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How to Plan a Yangtze River Cruise?

Yangtze River Cruise, a wonderful chance to explore the marvelous sceneries of Yangtze River which is the greatest and longest river in China, it is an unforgettable memory to get close to the Three Gorges and also a great experience to discover the traditional Chinese culture and local customs along the cities passing by. How to plan a Yangtze River Cruise? Here are things you need to know during your preparation for a Yangtze River tour in China, including the best visiting time, tips for choosing your route, ship and cabin. Read on to seek for some good ideas for your amazing Yangtze River tour.

Qutang Gorge

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Yangtze River Facts

Yangtze River, or Changjiang River, regarded as the mother river of Chinese people, is the longest river in China and the third longest river in the world, with a total length of more than 6,300 km. Passing main cities like Chongqing, Wuhan, Nanjing and Shanghai from 11 provinces from western to eastern of China, Yangtze River area is considered to be the most prosperous area in China. The Three Gorges is no wonder to be the essence of the sceneries along the Yangtze River.

Best Time to Go

The best time to have a Yangtze River Cruise will be spring and autumn, while the weather is moderate, not too hot or too cold, very suitable for paying a visit, especially in April, May, September and October. During summer time, weather here is hot and not so comfortable for outdoor activities, meanwhile, it’s more difficult to book a ticket because of the summer vacation.

High Season: April to October

Low Season: November to the next March

Crowded Season: Late Jan. or early Feb. (Chinese Spring Festival);

                               first week of May (Labor Day);

                               first week of October (National Day)


Better to avoid these periods since the price for hotel and transportation may be higher and it’s crowded everywhere.

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Famous Attractions along Yangtze River

Ciqikou Ancient Town and Dazu Rock Carvings in Chongqing

Ciqikou Ancient Town, a famous historical and cultural street with a long history of more than 1,800 years, is a perfect place for you to taste all kinds of delicious local food in Chongqing. Most of the archetectures here are with a distinctive style from Ming and Qing Dynasty, you can walk on the stone paved street to experience splendid culture of Chongqing.


Dazu Rock Carvings is one of the best-preserved Buddhist grottoes in China, and one of the largest eight grottoes in the world, showing all the tourists the important change and development of the characteristic artistic style and exquisite carving techniques from Tang and Song Dynasty.

If you want to stay in Chongqing for a longer time as you have a flexible schedule, you can also visit other attractions like Hongya Cave, Three Gorges Museum, Huguang Guild Hall or Wulong Tiankeng Three Bridges.

Read more information about Attractions in Chongqing.


Fengdu Ghost City

Fengdu Ghost City is known as the “Ghost City”, it is believed to be the hometown spirit of dead by Chinese people, with a splendid history of more than two thousand years. Being one of the most famous historical and cultural towns in China, Fengdu offers all the tourists a great chance to explore the mysterious oriental ghost culture, miraculous legend and magnificent natural landscapes.


White Emperor City

White Emperor City, or Baidi City, is the best place to watch the entrance of Three Gorges. It is a well-known attraction along Yangtze River which is reputed as “Poem City”, for a lot of poems were written about it by many famous poets. Architectures here are mainly from Ming and Qing Dynasty, including Mingliang Palace, Wuhou Temple, Guanxing Pavilion, Stele Forest and so on.   


Yangtze Three Gorges

Yangtze Three Gorges, with a length of 193 km extends from White Emperor City in Chongqing to the east to Yichang in Hubei Province, mainly consists of Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge, the perfect combination creates a magnificent picture of the nature beauty.

  • Qutang Gorge, or Kui Gorge, from Baidi Hill in Fengjie County to Daxi Town in Wushan County, is the shortest but the most precipitous gorge among the Three Gorges. Even though stretches only 8 km, the cliffs along the both sides are steep like city wall while the rolling river bursts through the narrow valley against the sheer cliffs, consists a gorgeous but thrilling picture.
  • Wu Gorge, or Da Gorge, from Daning River in Wushan County to Guandu in Badong County, is the most impressive section of the Three Gorges with a length of 46 km. It is renowned for the poetic scenery, with long valley and deep gorge, grotesque peak rising one after another among the cloud and mist, just like sailing along a beautiful natural gallery. Among the twelve peaks of Wushan Mountain along Wu Gorge and part of Qutang Gorge, Shennv Peak is the most spectacular one.
  • Xiling Gorge, from Guandu in Badong to Nanjin Pass in Yichang, is the longest gorge of the Three Gorges with a total length of 120 km, it is also the most dangerous part. What makes Xiling Gorge famous is the circuitous route, with grotesque rocks standing aside and the roaring river rapidly rushing through a number of shoals, really adventurous for sailing.

