May 30, 2015 · CHINA
cormorant fisherman li river xingping china

Li River Guilin Yangshuo China

Xingping fishing village

Fig3 Xingping fishing village

sunrise reflection at fish farm Yangshou

Fig2 fish farm Yangshou

Li river map china

Fig1 Li River map

The Li River near Guilin mimicks a Chinese watercolour with Karst mountains hugging either side and all bathed in soft pastels of pink and blue.

Many visitors take the Li river cruise from Guilin to Yangshou ( see Li River map Fig1), but this area is so photogenic and visually so exciting that it demands a wider and more intimate exploration by bicycle or car. We hired a car with driver and guide through CITS Guilin (China International Travel Service,,  and drove through the countryside from Guilin to Yangshuo, staying the nights in Guilin and various places around Yangshou.The driver was a member of the local photographic society and thus well familiar with the best photographic locations.

view of Guillin from Folded Brocade Hill

Fig5 Guillin from Folded Brocade Hill


He drove us to a landlocked fish farm Fig2 where just after dawn, the still waters reflected a pale sun rising above the karst pinnacles, as a farmer with his buffalo walked past. The guide was able to hire a small boat with a cormorant fisherman Fig6, from the fishing village of Xingping, fig3. We then motored a short distance upriver to a prominent bend in the Li river, where the Karst formations towered over the river. Here, the old fisherman used his two cormorants to catch fish for our barbecue meal, prepared by the boat-man’s wife. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Other observations.

♦ Best time for mists is in the spring, April-May.
♦ There is a nice panorama of Guilin town and the surrounding Karst pinnacles from the top of Folded Brocade Hill  Fig5 (220m).

view from tower hill yangshou china

Fig7 tower hill view yangshou

cormorant fishing on Li river near Xingping China

Fig6 cormorant fisherman Li river


♦ Guilin has an interesting flower and bird market on Saturday mornings.
♦ Visit the ancient fishing village of Xingping, set amongst spectacular karst formations, fig1.
♦ Visit Yucun, a tiny 500 year old village with Ming and Quing dynasty houses, 20 minutes by boat downstream from Xingping, fig1.


♦ Stay in Yangshou.
♦ Hike up one of the hills or karsts around Yangshou for the panoramic view from the top, eg. The view from the TV transmission tower hill (350m), Fig7.
♦ Visit the old town of Fuli on the banks of the Li River,  7km east from Yangshou, see fig1.