Yulong River

River in Li River

The scenery along this small river about 6km southwest of Yangshuo is breathtaking, and best enjoyed by bamboo raft. Though the set-up for the rafting has become very touristy and overregulated (it's now all ticketed and you have to wear a lifejacket), once you're out on the water it's a relaxing way to take in the views. The rafts are constructed using bamboo planks and poled by a boatman, but fitted with chairs and a tacky umbrella.

No longer is it possible to do the entire stretch from Yangshuo with a local villager, instead it's divided into designated sections. The most popular starting point is at the 600-year-old Dragon Bridge (遇龙桥, Yùlóng Qiáo, Yulong Bridge), about 10km upstream from Yangshuo. This, however, can be a bit of a circus, with a frenzy of boats setting off at once; instead, aim to start at Jinlong Bridge (金龙桥), which offers a more relaxed and less crowded stretch (1½-hour trip), passing under the Dragon Bridge and finishing at Jiuxian (旧县).

Cycling is the best way to get here (14km), and though you can't take bikes on the raft, operators will transport your bike to your endpoint for ¥10. Alternatively, a taxi to Jinbao (金宝) is around ¥80. To get to Dragon Bridge (¥6.50, 35 minutes), take a bus to Jinbao and get off at the bridge, just after Baisha (白沙).