The Yulong River, one of the biggest tributaries of Li River and known as Mini Li River by the locals, is about five kilometers away from Yangshuo. Although most of the foreigners are unaware of this pure river but the beauty of the river cannot be overlooked as, the it is surrounded by green paddies fields, pretty bamboos, and quiet villages. A small mythical story is attached to the river, locals say that a dragon came to Yulong River many few years ago that’s why this river was named Yulong which in English means ‘meeting the dragon’.
If one will around, one will find many small weirs every 200 meters in the river built by farmers in the ancient times to store water during the winters season in order to evade the shortages but now these weirs are redundant although they have not been moved in order to preserve the heritage.
One of the most well known activities one can look out for is bamboo rafting in Yangshuo. The whole raft trip is around 12 kilometers long and takes 3-4 hours in rainy season. The bamboo raft starts from Golden Dragon Bridge and finishes at Gongnong Bridge. One can board the raft from some other place as well as there are many docks available but the journey ends at Gongnong Bridge. The bamboo raft came into being when the locals set up chairs on a bamboo raft and enough space made for a boatman to sit on the raft. The bamboo raft is pushed in to the river by the bamboo pole. One can also see the reflection of the raft and oneself in the clear water of Yulong River. It is a peaceful experience as one can lie down on the chair and smell the fragrance of rice, cool breeze and food cooked locally.
The Li River is what makes Guilin one of the most famous and attractive tourist destination and is considered to be a pure river with clear water due to its self cleansing ability. The uniqueness of the Li River is felt not only due to its crystal clear water where one can see the bottom of the river but from the grandiose natural surrounding that includes karst peaks, rice paddies, old villages on the shore and bamboo groves.
It is well known that the region between Yangdi to Xingping town is by far the most spectacular region in the river as the scenic beauty and the lavish greenery can be best experienced the best. Therefore, rather than taking a Li river cruise a tourist can also opt for Bamboo boat cruise. This activity is comparatively longer by 2-3 hours than the previous one but if one is looking for a side time for a two-some or wants to be aloof and experience the calm and tranquility of Li River, bamboo boat cruises is the best option.
One thing that a tourist should keep in mind is that the bamboo boat cruises are not allowed to take passengers back to the starting point. This makes it an awesome opportunity to have a peaceful walk along the river bank on the way back and also experience the typical lifestyle of the local and have look around the old houses built by Song dynasty. Another advice for the tourist is that these trips need to be arranged in advance and could change at any time. Cruise starts in the morning from the Bamboo Wharf just outside of Guilin around sunrise. This is also considered to be the most suitable time to cruise around the river as day to day activities starts to begin in the river afterwards thereby making it crowded.