Over 40 kilometres long, the Yulong River is the largest branch of the magnificent Li River. Flowing through several towns and villages, including Yangshuo, it is often nicknamed the Little Li River, matching the original Li River in its beauty. Relax and gently float along the peaceful waters of the river on a Li River bamboo raft cruise, one of the most popular activities to do in the Yangshuo area. Bamboo river rafting is the perfect way to see the sights along the Li River and Yulong River, while also experiencing a unique mode of transport. Add this optional excursion on to your Very Best of China tour with Distant Journeys for a brilliant way to see the sights of Yangshuo.

Travelling between Shuierdi pier and the Gongnong Bridge, just outside of downtown Yangshuo, this Li River bamboo raft tour has to be one of the most relaxing sightseeing tours you can embark on in China. For over a thousand years, locals have been crafting bamboo rafts and using them as transportation to navigate the Li River. As they’re more buoyant than metal boats, they’re better suited to the narrow and shallow river. Bamboo rafting is still done today by local fishermen, as well as for these river cruises, so as you float along, you may even see some of the fishermen hard at work on their own handcrafted rafts.

Steered by a gondolier, the bamboo raft will gently make its way along the emerald waters of the Li River, where you’ll feel utterly at peace taking in the stunning sights around you. Miles of lush countryside, dramatic limestone karst mountains, ancient bridges and quaint villages can be seen all around you, like a painting come to life. Reflecting on the still waters, the views are simply spectacular – this is an experience where you’ll definitely need to bring your camera. As you head downstream, you’ll also pass some of the 28 barrages (low dams) that can be found on the Yulong River, used to control the depth and flow of the river.

If taking in the incredible scenery is at the top of your list while you’re in Yangshuo, this excursion can be paired with a cycling tour of Yangshuo. Leaving the city and heading out into the countryside, you’ll be able to explore even more of the Yulong River and reach places only accessible on two wheels. Together with the bamboo rafting, it’s the perfect sightseeing combination.

This Excursion is featured in the following itineraries:

The Very Best of China