China’s Four Most Popular River Cruises

First: The Yangtze River Cruise

Cruise Critic.com says, “A China river cruise on the Yangtze tops the bucket list for most sophisticated travelers. … Once you’re on the Yangtze, expect to see mysterious temples and pagodas, small towns and rural life and the dramatic scenery of Three Gorges.”

At 3,900 miles, the Yangtze is the longest river in Asia, the third-longest in the world and the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country. The Yangtze has played a major role in the history, culture, and economy of China. For thousands of years, the river has been used for water, irrigation, sanitation, transportation, industry, boundary-marking, and war.

The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze is the largest hydro-electric power station in the world. The Telegraph reports, “The dam, now the world’s biggest electricity-generating facility, supplies 15 per cent of China’s hydroelectricity power.”

To cruise beyond the Three Georges Dam, there is a vertical-hoisting elevator (the largest in the world) that lifts cruise ships weighing up to 3,000 tons up-or-down 370 feet. There is also a lock for larger ships.

Second: Li River Cruise

Since I have already written about this one-day, four to five hour cruise, Here is the link to that post, but I added a newer video with this post. Much shorter than the Yangtze River, the Li River flows 102 miles and is located in southeast China near the city of Guilin.

Third: the Huangpu River Cruise

I have taken this cruise, too, and this link will take you to that post. The Huangpu River is 71 miles long making it shorter than the Li River. The Huangpu flows through Shanghai and was excavated and created when Lord Chunshen (died in 238 BC) ruled one of the Four Warring States of that era. This river is the last significant tributary flowing into the Yangtze before it reaches the East China Sea.

The Huangpu River, one of the earliest rivers in China to be dredged by man, originates at Dianshan Lake, in the Qingpu District of Shanghai.

Fourth: the Grand Canal Cruise

The Grand Canal is the oldest and longest man-made waterway in the world. The canal starts in Beijing in the north and ends at Hangzhou in the south with a length of 1,104 miles. You may read my post about the Grand Canal by clicking this link. The Canal is ten times the length of the Suez Canal and twenty-two times that of the Panama Canal. It also connects the two major rivers of China: the Yellow River and the Yangtze River.

Travel China Guide says, “The most popular section to cruise on the Grand Canal passes through Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces.”

This cruise does not travel the length of the Grand Canal from Beijing to Hangzhou and lasts less than two hours. The Grand Canal was built during the Sui Dynasty (581 – 618 AD), and about 2.5 million slaves and criminals died during its construction. The brutality and suffering angered many Chinese that rebelled and left the country in ruins. Emperor Yang was assassinated in 618 ending the Sui Dynasty, and the rebels took control. This was the beginning of the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), one of the most-successful dynasties in China’s history.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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