Why A Bamboo Cruise On China's Li River Needs To Be On Your Bucket List

The Li River (aka Li Jiang) stretches about 50 miles through South China's Guangxi Province, flowing from Guilin to Yangshuo. Along the banks of the river are a variety of interesting sights, including natural scenery, wildlife, and rural villages. To fully appreciate the Li River, you can embark upon a river cruise aboard a comfortable, modern watercraft complete with premium amenities and buffets. One more traditional mode of transport, however, is a bamboo raft.

20% of the world's bamboo supply comes from China, and since the 11th century B.C., bamboo has been used in the region for a variety of purposes, including as a precursor to paper. Bamboo also plays a part in Chinese cuisine, music, art, and construction. In fact, bamboo has been used as raw material in China for everything from bridges and dwellings to yes, even boats. Given the prevalence of bamboo in Chinese history and culture, it seems only appropriate to take in the beauty of the Li River on a bamboo raft.

Taking a bamboo cruise

Thankfully, going for a ride on a bamboo boat doesn't mean you will be arduously paddling along the Li River on a rustic raft. Instead, most of these unique vessels are actually motorized, while others are steered manually by trained boatmen. However, this also means you also won't be floating down the entire river, either — only a segment of it. According to The Planet D, it's possible to book a bamboo raft experience from anywhere along the Li River. However, the portion between Xingping and Yangdi "is the most beautiful."

Prices range from 50-200 Yuan, and trips are anywhere from one hour to four hours in duration. It's advisable to take a ride as early as possible, before the bigger cruise boats start to compete for those jaw-dropping views. Of course, you could decide to opt for a ride aboard one of those bigger boats yourself, but considering the importance of bamboo in Chinese cultural heritage, going for a ride aboard a bamboo raft seems like the more appropriate item to check off your bucket list.