The Yangtze River is China’s longest river, winding 6,300 kilometers west to east across the country. A Yangtze River cruise is the perfect way to slow down for a few (or more!) days in between other travel activities and destinations during a China tour. The most popular China river cruise is the section of the Yangtze River known as a Three Gorges. It takes you away from the hustle of China’s big cities and gives you time to soak in the spectacular scenery and awe-inspiring landscapes to be found on a Yangtze River cruise.
Experiencing the Yangtze - in all its magnitude, history, and surrounding natural beauty - is worth every minute you’ve waited to get there!
Yangtze River Cruise – all the fun of a cruise without the worry of ocean travel
A Three Gorges cruise on the Yangtze River offers many features you’d find on an ocean cruise: relaxation, spectacular scenery, live entertainment, fun activities, educational sessions, cruise tours, delicious food, and ample opportunities for exploration ashore.
What makes a ChinaTours.com Yangtze cruise so memorable is the focus on bringing you closer to a more enriching and natural experience of China. Most travelers point to the Three Gorges as a highlight of any Yangtze River cruise, and with good reason. As you relax on your Three Gorges cruise, you’ll understand why this magnificent river has inspired poets and peasants alike for millennia.
Explore these highlights on a Yangtze River tour
The Yangtze River is long - one of the longest rivers in the world, in fact - which means there is just so much to see along the way. The cruise operators we work with travel perhaps the most beautiful section of the river - from Chongqing to Yichang. It’s within this stretch of river you’ll come face to face with some of China’s most distinctive natural landscapes and famous historical structures, including the Three Gorges, Shibaozhai, Fengdu Ghost City and more.
Here are just some of the highlights you can expect to find when you climb on board with the crew from ChinaTours.com.
The Three Gorges is perhaps the most well-known of all highlights along the Yangtze River. Found within a section of the river that spans just 200 kilometers of the full 6,300 kilometer length of the river, the Three Gorges refers to the Qutang, Wu and Xiling Gorges which are located en route between Chongqing and Yichang.
Qutang Gorge is found within the Chongqing region of the Three Gorges. Although it is the shortest and narrowest of the three gorges - just 8 kilometers long - Qutang Gorge is considered the most spectacular. The entrance to Qutang Gorge is called Kuimen Gate (夔门), which is the point at which the river passes between two mountains. And while it can be found on the 10 yuan RMB note, it’s much better to see it in person from the river itself. Incredibly, the widest point of Qutang Gorge is just 150 meters (or 500 feet), while mountains within this stretch of river tower up to 1,200 meters. Along this gorge, expect to see:
- The curious Meng Liang Stairway; a set of meter deep rectangular holes which are believed to have been used as a pathway up the mountain
- Ancient pathways at the foot of the mountains that run parallel to the river. Used even in more contemporary times, this footpath was designed and built for ‘barge haulers’ - people who’s profession was to tow boats upstream. The sheer grit required to work these pathways will cause you to reflect on the ingenuity, resilience, and commitment of local people, both past and present.
Wu Gorge is located between the Wushan county of Chongqing and Badong county of Hubei. It is the deepest of the gorges, winding 45 kilometers in and around the mountains that line the Yangtze. Discover Goddess Peak, one of the Twelve Peaks of Wushan, which is undoubtedly one of the most iconic highlights to be found anywhere along the river.
In the Yichang section of the Three Gorges is Xiling Gorge. This is the longest gorge of the Three Gorges, and with the construction of the Three Gorges Dam project (completed in 2003), it is effectively ‘divided’ in two from east to west. When choosing your Yangtze River tour, ask about whether the included cruise is traveling up or downstream as this impacts on whether you travel past the dam project during the day or night. Locals are extremely proud of the Three Gorges Dam, and it’s easy to see why. It is the world’s largest power station and its establishment has impacted the lives of many millions of people.
Fengdu Ghost City
Fengdu Ghost City
In Chinese mythology, Fengdu Ghost City is considered the final resting place for all souls. The inspiration for the city’s name was derived from the different structures which make up the complex of buildings that is the ‘city’. Located on Ming Mountain, you’ll find shrines, temples and monasteries dedicated to the afterlife that make the transition here a more appealing proposition. Learn about the test each soul must take before being granted passage through and understand the significance of the temple’s role in local cultural and religious traditions.
Visiting Fengdu Ghost City is an optional tour with the cruise operators we work with. For more information about inclusions on tour, be sure to ask your ChinaTours.com travel consultant.