Li River cruise per raft, Yangdi-Xingping, Yangshuo-Liugong – Yangshuo Insider

There are several ways to enjoy the wonderful scenery of the majestic Li-river in Yangshuo. These include hiking, cycling, or cruising the Li-river down either on a small motorised PVC raft (none of them real bamboo) or per larger Li-river cruise boat. Below we have added the pros and cons of either a raft or boat cruise on the Li-river as part of your transfer to Yangshuo, either from Guilin or the rice terraces.

On this page we discuss how you can enjoy the views of hundreds of karst mountain peaks towering up from both shores of the Li-river per smaller motorised raft (similar to bamboo rafts) either north between Yangdi and Xingping or Fuli and Liugong located on south of Yangshuo. These trips can be combined with visits to each of these old riverside towns of Xingping and Fuli, or charming little villages like Liugong.

There are plenty of rides available between the various sections of the Li-river with differing qualities. Yangdi – Xingping Li-river raft trips

The most famous section of the Li-river meanders between Yangdi and Xingping and covers the most impressive part of the Li River with giant limestone peaks, sub tropical forest shading the banks and long white pebble beaches (depending on the water level). This stretch used to be a very touristic part of the Li-river, especially between 10.00 and 15.00 when dozens of tour boats cruise up and/or down the river with a myriad of smaller rafts floating in between. But since the local government has started to regulate this area and impose heavy taxes that saw raft prices nearly triple, many if not all big tour group agencies now avoid the area. Ticket times have also been limited and rafts now only leave the docks at Yangdi and Xingping between 07:30-09:00 in the morning, without large boats on the river, and 13:00-15:00 in the afternoon, when the tour boats return empty to Guilin. Yangdi to 9-horse fresco hill:

This trip starts with a taxi, minivan or bus (leaving Yangshuo/Guilin South Bus station) from either Guilin or Yangshuo to Yangdi. There you will find a few noodle shops where you could have a local breakfast before boarding your private raft to 9-horse fresco hill where an open golf cart will take you further to Xingping. You have plenty of time to explore this old riverside town and can take the bus (back) to Yangshuo or have us pick you up per taxi. This tour can also be enjoyed as part of a Guilin to Yangshuo transfer.

A self arranged bus + raft trip is for adventurous people who do not mind the difficulties of trying to find your way in areas where people may not speak your language and arrange and haggle activities yourself with luck needed with the willingness of locals. You need help from the driver to tell you where to get off in Yangdi. Some do forget. In Yangdi you need to haggle a ride to the riverside, about 10km away. As with the rafts they can be overpriced as locals know you’re left without other options… You’d also need to take your luggage with you on the rafts and in Xingping for quite a distance to the bus station.

Also, coming on a raft from Guilin (or the rice terraces), you’d spend about 2.5 hours on the bus to Guilin (from the rice terraces), 1 hour on the bus to Yangdi (this all counts for both), 20 minutes on a three-wheeler or taxi to the riverside, 20 minutes on an electric cart from the end wharf at 9-horse hill to Xingping, and another 50 minutes to Yangshuo bus station. Coming on a cruise it is only 40 minutes from Guilin center to the wharf (3.5 hours from the terraces) in an air-conditioned taxi/minivan to the wharf here in Yangshuo where you will arrive earlier having enjoyed double the time on the river. Not just that section offers amazing scenery, it starts right from the wharf outside Guilin.

Last but not least, the experience on a large cruise boat offers a less touristic feel than the rafts now, which used to be the other way round. On the higher deck of a cruise boat you’ll usually see only 3-4 boats ahead in a line and 3-4 behind, which leaves 99% of the (outside the Yangdi and Xingping stretch) just river and mountain scenery. Rafts on the other travel up and down that relatively short section in large amounts so being lower on the river there are rafts everywhere all made of PVC and motorised (none of bamboo) with a (noisy) engine…

You can also enjoy the Li-river south of Yangshuo which is perhaps a bit less impressive but generally much quieter during peak times. Rafts – that all sit 4 people – start from Yangshuo and can take you passed the artistic old town centre of Fuli – famous for its fan painting and little art galleries – and Liugong, a sleepy old riverside village with authentic Qing Dynasty houses and amazing scenery around. Below we have summoned the most common start and ending points for your Li-river raft tours. Unless otherwise specified, these rafts are legal and licensed. Note that the prices for Li-river rafting trips have increased recently under new government regulations since 2014. Yangshuo to Fuli / Liugong:

