The Yulong River is a small tributary of the larger Li River in Southeastern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region that runs through the major city of Guilin to Yangshuo.
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The Yulong starts in Northern Yangshuo County near Litang and runs for over 35 kilometres (22 mi) through small villages of the Yulong River Valley, including Putao, Litang, Chaolong, Yima and Gaotian town, before emptying into the Li around the town of Ping Le. The Yulong is a shallow river of around 5 metres (16 ft) maximum depth and an average of 25 metres (82 ft) across. As it is not located near any industrial areas, it is clean enough for swimming, though some brownish surface foam is visible in eddys, probably the result of phosphate runoff from local villages.
Unlike the busy Li River, it has no motorized boat traffic and relies completely on bamboo rafts to ferry passengers downriver. This has become a popular tourist activity, with passengers beginning their journey that the Yulong Bridge, a 400-year-old stone bridge. As the local government has improved local roads through the Yulong River Valley, biking has also become a popular tourist activity, as there are many quaint villages along the river, some offering bed ad breakfast accommodation.
The Yulong is prone to sudden flooding which is one of the reasons why there are not more places to stay close by. Local people have built breakwaters (weirs) every kilometer or so to allow their animals to cross the river, though many have fallen into disrepair. It is possible during the dry season (November-March) for people to walk across some of these weirs, otherwise it is necessary to hire local people to ferry passengers across for about RMB 10 per person.
The Yulong River Valley is very fertile and its low-lying terrain is excellent for rice fields. In recent years, farmers have planted more cash crops such as pomelos, tangerines and mandarin oranges, which bring in more income than rice. The valley is still agricultural, with few services or businesses outside of the small villages. The valley is accessible from the main Yangshuo highway through the village of Yi Ma, north at the Yulong Bridge and South at the Gong Nong Bridge. The river is approximately 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) west of Yangshuo town proper.
Features of Yulong River
Yulong River, also called Little Li River, rises in Lingui County inYangshuo. The river is about 43 kilometers (26 miles) long, with a drainage area of approximately 158 square kilometers (39,043 acres). The part of the river that stretches from Yulong Bridge in Baisha Town, to Gongnong Bridge near Big Banyan, is known as the Yulong River Scenic Area, and includes some spectacular scenic views along each river bank.
The Chinese word 'Yulong' refers to 'meeting a dragon'. Local legend has it that a dragon from the East Sea strolled across the Yulong River and, being deeply impressed by the attractive landscape, decided to stay there forever. The villagers living on the river bank saw the dragon several times, and hence the river is named so.
The Yulong River Scenic Area has many tourist attractions interspersed with cultural and historical ones. The languid river is surrounded by a primitive, but pure, natural landscape, combined with green bamboo forests and rolling hills. Visitors to the area will delight in the picturesque scenes of simple rural life: bamboo waterwheels irrigating the paddy fields; village girls hand washing clothes outside of their cottages with smoke curling upward from the chimneys; old men fishing in the river; flocks of ducks swimming in the pond. Idyllic scenes such as these will allow tourists to forget their problems and experience a sense of calm relaxation.
Other natural spots along the river that should not be missed are Big Banyan, Moon Hill, Five-Finger Hill, Lion Hill, Dragon Pool, Butterfly Spring, Tianping Greenland, the Eight Immortals Caves, Rhinoceros Pool and Chaoyang Village.
Video of Farming Scene along RiverHistorical attractions include the three most famed ancient bridges in Yangshuo:Yulong Bridge; Fuli Bridge; Xiangui Bridge (the oldest single arch bridge in Guangxi). The Han Dynasty (206BC-220) Tombs, Guiyi County Site, Jianshan Temple (the biggest one in Guangxi) and Pan Manor are also worth visiting. For an appreciation of simplicity and elegance, tourists should pay a visit to the local dwelling houses built in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) style located in Jiuxian County.
Two ways to appreciate the scenery: The first is by river, with the renting of a bamboo raft. The route starts at Jinlong (Golden Dragon) Bridge and ends at Gongnong Bridge and takes about 6 hours. Please do not rent those rafts without first ensuring a life preserver is present. The second is to appreciate the beauty of the natural and rural scenery along the river on foot. This option takes about 4.5 hours.
How to get Yulong River
1. Take the bus (Yangshuo - Guilin), getting off at Baisha Town, and then take tricycle taxi to Yulong Bridge.
2. Rent a bicycle at the West Street in Yangshuo and ride along the river bank upstream to Yulong Bridge. It takes about 20-30 minutes.
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