Carving through lush green countryside and surrounded by karst mountains, the Li River is one of China’s most stunning natural spectacles. The Impression Liu Sanjie light show proves that it is equally as magnificent by night, with the river and rock formations acting as an epic backdrop for this dazzling show. If you’re seeking some evening entertainment while embarking on your tour of China, this after-dark show is not to be miss.

A short distance downriver from Yangshuo, China, transport is provided to central Yangshuo to the home of the Liu Sanjie Light Show, an enormous natural outdoor theatre. After taking your seat, prepare to witness one of the most impressive outside light shows on the planet. The Liu Sanjie show has been wowing crowds since 2004, when it was first put together by the renowned Zhang Yi Mou, who went on in 2008 to direct and choreograph Beijing’s memorable 2008 Olympic opening ceremony, as well as several acclaimed Chinese films.

If you’re wondering what Liu Sanjie means, it’s the name of the show’s protagonist, meaning ‘third sister Liu’ in English. After falling in love with a farmer’s boy, a wealthy warlord abducts the beautiful Liu Sanjie, with the boy and her friends embarking on a quest to free her throughout the story. The story of Liu Sanjie dates back centuries, with the girl said to have the world’s most beautiful singing voice.

This enchanting story is told in seven scenes, with more than 600 local performers coming together in song and performance throughout the Impression Sanjie Liu Show. In the second scene, the grand Red Impression scene, they sing an antiphony as fishing lights illuminate the river, lighting up the mighty karst mountains behind. Another of the scenes, Silver Impression, sees 200 female performers from ethnic minorities don their traditional costumes as they perform folk songs. In The Epilogue, the story of Liu Sanjie comes to a satisfying close, with the lights dimming, the fishing rafts drifting apart, and the angelic voice of Liu Sanjie echoing over the valley.

A stunning combination of light, music, dance and song in an unrivalled setting, the Impression Liu Sanjie show is not to be missed during your time in Yangshuo. Taking place twice each evening, except for in January and February, this dazzling one-hour show is a spectacular feast for the senses, and an experience you will remember for years to come.

This Excursion is featured in the following itineraries:

The Very Best of China