Li River Wrongly Described on CNN Travel's “World's 15 Best Rivers for Travelers”

Updated: October 28, 2013 | Clicks: 1248

A list of the world's 15 best rivers for travelers was released by CNN Travel this month, and the Li River was the only one chosen from China.

A travelers poll ranked the rivers according to five criteria, of which China's rivers have something to offer for each:

  • Scenic beauty: The Li is known as the most beautiful river in China with "the best mountain and river landscape under heaven".
  • Nature and wildlife: China's richest area for flora and fauna is the rainforest of tropical South Yunnan, where the largest river is the Lancang (Mekong), which probably should be rated above the Irrawaddy.
  • Culture: Though the Yellow River is known as "The Cradle of Chinese Civilization", the Yangtze has more cultural attractions today, ranging from remote Naxi villages in Yunnan, to the hanging coffins of the Three Gorges, to the ancient water towns of the Yangtze Delta region.
  • Adventure: For adventure, there is nothing greater in the world than "the Everest of the world's rivers", the Yarlung Tsangpo, with the world's deepest gorge.
  • Activity options: For activities the Yangtze comes top with hiking, mountain climbing, and white-water rafting around Tiger Leaping Gorge, cruising in the Three Gorges, or all the way to Shanghai, and most attractions to explore along its length.

The Li River ranks 14th, with a maximum 5 points for scenery, 2 points for wildlife, 2 points for culture (should be more, see below), 1 point for adventure (You can put your mind at ease if you come to see the Li River, as it is as safe and relaxing as rivers get, except for a few days a year when water levels are particularly high), and 3 points for activities.

A considerable number of rivers were considered and judged according to the five criteria. A discussion was held within CNN during the selection process, and the final ranking comes from experts' opinions, CNN's tourism experience, and an survey of tourists around the world.

It is our opinion that one or two more of China's rivers should be included in the top 15. The Yangtze (we agree with The_Mick's comment that the Yangtze should be ranked higher than the Li River), as it has far more to offer over its massive length. Though the Yangtze probably can't compete with the Amazon (except that it's much more accessible), it has a case for being ranked higher than the Nile.

The Yarlung Tsangpo is more adventurous than Rio Futaleufú (Argentina, Chile), though not as well-developed for the traveler, which is a good thing in the eyes of many.

More About the Li River

The Li River is most famous for its 83 kilometers from Guilin to Yangshuo. It is the classic depiction of China's karst landscape, decorated with jagged verdant hills, steep cliffs, fantastic caves, and plied by leisurely cruise boats and rafts. The various attractions along the river include Elephant Trunk Hill, Fubo Hill, Douji Hill, Daxu Ancient Town, and Crown Cave, attracting numerous tourists every year.

It is a tributary of first the Gui River, then the Xi (West) River, that flows into the South China Sea at Macau, south of the Pearl River Delta, not a tributary of the Yangtze, as stated by CNN and corrected by our director Victor Shu in one of the comments below the article.

Li River Activities

Li River activities include the ever-popular Li River cruise, a Two Rivers Four Lakes cruise aroud the city of Guilin, hiking, bamboo rafting, photography, and watching the night show Impression Liu Sanjie on the river. See our most popular Li River Cruise Day Tour.

Touring the Li River with China Highlights

China Highlights specializes in tailor-making China tours. If you are interested in experiencing the beautiful scenery of the Li River, you should check out our top Guilin tours. Or contact us and we can arrange a tour for you based on your requirements.

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