Bamboo Ride on the Lí River

The first evening in Yángshuò we met the owner of our hostel and we were asking him where to go next days to escape the crowds of tourists. The man was very kind and he also spoke English very well. „Finally someone will help us!“ We were trying to get as much information as possible. He showed us where to rent a bike and that we shouldn’t miss bamboo rafting on the Lí River. The nature in this area around the river should be amazing. He recommended us to take a boat from Yangdi village to Xingping which is around 16 km. We also read in our guide that there is a great trail along the river. We were ready to go next morning. The man also contacted his friend who owns bamboo raft to take us for the ride. Right at the place it could be really expensive he said. He offered us very good price and we agreed to go.

Early in the morning we went to a bus station with a little paper with some Chinese phrases. Many local women came to talk to us already about hundred meters before entering the bus station. Again we were a little bit afraid that they want to sell us something expensive or at least to put us in some expensive tourist bus. Later on we realized that this was the way how to find the right bus and to buy the tickets. “Do you go to Yangdi?” we asked them maybe with not completely correct accent because nobody replied. We decided to show them our little paper with Chinese signs and suddenly they were dragging us to the bus. The last one to get on the bus was always “the ticket officer”. Fortunately it cost us only a few Yuans. We showed our little paper to that lady and she called the bamboo guy to wait for us at final station. After one hour we arrived to small village called Yangdi.

We got off the bus and we started to look for our bamboo driver. We recognized him easily because he was shouting “Hello!” Unfortunately that was all of his English. “We are not gonna get any information from him.” We sighed but he was actually very good in gesticulation and he was pointing on every single hill. He took us on his bamboo raft which is no longer made out of bamboo but it is all from plastic and it has a motor power. The romance of the sail was disappearing especially when we met other dozens of boats with tourists. We were concentrating more on surrounding nature which was slowly waking up from the morning mist. Along the river there were some local farmers and buffalos. After a while we started to see incredible sceneries of hills and rocks. The most known hills have names according to how they look like. There are names like: “Old Man Watching Apple”, “Lion Rock”, “Fish Tail”, “Nine horses”, etc. The hills are really beautiful completely covered with green vegetation. They were reminding us of the sceneries from Avatar movie.

After about one-hour ride on the bamboo raft we were approaching Xingping village. One of the last hills before reaching Xingping is pictured on twenty-Yuan note and the locals are very proud of it. Of course that our guy didn’t forget to show one note to us. We got off the bamboo raft and we started our hike back against the tide along the Lí river. The morning fog was almost gone and we were able to admire the beauty of the hills. The way back was approximately 16 km including 3 river crossings. The first river crossing came after 2 hours of walking. Small ferry way transporting people from one bank to another charging quite a lot for only 1 minute ride. “Next time we’ll rather swim across!”

When we were in the middle of our trip we met an old woman with bags. She was asking us something in Chinese and Karel was replying for fun with his great Chinese skills. He must have said something he didn’t want because the woman changed her direction and started to follow us. When we started to walk faster she also walked faster. When we stopped for a snack she was waiting by the road. “Is she going to follow us to the toilets too?” We wondered. After one hour that she was following us we again tried to find out why she was doing that but from her gesticulation it was impossible. So we still continued in our way all 3 of us. When we got to the second ferry we finally got to know why she was following us. She wanted to cross the river with us for free! Unfortunately we had only 20 Yuans and then big notes. The man with his little bamboo raft had no change and was very strict with the poor old woman. He told her that she was not coming with us. Poor woman walked all the way for nothing and she probably had to go back. We were very sorry for her.

It was getting dark and so we walked faster until we got to the last ferry across the river. Again we had a problem to pay for transport because nobody had any change. We started to be a little bit nervous because we had to catch the last bus to Yángshuò. Suddenly one Chinese man came to the river changed our money. We were right on time to catch the last bus. All trip took us around 6 hours in total but and can only recommend this hike from Xingping to Yangdi. You will not meet many tourists and the views on green hills will stay in your memory.


Copyright © 2014 | | Karel Stepanek |