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Shanghai Sights and Sounds
Li River

Li River

A cruise on the beautiful Li River is the best way to enjoy Guilin’s scenery. The caves, hills, mountains and parks make up a stunning and unforgettable landscape, and the view of the rice terraces reflecting the sun is one of the most memorable you’ll see in China. Sail past haunting pillar-shaped mountains and soak up the atmosphere of the beautiful waterway that appears on the 20 yuan banknote.

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Cruise past haunting pillar-shaped mountains and soak up the atmosphere of this beautiful waterway.

The lovely Li River contains scenery so iconic that it features on the 20 yuan banknote. Starting its course in the Mao’er Mountains of Xing’an County, the Li winds southwards through Guilin and Yangshuo before merging with the Gui River at Pingle. The two rivers have a combined length of 437 kilometers. The striking karst peaks have appeared in countless scroll paintings through the dynasties, and make up a landscape that means “China” around the world.

The 100-kilometer stretch of river that flows through Guilin and its surrounding countryside is dotted with historic attractions and areas of particular scenic beauty. These include the Elephant Trunk Hill, Seven-Star Park, Mountain of the Splendid Hues, and the Lingqu Canal, which is the oldest in the world.

A cruis down the Li River offers an overview of Guilin’s treasures, and is an unforgettable part of your Guangxi adventure.

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Yangshuo

Yangshuo

Explore the Western-style cafés and bars of this backpackers’ haven, while soaking up local culture on the banks of the Li River. The small town of Yangshuo lies between karst peaks on the banks of the Li River. Its population of 300,000 is swelled by tourists who come all year round to enjoy the picture-perfect scenery and climb the surrounding mountains. As well as being a tourist Mecca thanks to a recommendation in the Lonely Planet guide, Yangshuo is China’s main rock-climbing center and attracts climbers from around the world.

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Explore the Western-style cafés and bars of this backpackers’ haven, while soaking up local culture on the banks of the Li River.

The small town of Yangshuo lies nestled between karst peaks on the banks of the Li River. Its permanent population of 300,000 is swelled by tourists who come all year round to enjoy the picture-perfect scenery and climb the surrounding mountains. As well as being a tourist Mecca thanks to a recommendation in the Lonely Planet guide, Yangshuo is China’s main rock-climbing center and attracts climbers from around the world.

Located to the south-east of Guilin in the northern part of Guangxi Province, Yangshuo has a unique mix of east and west. While visitors can pay to watch fisherman ply their trade using cormorants and see traditional dances performed by local women, they can also have a beer at a Western bar, or sip latte in a European-style café. Yangshuo’s main avenues are West Street and Chinese Street, and most of the backpacking venues are located there, as well as on pedestrianized Xian Qian Street.

Swimming and rafting on the Yulong and Li Rivers are popular Yangshou pastimes, along with biking or hiking in the hills. Zhang Yimou’s folk opera “Impression Liu Sanjie” is performed on Schoolboy Hill close to the town.

Local delicacies include rice noodles, beer fish, and glutinous rice cakes. Locally grown fruits like kumquats and shaddocks are worth a try. If you want to pick up some souvenirs in Yangshuo, the town is particularly famous for painted fans, shirts, and laquered balls.

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West Street

West Street

Enjoy the hustle and bustle of Yangshuo’s most popular street, and have a drink at a Western-style bar. West Street is one of Yangshuo’s main avenues, along with Chinese Street and Xian Qian Street. These roads are home to most of the town’s backpacking venues, bars, and cafés.

Impression Sanjie Liu

Impression Sanjie Liu

Watch the Li River come alive with a visually stunning and musically diverse performance involving 600 actors. The 1961 movie “Sanjie Liu” made the Li River famous around the world. According to the myths of the Zhuang ethnic minority, Sanjie Liu was a beautiful singing maiden who lived by the river. In 2004, the stage extravaganza “Impression of Sanjie Liu” was premiered in Yangshuo, based on the legends surrounding her.

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Watch the Li River come alive with a visually stunning and musically diverse performance involving 600 actors.

The 1961 movie “Sanjie Liu” made Yangshuo’s Li River famous around the world, and brought the story of the eponymous fairy princess to a wider audience. According to the myths of the Zhuang ethnic minority, Sanjie Liu was a maiden of incredible beauty who lived on the river and possessed a great talent for singing. In 2004, the stage extravaganza “Impression of Sanjie Liu” was premiered in Yangshuo, based on the legends surrounding her.

The show mixes dancing, singing, music, and lighting effects to create a stunning tableau of Li River life. As well as celebrating the life of Sanjie Liu, it showcases the traditions of the people who live and work on the river. The theater where the performance takes place is the largest outdoor performance space in the world. The audience sits on a series of terraces to watch the action unfold on islands spread across the river. Twelve peaks form a natural backdrop.

The performance is split into seven parts: a prologue and epilogue, and five “color” impressions – red (folk songs), green (gardens), gold (fishermen), blue (love songs), silver (a grand ceremony). Performers row rafts between the islands while modern and traditional music plays.

Both an impressive stage show and an insight into Li River life, “Impression Sanjie Liu” is an unmissable spectacle and a hugely enjoyable highlight of any trip to Yangshuo.