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Photographer's Note

Many photographs of picturesque Li Jiang (the River Jiang that is, not Lijiang the town) have been posted to Trek Earth, but most were taken during the day and often against skies that were quite washed out. This is because the tourist boats, that leave Guilin at 9.00 am in the morning, get to the most picturesque part of Li Jiang between 12 noon and 1.00 pm when the light is worst for photography. A ticket on one of the big double-decker tourist boats costs 500 yuan (about US$65), and it takes five hours to travel from Guilin to Yangshuo, or you can hire a private motorboat - which can comfortably take three passengers (or four at a squeeze) - for 1,200 yuan (for the boat and driver) for the same trip. I took the latter option and left Guilin at 3.00pm so I reached the most scenic part of Li Jiang around sunset. This means you have to travel that last 40 minutes or so in the dark, which is a bit hair-raising as the boats don’t have any lights, but the boatmen seem to know where they are going.

I STRONGLY recommend to any photographers who may be making their ‘once in a lifetime’ trip to Guilin to avoid the tourist boats and charter your own motor boat. For the little extra money you get to go where you want, stop when you want, at the time you want.

I took about 50 photographs of Li Jiang around sunset, and it was hard to choose one to post, but I selected this one because it had some foreground interest with these locals paddling their bamboo raft down the river. Note the two cormorants riding on the back of the raft which are used to catch fish. The orange sky is caused by some smoke haze that was hanging around. It made the sky very drab during the day but created some nice colour as the sun started to go down.

At this time of the day, this stretch of Li Jiang is very peaceful – a big contrast to about an hour earlier when there is a procession of 40-50 tourist boats heading back upstream to Guilin to prepare for another load of tourists the next morning. When the water levels are low (as they were when I was there) there is only room for one large boat at a time on the river, so the boats follow each other one behind the other – an impressive sight in itself.

If you are staying in Yangshuo, you can take a taxi or ride a bike to one of many places along Li Jiang or Yulong He where you can hire a bamboo raft for a twilight ‘cruise’ – a very relaxing way to spend the evening. (When I took this photograph, I actually thought these were tourists on the bamboo raft, but when I examined the photograph more closely I realised they were locals because the big straw basket in the middle of the raft is full of kitchen utensils).

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Additional Photos by David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1237 W: 108 N: 2568] (7789)
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