Some of China’s most spectacular scenery lies along the course of the Yangtze River. For centuries, waterfalls and rapids made navigation treacherous, but since the completion of a series of ‘mega-dams’ in 2003, cruise ships have been able to sail all the way from Chongqing in the west to Shanghai on the eastern seaboard. The main incentive to make this superb journey is the chance to see the awe-inspiring ‘Three Gorges’ – a trio of deep trenches through the Wu mountain range. Numerous archeological sites also punctuate the route, the most scenic stretches of which can be covered in three to four days, depending on the direction of travel. For more on Yangtze Cruises, click here.
China’s other popular cruising river is the Li, in Guangzi Province. A fleet of tourist vessels chug year round along a particularly beautiful section of this sinuous, slow flowing river between Guilin and Yangshuo, where a tract of towering limestone hills draped in greenery form one of the country’s most iconic landscapes. You can also make shorter trips on bamboo rafts from Yangshuo, where ‘cormorant fisherman’ remain a common sight.