Li River: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the River Li.

  • The Li River flows for 437 km through southern China. Its source is in the Mao’er Mountains and it flows into the Gui River which then becomes the Pearl River.
  • The spectacular and familiar scenery of steep hills along the river has become a symbol of China. The distinctive landscape has been depicted on Chinese paintings for centuries.

  • Over 200 million years ago, the sea retreated from this area. It left behind the steep hills and limestone cliffs that line the river bank, along with streams and rice fields.
  • The Li River has appeared on the 20 yuan note.

Li River

  • The dramatic peak of Duxiu Feng is in the middle of the city of Guilin. It is 152 metres high and is located on the grounds of what was once a 14th century palace.
  • Elephant Trunk Hill is one of the most popular sights along the river. The natural rock formation looks like an elephant drinking water with its trunk.
  • Mural Hill is a 100 metre high cliff face that the wind and rain have turned into different colors. Legend says that anyone who can see 9 horses in the rock is intelligent.
  • Reed Flute Cave, on the banks of the River Li, is 240 metres long, with several grottoes one of which can hold 1,000 people. It is full of stones shaped like different animals, stalactites and stalagmites.
  • A large flat yellow stone can clearly be seen in the river, known as Yellow Flat Shoal. Other nearby rock looks, from different angles, like a bear, a monkey and a woman with a baby.
  • Cormorant fishing is popular along the Li River. The highly trained and obedient birds dive deep underwater to get fish and then deposit them in the fishing boat.
  • Guilin, on the banks of the river, is one of the most visited cities in China, with a population of 630,000. It is a popular starting point for Li River cruises.

What next? Find out more river facts by visiting our rivers resources page.