Reputed as “the finest scenery under heaven”, Li River (or Li Jiang in Chinese) is one of China’s most enchanting rivers. Crystal clear waters, uniquely shaped Karst hills, rice paddies and bamboo groves comprise the unsurpassed beauty of Li River. It is often said that “East or west, Guilin’s scenery is the best”. While in the eyes of Guiliners, all of the fairy scenes of
Guilin are the invaluable presents they get from Li River, their mother river. Li River originates in the thick forestry and mountainous area of the Mao’er Mountain (Cat Ear Mountain), the highest mountain in Southern China, in Xing’an County, which is another ideal place to those adventure-lovers about 122 kilometers to the north of Guilin City. It winds its way south for about 437 kilometers, passing through Guilin, Yangshuo, Pingle and Zhaoqing and finally meets the Xi River (West River) at Wuzhou City. Around its headwaters, Li River is connected with the Xiang River, which flows northwards into the Yangtze River, in the upper course. The connecting canal, called the Lingqu Canal, was carried out by thousands of soldiers in Qin Dynasty (221 – 207 B.C.), taking the order of Emperor Qingshi (259 – 210 B.C.), the first Emperor in the history of China. In that time, the Lingqu Canal made Li River become a very important waterway connecting the Yangtze Valley with the Pearl River Delta.
The most beautiful scenery of Li River lies in the section from Guilin to Yangshuo, for about 83 kilometers. With startling hills, steep cliffs, amazing caves, real farming villages and bamboo groves, the landscape is fantastic. It boasts the largest and most beautiful scenic area in China and attracts thousands of visitors from home and abroad every year now. Visitors who had ever come to the River all praise highly of the beauty of Li River. From the ancient times,
Li River has become a must-see scenic spots for Chinese. As far as in the Tang Dynast (618 – 907 A. D.), a legendary poet named Du Fu (712 – 770 A. D.) wrote two mostly referred lines “The River is a green silk ribbon, and the hills are jade hairpins.” Chen Yi, the former Chinese Minister of Defense, once said he would like to live in Guilin beside the Li River rather than to get a residence in the Paradise. Other Chinese leaders, Deng Xiaoping, the designer of China’s Reform and Opening-up Policy, and Former President Jiang Zeming both take Li River Cruises during their inspections in Southwestern China.
Lots of celebrities in the West World also make their time to visit this beautiful river, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, the former US Presidents, to just name a few. “I have visited more than 80 countries and over a hundred cities. I have found that no city can surpass the beauty of Guilin. Guilin is really a bright pearl in China.” said the former US president Nixon after his Guilin Tour. Besides, former US president Bill Clinton held that “No place in China is more evocative of the beautiful of your country than Guilin”. The nice photos that they took in Guilin with their families were put on covers of newspapers and travel guide book, which stirred up American tourists for planning a Guilin tour and a cruise on the famed river. Taking a cruise on the Li River from Zhujiang Wharf, about 40 minutes’ drive from Guilin city, you will be inspired by breathtaking views of peaks and pinnacles, crystal-clear water and reflections in the water together with the serene pastoral views of rice paddies and water buffaloes. You are certainly walking into a traditional Chinese painting by cruising on it.
No Guilin tours are complete with a Li River cruise, because of the unbelievable charms of Li River. Once seen, never forgotten. Those are the miracles of Li River.