Dreaming about a trip to China? Seriously think about including a Yangtze River cruise to the itinerary, especially if this is a once in a lifetime adventure to the region. A Yangtze cruise takes you away from the bustling cities of Beijing and Shanghai and rewards you with amazing scenery, centuries old relics and old world charm on the third longest river in the world.
Most cruises are 3-5 days and sail between Chongqing and Yichang. Some go as far as Wuhan or may start/end in Shanghai. Top river cruise lines including Avalon, Uniworld and Viking offer combined cruise and land packages that include Tibet and China's iconic sites, providing a great way to experience the cities and rural countryside.
The best time to travel is between April and October, with April/May and September/October being the least warm. Quite different from their European counterparts, the Yangtze has no bridge restrictions or issues with water levels being too high/too low. This allows for larger ships and more onboard amenities.
Intrigued? Read on and check out the fascinating port stops.
Chongqing is the embarkation or disembarkation point for most of the cruises, and is the largest city in southwest China. An industrial center that produces steel, ships and cars, it sits at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers. Chongqing is well known for its weather, so beware! It can ve quite foggy in the winter months and very hot and humid in the summer months. Take some time to visit the city center where you can see the Great Hall of the People (pictue below), or visit the zoo - a wonderful place to see and observe pandas.
Fengdu Ghost City is a popular stop known for its scenery and many interesting landmarks. The city has over 2000 years of history, and got its name from two officials from the Imperial court. The combination of their surnames (Yinwang) translated into the meaning "king of hell", and thus the Chines people started calling it the Ghost City. Landmarks include "Ghost Torturing Pass", "No Way Out Bridge" and "Nothing To Be Done" Bridge.
Shibaozhai is a dramatic, 12 story red building made out of wood, with some sections dating as far back as 1650. The gate, pavilion and temple are nestled next to a 164 foot high rock. The temple, which sits at the top, was originally only accessible by climbing a path cut into the rock with only a chain to hold on to. Today one can climb the steep stairs inside the pavilion to the top for panoramic views of the river and the countryside.
Wanzhou is a small mountain city and port, known all throughout China for its peaches, oranges and tangerines as well as its silk spinning.
THE THREE GORGES, LESSER GORGES AND THREE GORGES DAM
The Three Gorges region is really the highlight of the cruise. This 120 mile section of the river is dotted with villages and pagodas, the Lesser Gorges and of course the Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric plant in the world. Cruises generally include a tour of the power plant and a trip through the locks, whichtakes approximately 4 hours. The Lesser Three Gorges include Longmen Gorge, Bawu Gorge and Dicui Gorge. Passengers transfer to a small boat cruise at the the mouth of the Daning River to explore the area and historical sites, including the hanging coffins of the acient Ba people.
NEED MORE INFORMATION ON THIS OR ANOTHER DESTINATION?
I'm here to help.
Laurie Marschall - Owner and Founder