Taking a bamboo raft ride is an excellent, relaxing way to take in the amazing views of the Yu Long (Dragon River)and Li River and watch the countryside just drift on by. The starting points are at different locations along the rivers and the rides range from half an hour to 5 hours. The word "rafting" is perhaps a little bit misleading as the water rides are in fact very slow as a man steers you gently down the course of the rivers and across a few weirs. Both rivers have their advantages; if you're after a little tranquility and a lazy afternoon then we recommend the Yu Long River as the bamboo rafts are pushed along. For dramatic scenery with huge karst peaks soaring hundreds of meters up from the river take a motorized bamboo raft along the Li River. Generally the rafts have enough room for bikes so you can always combine it with a biking tour.
Jiu Xian Village to Yangshuo Mountain Retreat
Duration of rafting: 2 hours
Take a twenty minute taxi ride or walk upstream to Jiu Xian Village and then gently drift down the river from Xien Gui Bridge to the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat where there will be cold refreshments and delicious food waiting for you. Always negotiate the prices as particularly in high season they are likely to be steeper.
Yu Long Bridge to Yangshuo Mountain Retreat
Duration of rafting: 4 hours
Take a taxi (45min), bike (1.5 hours) or walk (3.5 hours) up to the Yu Long (Dragon River)Bridge. Here you can float back down the river with an ice cool water or beer and see the Yu Long River valley from a different perspective. If you have bikes with you, you can put them on the back of the bamboo rafts.
From Xingping to Lengshui/Yangdi
Duration of rafting: 45 min/ 2.5 hours
Take a local bus from Yangshuo to Xingping (50 min) and walk to the docks of the town. Here you can find many bamboo rafts which can take you upstream either to Lengshui or even further to Yangdi. If you want to walk back to Xingping make sure you have enough hours before it gets dark or arrange pick up in Lengshui or Yangdi.
From Lengshui to Xingping
Duration: whole day
This Tour combines both walking and a bamboo rafting trip on the Li River. Catch a local bus to Yangdi which takes about 1 hr 15min. From there you can walk for approximately 3.5 hours along the shores of the Li River to Lengshui which is about 3/4 of the way between Yangdi and Xingping. In Lengshui take a 40 min bamboo raft trip downstream. Don't be surprised if they drop you off outside of Xingping as the bamboo taxis try to avoid paying the tax they have to give for floating into the docks. This is no problem as many electric minibuses run from the drop off point taking you directly to the bus station in Xingping where local buses leave regularly for Yangshuo town.