YANGTZE RIVER CRUISES This incredible river delivers one of the best insights into China's history.
A river cruise on the Yangtze River is as integral a part to any cruise and land tour of China as it has been to China and the Chinese for thousands of years. While you can certainly visit China and see just the main cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, a river cruise down the Yangtze is to journey through time as it will take you past the old and the new and from the land of the ancient to the very modern China. View all Yangtze River cruises in the cruisGENIE™CRUISE CHART below.
The Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia and the 3rd longest in the world, behind the Nile River in Africa and the Amazon River in South America. The river has its beginning high up among the Tibetan glaciers and flows eastward through much of southwest, central and eastern China before ending draining into the East China Sea at the teeming city of Shanghai. Although the river is almost 4,000 miles long, most river cruising is done between the cities of Chongqing in the west and Yichang in the east, a distance of only a few hundred miles. There are longer cruises that you can take with some even going all the way from Chongqing to Shanghai but truthfully, 4-6 nights on the river on the shorter, classic cruise portion is more than sufficient, especially if you want to spend time in the major cities. If you haven't read our article on China, we invite you to do so to gain even more clarity into why Premier River Cruises so enthusiastically recommend this cruise. Click HERE to continue reading article below.
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What will you see while cruising down the Yangtze? There is quite a bit to see actually, ranging from the giant Pandas in Chongqing to the spectacular Dazu rock carvings, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, just outside the city. You'll visit Fengdu, also known as the “Ghost City” — but don’t worry; there is nothing scary about this tourist spot. Some say its nickname is nothing more than a play on words of two of its ancient inhabitants. Others point out that it could be due to nearby Ming Mountain being one of the 72 graveyards for Taoism. Whatever the reason, this intriguing city has become a favorite stop on any Yangtze cruise.
There are of course many more highlights along the river but the two main sights, the ones you have heard about and have come so far to see, are the incredible Three Gorges area and the mighty Three Gorges Dam. I’m sure that many of you have seen the Grand Canyon. Perhaps some of you have even experienced Mexico’s Copper Canyon which is larger and deeper in places than even the Grand Canyon. I’m not sure, though, that having seen either of those two wonders will prepare you for the dramatic vistas that you will encounter as you travel down the Three Gorges, it alone is well worth the trip.
Nature, and the Yangtze River, has carved three extraordinary sculptures for travelers to marvel at as they make their way along the river. Your cruise ship is the perfect place to view these natural masterpieces. Imagine cliff walls so sheer and so deep, rising up to 4,000 feet, in a narrow canyon, that the sun barely penetrates down to the river. There is 75 or so miles of jaw-dropping scenery in this most scenic section of the Yangtze River. The second site, and probably one of the most controversial building projects ever undertaken, is the Three Gorges Dam. By anyone’s standards, the dam is enormous, a massive structure with many “world” records including being the world’s largest dam and largest hydro-power station, along with the dubious distinction of being the costliest hydro-power project in history. This was supposed to be China’s answer to the Hoover Dam and the Suez and Panama Canals — an undertaking so vast that it would tame the mighty Yangtze by controlling the annual devastating floods and harnessing its power to provide a clean energy source. Well, while the dam is certainly impressive and certainly has had many benefits; the jury is still out on whether the benefits outweigh the negatives.
And, what would any visit to China be without mentioning the Terra Cotta Warriors, an incredible archeological find [made by a farmer] near the ancient capital of China, Xi’an [pronounced she-an]. You may not have heard of Xi’an, but you most assuredly know about or have seen pictures of one of the most amazing archeological discoveries of the 20th-century — the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, over 8,000 very life-like and life-sized figures buried as a memorial to the first Emperor of China. We know you will find this one of the most impressive places you visit within your lifetime.
A voyage down the Yangtze is more than just spectacular natural and man-made scenery. One of the more interesting sights you will see on this or any other trip will be coffins, suspended high in the air along the sides of the cliffs overlooking the river’s passage through the Three Gorges area. It was the custom of the local indigenous people, the BA, to bury leaders and other respected members of the tribe in this manner — yet the question remains, how did they get the coffins up there? And if you look down instead of up you may be one of the lucky few to see the rare Chinese alligator, considered critically endangered and which, with the American alligator, is one of only two Alligator species in the world.
In Chinese culture the Yangtze goes by many names — but the translation we like the best simply means the Long River. There is an old saying in China that “If you haven’t traveled up Chang Jiang, you haven’t been anywhere.” The Yangtze twists, turns, and snakes its way through some of China’s most spectacular scenery. Along the way you will find dramatic beauty, cultural treasures, religious and historical sites, and a true modern engineering marvel, the Three Gorges Dam. Your trip will be like looking through a window into rural Chinese life and it will provide the perfect complement to the more urban lifestyle you will experience while on the land portion of your vacation of a lifetime to China.
Because a Yangtze River cruise is usually only enjoyed once, we encourage you to plan early and talk with one of the experts at Premier River Cruises. They will ensure you are matched with the perfect cruise & tour product with the right cruise line that meets your personal needs.