Karst Country – Bamboo Rafts on the Yulong River

A local tourist thing is to take a bamboo raft ride down the Yulong, a very scenic stream near Yangshuo. These rafts are used in various widths of bamboo by fishermen, for transport, travel and a great many other uses along the rivers in Karst Country. Depending on the depth of the water, they are either poled or propelled with a long sweep oar. For our trip, we got a 2-person raft (10 bamboos) with two little chairs in the middle and the oarsman behind us. We were blessed with an old man. TaoYun told us he had probably been rowing tourists for at least 10 years.

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The hour plus trip is very relaxing and scenic, well worth whatever we had to pay for it. And it has its exciting moments as well. There are half a dozen dams across the river which the raft lifts up and over as the steersman navigates. Much fun and splashing!

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At each dam there are entrepreneurs taking photos of your raft as it goes over, which you can buy at the floating island just off the damn. Also floating in the river are places where you can have your picture taken in local traditional dress, where you can stop and drink a beer or other beverage, or where they will cook you a meal.

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We are here in low season. I can’t imagine the parade of rafts there must be when it’s high tourist season.

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