For many people looking to visit China, traveling along the Yangtze River can be a good way to discover China for the first time or it can give you greater insight into the country if you’ve visited once before. It is the longest river in Asia and only the third longest behind the Nile and Amazon Rivers. It is nearly 4,000 miles long and runs along small villages and major cities. Because of the variety of attractions along the river, many travelers like to embark on a Yangtze River cruise for their smaller size, comfort and convenience.
If you think you don’t like cruises, you may very well like river cruises because they differ greatly with traditional ocean liners. In a matter of a week or so, you’re able to visit dozens of sites along the river without any additional planning on your part and you always have a secure place to sleep at night. Plus you enjoy guided tours, value, and many itineraries varying in length and price to choose from. Many people prefer to travel on the Yangtze River than on foot alone because you get to visit the smaller villages along the river that you wouldn’t have otherwise discovered. Plus, as travelers go from one place to another on a vessel like a river cruise ship, you can enjoy the scenery and relax, not having to worry about which bus or train you are taking next.
Shanghai and Beijing
Sitting on the Yangtze River Delta is Shanghai, the largest city in China which is known for its metropolitan and cosmopolitan feel. Aside from the endless shopping and restaurant options that large cities offer, Shanghai is filled with rich historical sites and stunning architecture. Beijing, the second largest city in China, is home to the famous Tiananmen Square, known to be the largest public gathering place in the world with a history that spans centuries, along with what is known as The Forbidden City (called Gu Gong in Chinese) — the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty up until around the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is currently the site of the Palace Museum. Construction of this massive site of 800 buildings started in 1407 and 24 emperors resided there. Other sites worth visiting are the Summer Palace, Beihai Park, and parts of the Great Wall of China.
Three Gorges and Fengdu
Among the most scenic areas of the Yangtze are the Three Gorges. It is in the Hubei province and the region is home to the Three Gorges Dam, which is the largest hydropower plant in the world. For those fascinated with ghosts and the afterlife, Fengdu is known as the “Ghost City.” There are more than 40 temples here. It is known as the resting place of the spirits of the dead. One of the most well-known attractions is Snow Jade Cave, which is about 1,000 miles long of stone formations and breathtaking natural structures.