The Li River winding its way through the Karst Mountains, China 27 Sep 2016
About this photo
Originating from the Ma'oer Mountains in Xing'an County, Southern China, the Li River flows south, passing through the picturesque Karst Mountains en route to the South China Sea. A Karst landscape is formed gradually by the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite and gypsum. Geographically, Karst areas can be identified by large underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves; on the surface, they are defined by surreal limestone structures, such as bridges and arches that form gradually over time. The South China Karst is considered of the largest and most spectacular examples of a humid tropical to subtropical karst landscapes in the world, and is therefore a Unesco World Heritage Site. The area is spread over the provinces of Guizhou, Guangxi, Yunnan and Chongqing and covers a massive 176,228 hectares.
A 50 mile-section of the River Li cuts through the Karst Mountains, and cruises on this section of the river are very popular. Cruises come in different shapes and sizes, from 5-star luxury boats to bamboo rafts, but all pass through this surreal, atmospheric landscape of limestone structures. The Li River is so popular in China, that a scene from it appears on a 20 Yuan banknote. Experience the Li River Cruise for yourself with Insight Guides' The Best of China trip.