Flowing a distance of almost 4,000 miles, the mighty Yangtze River is the third longest river in the world and home to more than 300 million people. A cruise down the Yangtze is an excellent way to see a large area of China in a short time and many travellers opt for the voyage between Chongquing and Wuhan that includes the famous and breathtakingly beautiful Three Gorges
Yibin in Sichuan Province is the head of navigation for riverboats, A cruise down the Yangtze is an excellent way to see a large area of China in a short time and voyages between Yichan and Chongquing and Chongquing and Wuhan are popular. These memorable cruises pass through the rugged and majestic section of the famous Three Gorges. The scenery is breathtakingly beautiful as the ship passes through deep valleys of lush green hills and narrow canyons with sheer rock cliffs on either side. Smaller boats will take you through the Lesser Three Gorges of the Danning River, a tributary of the Yangtze. Ancient towns visited along the way include Fuling, Shibaozhai, Jingzhou, Yueyang and Dongting Lake.
Xiling Gorge is noted for narrow precipitous cliffs and swirling rapids. Extending 41 miles (66km) in length, it boasts fantastic scenery. Among the cultural relics in the gorge are Huangling Temple and the Three Travelers Cave. Wu or Witches Gorge, 27 miles (44km) long, boasts sheer cliffs and 12 cloud covered mountains including Goddess Peak that legends say protects the boatmen from 12 dragons. The dramatic Qutang Gorge is only 5 miles (8km) long and at most 500ft wide with Meozoic limestone peaks rising over 4000ft. There are many scenic spots such as, the Meng Liang Staircase, the Ancient Plank Road, the Kui Gate, the Seven Gate Cave, the Bellows Gorge, and the Rhinoceros Watching the Moon.
Lower Yangtze starts at the northern tip of Jiangxi, Lake Poyang, the biggest freshwater lake in China, merges into the river. The river then runs through Anhui and Jiangsu provinces, receiving more water from innumerable smaller lakes and rivers, and finally reaches the East China Sea at Shanghai.
WHEN TO CRUISE?
March to November is the main cruising season for the Yangtze.
Between April and September, the temperature in the Yangtze River valley can reach 36°C (97°F) and above but the average temperature is 30°C(90°F) in July and 10°C(50°F) in January.
Spring and autumn are therefore the best seasons for making the river cruises. In summer, dramatic thunderstorms and heavy rains often make the water level high between July and September. Winter is short and cold.