts thousands of travellers every year.
Guilin is the starting point of a trip on the Li River. It is a medium-sized Chinese city, with a number of interesting sights, a beautiful city park and a pleasant night market. You can view the four lakes, the sun and moon pagodas, and the famous rock with the name Elephant Trunk Hill. You can go to Yangshuo by boat on the Liv river from Guilin.
How to get there
Due to climate change we recommend to take the train instead of flying and there are both high-speed trains and normal-speed trains travelling between Beijing and Guilin. The journey duration of this high speed train is about 11 hours. They depart early in the morning and arrive at night. Second class seat is around US$120 (2019) per ticket.
Where to stay
If you are looking for a great hotel we can really recommend Life·Yuezhuang. This hotel is located outside Guilin in an idyllic setting surrounded by nature. The rooms are beautifully designed with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and fields.
Being away from shops and restaurants, there is the possibility to use the well equipped kitchen, to cook with others or to be invited to eat with the staff or with the family. You can also go to the restaurant, it is amazing and they use freshly picked organic vegetables grown in their own garden The hotel is very idyllic right next to the Reet flute cave. Drinks from the fridge are very cheap as well as the rent of scooters. And of course the pool was great too. We can highly recommend the accommodation. On booking.com they get an average rating of 9.4.
Best time to visit
There are 3 different periods to visit the Li River.
April to June
This is often seen as the best period. A cruise through the river is best in these wet and humid months. In these months the landscape is the most green and the river is deep so boats can go a lot further than in the dry season.
July to October
This period is the best time to see the landscape along the river. During sunny days you can see the reflection of the hills in the water. July and August are the hottest months. You will experience some rain, but this is often only short. September and October are the warm and dry months.
November to March
The worst period to go. It is winter and low season and the water level is much lower, so cruises are shortened to around 2 hours. There are a just a few sunny days.