The Yulong River, also known as the Little Li River, is the largest tributary of the Li River, and it runs 26 miles (43 kilometers) across Yangshuo county. The river flows past limestone karsts, bamboo forests, rice paddies, ancient villages, and stone bridges. Floating down the river, or hiking or biking next to it, provides up-close views.
Cruising down the Yulong River in a bamboo raft with poles offers an experience that’s serene when compared to the motorized rafts and boats used on the Li River, but you also bump over weirs, or small dams. Historical points of interest include the villages of Xiatang and Jiuxian villages, and Yulong, Fuli, and Xiangui stone bridges.
While cruising on a bamboo raft is one of the most popular ways to enjoy the Yulong River, many enjoy hiking or biking along the river. Try all three over a course of a half-day or longer guided tour and enjoy the river and countryside without worrying about navigating. For multi-day tours, additional activities such as rock climbing or a cooking school can be added.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Hiking, biking, or rafting the Yulong River is a must-do for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers and photographers.
- Check individual tours for age restrictions on riding on a bamboo raft.
- Grab a bite to eat or a cold drink at one of the floating restaurants along the river.
How to Get There
The Yulong River connects to Li River just south of Yangshuo and is easily visited from Yangshuo. Most of the Yulong River is within the newly created Yulong River Park, which restricts motorized traffic. Those entering other than on foot or bike will have to exit their transport and purchase tickets for a shuttle bus that runs within the park.
When to Get There
The Yulong River can be visited year-round, but it’s most popular April through October due to the sunny, warmer weather. Some people may find the heat uncomfortable for hiking or biking at the height of summer (June through August). Rafting runs year-round.
Popular Rafting, Biking, and Hiking Routes
The three most popular rafting routes along the Yulong River are from Jinlong Bridge to Jiuxian Village (about 2.5 hours), Chaoyang Wharf to Gongnong Bridge (about two hours), and from Chaoyang Wharf to Shui edi Dock (about one hour). Most bike tours along Li River take between two and four hours. The most popular section for hiking is between Yulong Bridge and Gongnong Bridge, and takes about two hours.