More than 5,800 rivers are available in China, some of which are navigable for both freight ships and passenger ships, and most of them are ice–free with abundant water, forming a complete waterway net throughout China.
The major inland waterways of China are represented by the Yangtze River, the Pearl River, Beijing-Hangzhou Canal and the Songhua River, along which the natural scenic spots and cultural heritages are enormously distributed, and a cruise is a good way to explore the highlights along rivers. Below is a list of top China cruises, which you should not miss during your China travel.
Top China Cruises
Yangtze River Cruise
As the longest river in China, the 3,975 miles long Yangtze River runs across 11 provinces before emptying into East China Sea. The entire Yangtze River is navigable and it's known as a golden waterway owing to its prosperous shipping industry.
The beautiful landscapes along the Yangtze River enable Yangtze River cruise to become one of the top China cruises. Generally speaking, the highlights of Yangtze River cruise are mainly concentrated on the upper reaches. Specifically speaking, the essence of Yangtze River cruise starts at Shicheng Pier in the White Emperor Town in the west and ends at Nanjin Pass in Yichang.
It's really a joy to take a cruise to appreciate fine views along Yangtze River. As the cruise ship sails in Chongqing, you can explore the beauty of White Emperor Town, Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge, Lesser Three Gorges and Goddess Peak respectively, and you can appreciate Xiling Gorge and the Three Gorges Dam in Hubei.
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Li River Cruise
Lijiang boasts the largest karst landscape in the world, on whose beauty men of letters from various dynasties intoxicate themselves, and it originates from Cat Mountain and flows into Xijiang River at Pingle.
The essence of Li River lies in the waterway from Guilin to Yangshuo, where Li River. A Li River cruise offers you an unforgettable experience in your life, during which you can appreciate grotesque peaks, leisure fishermen, antique cottages.
A classic Li River cruise starts at Guilin Mopanshan Pier and ends at Yangshuo Pier, and the highlighted attractions include Yellow Ox Gorge, Crown Cave, Nine Horse Fresco Hill and Xingping Ancient Town.
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Huangpu River Night Cruise
Huangpu River is the mother river of Shanghai, and it divides Shanghai into Puxi section and Pudong section. Huangpu River night cruise is one of the highlights of Shanghai travel.
Huangpu River night cruise starts at the Bund and ends at Wusong River mouth, during which the cruise ship first sails southward to Nanpu Bridge, and then it turns around and sails northward to Wusong River mouth by crossing Yangpu Bridge, at last, it returns to the Bund from Wusong River mouth. Nanpu Bridge and Yangpu Bridge bestride like 2 dragons over Huangpu River, with the Oriental Pearl Tower standing in between, and it's an excellent opportunity to appreciate various exotic architecture clusters in Puxi section.
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Pearl River Night Cruise
The 1,491 miles long Pear River is the 3rd longest river in China, and it runs across 6 Provinces. A Pearl River night cruise is a good way to explore the history, culture and folk customs of Guangzhou.
The Pearl River consists of Xijaing River, Beijiang River and Dongjiang River, along whose banks the scenery is very spectacular, especially after night falls. The traditional Pearl River night cruise starts at Xidi Pier near Renmin Bridge, and the cruise ship sails eastward across Jiefang Bridge, Haizhu Bridge, Haiyin Bridge, Guangzhou Bridge and Hedong Bridge in succession, which takes you back where you embark eventually. The highlights along the cruise are represented by White Swan Pond, Shamian Concession and Canton Tower.
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Hangzhou West Lake Cruise
West Lake is just like a diamond beset in Hangzhou, which has been world famous for its beautiful natural scenery and rich cultural heritages since the Yuan Dynasty.
West Lake is listed among the top 10 scenic areas in China, along which over 100 attractions scatter, highlighted by Three Pools Mirroring Moon, Middle Lake Pavilion and Ruangogn Isle. A West Lake cruise, starting at White Causeway Pier, offers you an impressive experience to discover Hangzhou's beauty, and it's very pleasant as the cruise ship sails past Autumn Moon of Smooth Lake, Su Causeway in Spring, Three Pools Mirroring the Moon and Orioles Singing in the Willows one after another, ultimately, the cruise ship takes you back to White Causeway Pier.
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Dali Erhai Lake Cruise
As a plateau lake at the foot of Cangshan Mountain of Yunnan Province, Erhai Lake stretches from Jiangwei Village of Eryuan County and to Xiaguan Town of Dali, which looks like a crescent moon from the air. Xiaguan Erhai Park is built specially for visitors to appreciate the charm of Erhai Lake, where canoes, kayaks and cruise ships are available for visitors.
