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The Best Times for a Yangtze River Cruise

Spring and autumn are the best seasons for taking a Yangtze River cruise. To be more specific, April, May, September and October, when the weather is cool and comfortable. These four months are often called the high seasons. The prices are the lowest for winter cruises and the highest in high seasons.

Winter might also be considered a good season despite the cold weather. In winter, prices for Yangtze River cruises are lower, often only half of that in the high season. In addition, scenery in the Three Gorges (the most impressive section of the Yangtze River) can be more breathtaking because of the much lower water level in winter.

Summer is the middle season for Yangtze cruises. In the school summer holidays cruises are more likely to be fully booked. The weather is very hot in central China, even on China's biggest river. It is also the time of highest rainfall.

Weather in Major Cities Along the Yangtze Cruise Route

Most cruises travel the Three Gorges between Chongqing and Yichang, but some go as far downriver as ancient Wuhan, or modern Shanghai. Here is the weather you will find as you travel down the river.


Chongqing is known as one of the "three furnaces" in China, together with Wuhan and Nanjing. It is also a foggy city. More about Chongqing weather.


It is very hot and humid during summer, damp and freezing cold in winter. The best time to visit Yichang is therefore during spring and autumn. More about Yichang weather.


Spring in Jingzhou is warm but windy, summer is hot and rainy, autumn is cool and pleasant, while winter is dry and cold with occasional snow.


It is one of China’s "furnace cities", which means it gets really hot in summer. The best months to travel are April, May, September and October. More about Wuhan weather.


The four seasons are distinct in Nanjing, with hot summers and cold winters. The spring is warm and humid, and the rainy season falls on June and July. More about Nanjing weather.


The weather in Shanghai is overall mild and moist all year round, with spring and autumn being the best time for traveling. More about Shanghai weather.

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