Home China Travel Guide Yangtze River

Yangtze River - The Longest River in China

Chinese food

The Yangtze River has a strong claim to being the most interesting river in the world, with a wide variety of tourist attractions, scenery, and culture along its length. Stretching from a land of remote mountains and arid plains, it winds its way through canyon gorges to fertile regions of connecting lakes and waterways. You may have heard that the Yangtze is the longest river in China, but did you know it also holds several world records?

Yangtze River World Records

The Yangtze is the third longest river in the world, but the longest river within a single country. It has the highest source of any of the world's major rivers at over 5,000 m (16,000 ft) above sea level, on the border of Qinghai Province and Nagqu Prefecture, Tibet. The world's highest railway, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, passes only 100 km (60 miles) from the source.

Scenery of the Yangtze River

The Yangtze River is rich in breathtaking scenery and diverse culture.

The Source and the Upper Reaches

The arid roof of the world (the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau) with its Tibetan culture, at the Yangtze's source, gives way to the verdant mountains and steep gorges in the minority territories of the Lisu and Naxi in the upper reaches. Read more

The Middle Reaches

Sichuan, Chongqing, and Hubei in the middle reaches are well known for their spicy food, but fewer people know about the Fengdu Ghost City, "the home of the devil", a town of tombs and temples.

The Three Gorges can also be found here. Read more

The Lower Reaches

In the lower reaches the historic and the modern meet: the charming ancient water towns (Zhouzhuang, Wuzhen, Xitang, and Tongli), the imperial gardens of Hangzhou and Suzhou, and the ancient capital of Nanjing contrasting with the skyscrapers of Shanghai. See attractions along the Yangtze River.

China's "strangest" and "most scenic" mountain, Huangshan, is a short distance from the Yangtze in Anhui Province. Read more

The Yangtze's Gorges

The Yangtze's gorges are the highlights on the river's course.

Tiger Leaping Gorge, on the Upper Yangtze, is the deepest gorge in the world, with mountains towering 4,000 m (13,000 ft) above it, and steep 2,000 m (6,600 ft) cliffs on its sides.

The Three Gorges on the Yangtze's middle reaches are famously beautiful, with relaxing cruises , and pretty side gorges to be explored.

And of course there is the Three Gorges Dam, the largest dam and hydroelectric power plant in the world.