Raft down the Li River

China Yangdi

Added by Michael Gabbert

Float down the majestic Li River on a bamboo raft with mountainous Karsts surrounding you at every twist and turn.

This adventure starts in the village of Yangdi. Located 45 miles from Guilin, the closest metropolitan city, Yangdi sits at the base of karsts on the west side of the Li River. The village itself is small but is bustling with activity from the the local merchants and dozens upon dozens of bamboo raft operators. To get to Yangdi you can either hire a driver or take buses from Guilin or Yangshuo.

Once in Yangdi, it won’t be hard to find a bamboo raft. They are everywhere. The key will be to know your destination and how much you are willing to pay. Prices can range anywhere from 50 to 200 Yuan, but should average around 100 Yuan ($15 USD). The most scenic part of the Li River is the route between Yangdi and XingPing - this is likely the best route & destination.

The Li River scenery is majestic. With karsts engulfing the river and surrounding you at every bend, the entire trip down the river feels surreal. In total a one-way ride to Xingping will be about 1 ½ to 2 hours, but you can attempt to ask your driver to go as slow or fast as you desire. Additionally, a majority of the rafts are covered, so in the event it rains you’ll be covered. Round trips Xingping and back to the Yangdi village are doable but staying a night in Xingping, exploring their ancient streets and partaking in some other adventures near the village is recommended. For bamboo raft ride, sit back and enjoy the surreal ride.

Note: these rides can be extremely popular at peak times in the day. For a more solitary and peaceful rafting experience, go as early as possible in the day.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Extra layer of clothing
  • Yuan
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Photography, Rafting

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn




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How to Get There

5 months ago

Great for the Beginning

It's certainly a great experience to get along the surface of the water and view the karst peaks from below close up. However, after about 30 minutes the wander starts to wear on you and the loud humming of the diesel-engine boat really detracts from the natural and surreal feel of the river. It's also worth noting that as it is illegal for them to use bamboo for rafts now these boats are only made out of plastic that is shaped to look like bamboo. Another option you could do is take the bus to Xingping and then the next day take a boat 1hr or so up the river and hike back to Xingping

5 months ago

Added by Michael Gabbert

Minnesotan living in Seattle. Email: mjgabbert@gmail.com

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