A River Cruiser’s Guide to the River Yangtze

Yangtze River

Flowing from the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai, 2,964 miles through China’s heartland and finally emptying into the East China Sea, the Yangtze is the longest river in Asia. Along the way the river crosses 11 cities and provinces including Sichuan, Jiangxi, Xian, Wuhan, Shanghai and more. During a Yangtze River Cruise you can expect the most stunning natural landscapes, especially as you pass through the Three Gorges region - a scenic stretch of the Yangtze – well worth seeing!! A Yangtze River cruise is perfect for those who wish to explore China - from the Great Wall to the Terracotta Warriors and the Forbidden City, on a Yangtze River cruise you can see it all!!

Highlights of a Yangtze River Cruise

Three Gorges Region
The three gorges of Qutang, Wu and Xiling make up the most scenic stretch of the Yangtze; vertical walls, plummeting waterfalls and mist shrouded mountains as far as the eye can see. A typical itinerary will include half a day of scenic cruising through the Xiling Gorge (the longest of the three gorges) and through the five-sage locks of the Three Gorges - before docking and taking you on a tour of the Three Gorges Dam - the largest hydroelectric power station in the world – here you will learn what the dam means to the locals and the river. Of course the order of events will depend on the itinerary you choose and the direction you are sailing along the Yangtze. Alternative itineraries include a scenic cruise through the Wu Gorge, known for its mythical Twelve Peaks – followed by a tour through the Lesser Three Gorges – to see this you will most likely board a smaller boat in order to manoeuvre through the narrow passage.

Although the Yangtze does not directly flow past/through Beijing, it is common for a Yangtze River Cruise to be combined with a pre/post cruise stay in Beijing – this is usually part of a package and included as part of the river cruise itinerary. While in Beijing be sure to visit the Great Wall - if you can, go to Badaling Hills – here you will find one of the most impressive and best preserved sections of the Great Wall (some river cruise operators will take you here on a complimentary tour – look out for this, or ask one of our river cruise experts)! Aside from the Great Wall, there is of course other things so see and do in Beijing; if you are interested in the history of China, be sure to visit Tiananmen Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in the centre of Beijing - on one side of the square you will find the formal entrance to the Forbidden City, a very well preserved imperial palace!!

Shanghai, the largest city in China and one of the world’s most important ports – It’s definitely a city worth seeing! And although Shanghai has no formal must-see sights and monuments it is a city that attracts tourists year in year out! You will most likely be offered a complimentary tour of the city within the itinerary of your river cruise, this may include a walking tour of the Old Shanghai (possibly partly by coach) and a visit to Shanghai’s Museum. I personally highly recommend you wander through Old Shanghai, absorbing the city’s atmosphere and street culture – it’s completely different to the culture we are used to; the city has a somewhat cosmopolitan character with contemporary urban living! (Be careful of pick pockets) Oh and make time for a stroll along the Bund – Shanghai’s waterfront promenade along the bank of Huangpu River.

When to go?

The best times to sail along the Yangtze are from April through to October. You will find that most river cruise lines operate on the Yangtze between March and June (then take a break because of uncomfortable humid weather conditions) and operate again between September and November.

Who is a Yangtze river cruise for?

 A Yangtze river cruise is perfect for those who want a taste of China. If you have never been to China before and want to see a bit of it all – choose a Yangtze river cruise – from local culinary to beautiful scenery, on a Yangtze river cruise you’ll see the best of it all. PLUS you have the flexibility to either do your own thing at each port of call or join the complimentary well-organised tours.

Cruise lines that operate on the Yangtze

There is a selection of river cruise lines operating on the Yangtze – your choice will be narrowed down as you look at dates and availability PLUS our river cruise experts will help you choose, with their honest advice. Choose APT for a unique journey, full of unforgettable memories and hand-picked experiences!

Click here to see a selection of our Yangtze River Cruise offers.

Looking for a great deal? Visit www.rivercruising.co.uk to find the right river cruise for you!
Alternatively, call one of our friendly river cruise experts on 0800 810 8229.

Come back soon. Jess Nuttall - RiverCruising.co.uk