The Dragon Bridge is one of the many highlights along the Yulong River and even has a Hollywood claim to fame. The bridge was used as a backdrop in one of the scenes from the movie "The Painted Veil" which was filmed in the Guilin area. Its also serves as the starting point for the bamboo raft tours of the Yulong River. The Dragon Bridge is the central hub of the small farming community just outside of Yangshou and is a great way to experience some of the local culture. There are vendors selling fresh corn and other native treats, the local children also gather at the bridge and cool off from the heat by jumping from the top of the bridge into the river. For those who are staying in Yangshou the best way to visit Dragon Bridge is to rent a bike and ride through the scenic countryside along the narrow bike paths and through the small villages. Be sure to bring a swimsuit and try jumping off the bridge...it looked exhilarating!
While there is a great deal of satisfaction of floating gently down the Li River and admiring the magestic Karst peaks, it seems like it goes by all to fast. After all who travels thousands of miles to only spend an afternoon appreciating one of the most beautiful regions in the world? Actually alot of people, which is both a shame and a travesty. So for those who want to gain a better appreciation for the Li River and its towering Karst overlords here is a excellent way to do it. Walking along the riverbanks is wonderful way to not only spend additional time admiring the scenery but at your own pace. I walked down the Li River from the town of Xingping and count it as one of the many highlights of my visit for several reasons.
For one thing I enjoyed being able to sit down and take my time admiring one scenic viewpoint after another without having to worry about floating by it before I could really appreciate its beauty. It was also nice to be able to see the locals doing business along the river, from the vendors to the farmers leading their water buffalos to drink. Before I arrived in the region I had read about hiking the Li River from town to town but I was unable to get any specific information or maps about the hike and the locals did not offer much help on the matter either. Being that the full hike required several river crossings I decided to just hike down the river from Xingping for a couple of hours and then hiked back. It proved to be a delightful way to spend a afternoon in the shadows of the Karst peaks and enjoying the serenity of the timeless Li River.
The primary image on the reverse side of the new 20 Yuan note is a view of a fisherman on his bamboo raft floating down the Li River through the spectacular Karst mountains of Guilin and Yangshou. This is one of the most popular viewing points along the Li River and its located within the small town of Xingping. From Yangshou you can catch one of many mini-buses that leave about every 30 mins and takes about 40 mins to get to Xingping. From the bus station just follow the flow of foot traffic on the road that will lead to the banks of the Li River and from there its impossible to miss the viewpoint for the 20 Yuan bill.
There are many things to do in Xingping besides that viewpoint, the town itself is a ancient Chinese town and many of the building still reflect the different architecture. There are many small shops and restaurants lining the roads which makes for a fun visit to browse the shops and sample the local cuisine. Xingping also served as a perfect place for me to walk along the riverbanks and see the views of the Karst peaks at a much slower and relaxed pace, plus walking along the banks of the river is free and also offers a glimpse into how the locals live.
Flights only take you as far as Guillin. It is very easy to hop on the airport shuttle bus (20 RMB) to the city of Guillin. This is about a 20 minute ride. Hope off the airport shuttle- and litterally ask anyone around you "Where is the Bus to Guillin." Or repeat Guelleeen gueleeen :).... Someone will DEFINATLEY point you in the right directly. We took a small local bus a little over one hour to Guillin. The scenery begins as soon as you get outside of the city. Travel stresses peel away- and you're on your almost to a FANTASTIC, BEAUTIFUL location :)!!!!! Enjoy the ride :).