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Video: On China's Li River, go for a slow boat

Guilin is one of southern China's most popular tourist stops thanks to a scenic stretch of the Li River

Guilin is one of southern China’s most popular tourist stops, and it’s not because the city itself is so incredible.

It’s because -- as this video shows -- the Li River runs through Guilin. It’s a particularly scenic stretch of the river, full of undulating green mountains and abruptly rising rock formations.

Every day, dozens of boats set off from Guilin for half-day cruises downriver to the smaller city of Yangshuo. Meanwhile, smaller boats start downriver and cruise up to Guilin.

This daily routine brings masses of tourists, foreign and domestic, and the meal on board probably won't be anything to write home about, but don’t let that scare you away. The landscape is remarkable -- and it’s great people-watching to see thousands of Chinese travelers encounter the classic landscape that’s been on their currency for years. I did this trip on a family vacation in 2013.

“A Minute Away” is a video series in which nothing much happens -- except you see the world, and hear it, and get a respite from workaday life. We’ve covered Machu Picchu, Red Square, the Yucatan, the Alamo, an Alaskan float plane and the reading room of the New York Public Library, among other places. Since early 2013, we've been adding a new minute every week (and some of those “minutes” are closer to 120 seconds. So if you’d prefer an hour or two away, we've got more than enough here for you…

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