It's an ideal way to explore the charm of Erhai Lake by cruise ship. The cruise ship starts at Xiaguan Pier and continues its way to Lesser Putuo Island, Nanzhao Folk Island and Butterfly Spring Pier, and the cruise ends at Longkan Pier in Dali Ancient Town, therefore, you can appreciate a combining scenery of islands, caves, shoals and villages along the way.
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Chongqing Night Cruise
Chongqing is an important tourist city on upper reaches of the Yangtze River, where a night cruise is very popular. Chongqing is not only abundant in spectacular natural landscapes, but it's very rich in cultural landscapes that combines Three Gorges culture, immigration culture and Bayu culture as one.
A night cruise both starts and ends at No.5 Pier of Chaotianmen, during which the cruise ship sails across Changjiang Bridge, Chaotianmen Gate, Jialing River and Jialing River Bridge successively, and it's also a good chance to appreciate a myriad of twinkling lights on Changbin Road and Jiabin Road.
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Hong Kong Night Cruise
Hong Kong is composed of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and New Territories as well as 262 isles, and it's the 3rd financial center in the world, after New York and London. Victoria Harbor, nestling between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, is navigable owing to its deep water, which enables Hong Kong night cruise to become a highlight.
It's the best way to take a star ferry at Star Ferry Pier to appreciate the beautiful night scene of Hong Kong. The star ferry sails between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, and you can fully enjoy an amazing light show as it sails past Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong Central Plaza, Hong Kong International Conference & Exhibition Center, HSBC Tower and Hong Kong World Financial Center.
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Qiandao Lake Cruise
Qiandao Lake is in Chun'an County, Zhejiang with 80 miles from Hangzhou and 97 miles from Mt. Huangshan, and it is studded with 1079 isles, hence the name.
Qiandao Lake is famous for its natural scenery, cultural relics and wildlife resources, 95% of which is covered by forests, and it's virtually a natural oxygen bar. A classic Qiandao Lake cruise starts at Tianchi Isle and ends at Tuoniao Isle, during which the cruise ship sails past Guihua Isle, Santan Isle, Wulong Isle, Wenxi Isle and Shenlong Isle successively, and various kinds of singing and dancing performances are available on the isles as well.
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Suzhou Ancient Canal Cruise
Suzhou ancient canal runs through Suzhou like a jade belt, and it not only serves as a green corridor of Suzhou, but it links historical heritages such as Ancient City Wall Ruins and Panmen Gate together along its way.
A cruise enables you to feel Suzhou's cultural atmosphere, and you can appreciate magnificent high buildings and large mansions on the left side, while you can explore the beauty of pseudo-classic architecture on the right side. As night falls and evening lights are lit, Suzhou ancient canal cruise is much more charming, and it seems as if you were in a fairyland as the cruise ship sails past Xinshi Bridge, Panmen Gate, Panlong Bridge, Renmin Bridge, Nanyuan Bridge and Midu Bridge successively from Ancient Canal Tourist Pier.
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As a famous water town in Qingpu district of Shanghai, Zhujiajiao is 30 miles from Shanghai downtown and faces Shanghai Grand View Garden across Dianshan Lake, and it's awarded "A Pearl of the Southern Yangtze River" owing to its rich and colorful tourist resources.
Zhujiajiao is famous for its typical Southern China river–side scenery featured by small bridges and murmuring streams, where the elegant buildings of Ming and Qing Dynasties are well preserved now, and it's accessible to visitors from all directions by flatboat. A Zhujiajiao cruise usually starts at Fangsheng Bridge Pier and ends at Town God Temple Pier via Kezhi Garden, during which you can fully explore the unique beauty of the water town, and Zhujiajiao is an ideal destination for relaxation and holiday-spending.
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Qinhuai River Cruise
Qinhuai River has long been famous in the Chinese history, which has two sources that converge at Fangshandi of Nanjing, namely, the one from Baohua Mountain in Jugou and the other from Donglu Mountain in Lishui County. Qinhuai River runs through Nanjing and empties into Yantze River at Xishuiguan.
Qinhuai River area has been Nanjing's most prosperous area since the Three Kingdoms Period, along which over 100 historical heritages scatter for you to explore. A Qinhuai River cruise allows you to feel the strong historical character of Nanjing and appreciate fine views along Qinhuai River. The cruise traditionally starts from Shitoucheng Pier to Zhonghuamen Pier, during which you can appreciate Stone City Ruins, Ming-era City Wall, Heart-Delight Pavilion (Shangxin Pavilion), Apricot Flower Village, Zhonghuamen Castle, Changgan Bridge, Bao'en Temple and Jinling Machinery Manufacture Bureau respectively.
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