This trip will take you from Yangdi to Lengshui and finally to Xingping. There is a great hike along the river (it’s not really hiking as the path is fairly flat) between what is said to be the most beautiful part of the Li-river, Yangdi and Xing Ping. You could combine walking and floating down the river which gives you an experience the scenery from different perspectives. To start catch a local bus to Yangdi which takes about 1 hr 10min. From there you can walk for about 4 hours along the banks of the Li River to Lengshui which is about three quarters of the way between Yangdi and Xingping. From Lengshui, you can enjoy a 40 min bamboo raft trip downstream. Note that gondoliers may want to drop you off outside of Xingping as they try to avoid paying the mooring fee at the jetty. From there you can either continue to walk to Xing Ping (20min) or take one of the many (disturbing) electric carts run from the drop off point to the Xingping bus station where you can catch a local bus back to Yangshuo.

There is no direct bus between Guilin to Yangdi, one would need to get on a local bus on the Yangshuo – Guilin route that runs between the train station in Guilin and the bus station in Yangshuo and stop at the crossing with the road to Yangdi. From there motorized tricycles could get you to and from Yangdi, 15km further, on irregular times, not convenient for families traveling with children and very time consuming as well. It would be hard to tell when you would arrive Yangdi which would make it impossible to arrange such a cruise from beforehand and then you would need to haggle down the price with the locals there being in a very vulnerable situation. They know that after all the efforts you made to get there you will be more likely to settle for a higher price than to return with nothing. Nonetheless many backpackers have returned though not willing to pay greedy locals the overcharged rates.

The tour from Yangshuo, the second option is possible, with plenty of buses between Yangdi and Yangshuo (from 7.30) and XingPing and Yangshuo (until 18.30) After a short taxi ride to the bus station the taxi driver will inform the rafts men in Yangdi of your bus number and the latter will be waiting for you in Yangdi. The bus fees are payable at the Yangshuo bus station for the bus to Yangdi (1h10m, 14Y) and on the bus leaving XingPing for Yangshuo (50min, 10Y). The raft from Yangdi to XingPing sits 4 people and costs 150Y per seat with 30Y per empty seat. In your case all seats would be taken with a price of 600Y. So the total of this tour for your family would come down to about 700Y.

As for the third option, there are no direct buses between Yangdi and Guilin but if you are going to the airport or the center of Guilin that day and need to carry your luggage a taxi would give you a most convenient and comfortable transfer. We can book your tickets for the Li-river cruise from Yangshuo to Yangdi and arrange a taxi for you to pick up your luggage that you prepared and left at the reception of your hotel and have him pick you up in Yangdi at the time you will arrive there and then take you further in the same direction to either the center of Guilin or the Guilin airport if that suits with your flight time. If you would like us to arrange such a tour just give us your flight number and scheduled arrival time and we will check if this is a possible route. Costs for the Li-river cruise from Yangshuo to Guilin with a private transfer would be 190Y per adult for the cruise and 95Y per child between 1.1-1.4m and either 310Y for the taxi Yangshuo – Yangdi – Guilin center or 390Y to the Guilin airport. If you would like a more spacious mini-van this would be 380Y to Guilin center or 520Y to the airport. These taxi prices are calculated from Yangshuo‘s center or nearby, if you would be staying at a hotel near the Yulong river prices may be a little higher.

Sure we can help you to arrange this but since the government has regulated this service the prices have gone up quite a bit. A b amboo-raft on the Li-river from Yangdi to Xing Ping which sits 4 people costs 150Y per person, empty seats cost 30Y per seat per raft. So your party would require 2 boats with a total price of 150Yx6 + 30Yx2 = 960Y. To get to Yangdi from Guilin you would need a mini-van for 5-8 people which costs 400Y, your luggage can then be taken to your hotel and you could then either take the bus in Xing Ping to Yangshuo or have the mini-van pick you up in Xing Ping. The detour to XingPing (to get to XingPing from Yangdi he needs to pass Yangshuo since they are located on different sides of the river with the nearest bridge in Yangshuo) would be 200Y. (they currently charge more since the road from Yangshuo to Xingping is under construction and now not only takes longer but their cars suffer a lot too). So not the most affordable tour to do in Yangshuo, bamboo-rafting trips on the Li-river South from Yangshuo to Fuli and Liugong, and the ones on the Yulong river are much more affordable for 60Y-100Y per person. Alternatively you could also enjoy the scenery between Yangdi and XingPing on the river with the return Li-river cruise from Yangshuo passed XingPing to Yangdi for 190Y per person. please check our Li-river cruise Guilin Yangshuo page for more details. Which place are you staying at in Yangshuo?