Wu Gorge

Except for the Three Gorges, you may also enjoy a great time among many other famous attractions along the Yangtze River, such as Small Three Gorges, Three Gorges Dam, Shibaozhai, Zhangfei Temple and so on. One will never regret a tour along Yangtze River.

Three Gorges Dam

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How to Choose a Route? Upstream or Downstream

Choose a route according to your travel schedule. If you have a tight schedule, downstream will be more suitable for you. If you have plenty of time and want to enjoy more leisure time along Yangtze River, choose upstream.

Yangtze River Upstream: sailing from east part such as Shanghai or Yichang to Chongqing, more time will be needed, usually 5 days between Yichang and Chongqing, 9 days between Shanghai and Chongqing.

Yangtze River Downstream: sailing from west part such as Chongqing to Shanghai or Yichang, usually 4 days between Chongqing and Yichang, 7 days between Chongqing and Shanghai.

More details about Yangtze River Cruise Routes.

It’s a great choice to connect your Yangtze River Cruise with other hot destinations in China, in order to have a more wonderful experience in China. View tour details to get some inspiration for your Yangtze River tour plan, you can also tailor-made your personal tour here at Free Online Tailor-made Tour.

Recommended Tours You Might Like:

►9 Days Golden Yangtze Cruise: Beijing, Chongqing, Yangtze River Cruise, Yichang, Shanghai

►11 Days Best Yangtze River Cruise Tour: Beijing, Xian, Chongqing, Yangtze Cruise, Yichang, Shanghai

►13 Days from Li River to the Yangtze Tour: Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Chongqing, Yangtze Cruise, Yichang, Shanghai

Small Three Gorges

If you find it too complicated to make a decision, good news is that you could easily join our group tours, just find a suitable departure time and then you could start an amazing journey in China.

►11 Days Yangtze River Group Tour: Beijing, Xian, Yangtze River Cruise, Shanghai

►14 Days Beijing-Xian-Guilin-Yangtze-Shanghai Group Tour: Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Yangtze River Cruise, Shanghai

View more information about Yangtze River Tours.

How to Choose a Yangtze River Cruise Ship

The next step after you choose the route is to make a decision on a suitable ship. There are more than 20 ships sailing on the Yangtze River for both upstream and downstream. You can pick from ship series from Victoria Cruises, President Cruises, Century Cruises and Yangtze Gold Cruises, according to your budget and other requirements. Information below may help you make a decision more easily, please feel free to contact us if you’re confused about which ship to choose.

  • Luxury: Yangtze Explorer, Century Legend, Century Paragon
  • Cost Effective: President 8, President 7, Victoria Jenna
  • Family-friendly: President 8, President 7,Yangtze Gold 2
  • The Newest: Century Legend, Century Paragon, President 8, President 7, Victoria Katarina

Read more details about Yangtze River Cruise Ships.


How to Choose a Yangtze River Cruise Cabin

It’s hard to choose a ship, so as the cabin. List your requirements first according to your budget, factors such as cabin price, cabin types, locations, cabin size and facilities can take into consideration. You may have a more comfortable trip in a suitable cabin, especially if you have children or seniors with you.

Know more information about Price for children.

Travel Tips for a Yangtze River Cruise

What to Prepare

  • Get ready for your Visa, and do remember your passport.
  • Prepare for your SIM card to make sure the internet use in China.
  • Take some medicine with you for emergency use.
  • Bring sunscreen, sunglasses and hats for the strong ultraviolet ray in summer.
  • Be aware of the weather change, pack enough suitable clothes, windproof jacket or outdoor jacket are suggested.
  • Suits or gowns for the Captain's Welcome Cocktail Party and Dinner and the Captain's Farewell Dinner will be good.
  • A pair of comfortable shoes is needed for outdoor activities.

What to Know

  • Read some basic information about Yangtze River and Three Gorges so that you could have a better experience there.
  • Choose a good time for those attractions you want to visit the most, it may help you get a more wonderful experience during your Silk Road tour Yangtze River Cruise.


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Basic Chinese You Might Need


Chinese Pinyin English
你好 Nǐhǎo Hello/Hi
再见 Zàijiàn Bye/See you
谢谢 Xièxie Thank you.
不客气 Búkèqi You’re welcome.
对不起 Duìbùqǐ Sorry
请问卫生间在哪里? Qǐngwènwèishēngjiānzàinǎlǐ? Excuse me, where is the restroom?
多少钱? Duōshǎoqián? How much?


Learn more about Survival Chinese Phrases.


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