Majestic Waters: The Lijang River

A 40 mile section of the Lijang River from Guilin to Yangshuo holds China’s most photographed and beautiful limestone formations, described as karst scenery.

These peaks dominate the skyline and parade down the river attracting and astonishing millions of visitors. Just like any other water source in China, the people who live along the banks of the Li have relied on the river for more than its scenery but for what it provides to sustain their existence.

Since limestone is quite malleable, the peaks have been shaped by the weather into unusual formations. The locals have adopted a name for almost every rock formation. One example, Elephant Trunk Hill, which rightly resembles a large elephant taking a long drink, guards the western bank of the Lijang River.

Along with great photo opportunities, these peaks offer excellent rock climbing locations and numerous cave networks throughout the area to try your hand at potholing. The villagers used these labyrinths of caves during World War II to hide from the invading Japanese armies.