China now has over 140,000 kilometers (86,992 miles) of navigable inland waterway. Major navigable rivers include the Heilongjiang River, the Yangtze River, the Pearl River, the Huangpu River, as well as the Beijing – Hangzhou Grand Canal, which is the longest artificial canal in the world.
With the development of railways, highways and air transportation, the utility of China’s waterway for passenger transportation has diminished. They are now mostly used for freightage or sightseeing purposes.
There are the following cruises sailing along the famous waterways, offering the beautiful sights and leisurely pastime that you wouldn’t want to miss while traveling in China.
The mighty Yangtze River is the longest river in China, and the third longest in the world, after the Nile in Africa and the Amazon in South America. For the Chinese people, its most common name is simply Chang Jiang (Long River). It is China’s major commercial waterway.
The most famous section stretches 193 kilometers (120 miles), beginning from Baidi (White Emperor Town) in Sichuan Province, and ending in Nanjinguan Pass in Yichang City, Hubei Province. It is composed of Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge, and you will pass through the Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydro-electric power station in the world.
Sailing along the river, you will relish the breathtaking sceneries as well as the historical and cultural sights along the way. Come, join us and witness the charm of the Yangtze River.
The 83-kilometer-long (52 miles) waterway from Guilin to Yangshuo, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is like an artist's masterpiece. The landscape features crystal water, steep cliffs, startling hills, fantastic caves and farming villages, with bamboo groves lining along the riverbank. In a Chinese poem it is written: "The river is a green silk ribbon, and the hills are jade hairpins".
Cruising on the Li River is an enjoyable experience under any weather. During sunny days, tourists can see the inverted reflection of the hills on both sides clearly in the water. During cloudy days, the hills are wreathed by mist and tourists may feel they are cruising in a mystical paradise. And when the rain comes, drizzle is like a veil covering over hills and rivers. You will also pass a sight where its scenery has been printed on the back of 20-Yuan Chinese banknotes. Isn’t it exciting to make this discovery on your own as you sail along?
Huangpu River is a symbol of Shanghai, and a witness to the history and development of the city. With a total length of 114 kilometers (71 miles), it flows through Shanghai and divides the city into two regions, Puxi (the west part) and Pudong (the east part), with the Bund lying along the west bank of the river.
Taking a short cruise along the Huangpu River is a traditional tourist program in Shanghai. You will sail through the Yangpu Bridge and Nanpu Bridge which stretch over the river, and pass the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the third tallest tower in the world with a height of 468 meters (1,535 feet). The cruise also offers excellent view of the buildings alongside the banks, the colonial-era buildings that make up the bund, and the modern skyscrapers that shoot up along the east bank. The view is especially spectacular at night when the lighting is on.
The West Lake is located in the western area, the historic center of Hangzhou City. It is surrounded by hills on three sides, and covers an area of 6.5 square kilometers (1,626 acres). The West Lake is the symbol of Hangzhou, and is considered one of the most beautiful sights in China. The picture of Santangyingyue (Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon), one of the classic views of the West Lake has been printed on the back of 1-Yuan Chinese banknotes.
The West Lake is not only famous for its beauty, but also its association with many aspects of Chinese culture. Numerous verses, poems, paintings, and other works of art were made about the West Lake. Many ancient buildings surrounding the Lake are of significant artistic value, and are listed among the most treasured assets of the nation.
More China Cruises
- Qiandao Lake Cruises
- Qinhuai River Cruises
- Haihe River Cruises
- Tianjin to Japan Cruises
- China to South Korea Cruises
- Shanghai to Japan Cruises
Guangzhou to Haikou Cruises
I updated this article on February 26, 2014
See all my travel articles
Questions and Answers About China Waterways
- China Transportation
- Chinese Traffic
- China Air Travel
- China Highways
- China Taxis
- Wuhan-Guangzhou Bullet Trains
- Shenzhen to Hong Kong
- Guangzhou to Shenzhen
- Beijing to Shanghai
- Beijing to Guilin
- Hong Kong to Macau
- Shanghai to Hangzhou
- Beijing to Xi'an
- Beijing to Hangzhou
- Guangzhou to Hong Kong
- Wuhan to Guangzhou
- Guangzhou to Macau Transport