The Yangtze River
The Yangtze River, or Chang Jiang, is the longest river in China and Asia, and the third-longest in the world. The river is about 6,380 km long and flows eastwards from its source in Qinghai Province into the East China Sea at Shanghai. As the largest river in the region, the Yangtze is historically, culturally, and economically important to China.
The majority of luxury river cruises either start or end in Shanghai. Shanghai is an exciting and dynamic metropolis located at the mouth of the Yangtze River. Since 1842, the city has grown into a massive international port, attracting people from around the globe. Bustling urban streets, an emerging fashion district, modern skyscrapers and a pulsating nightlife all give Shanghai a delightfully modern feel.
The Three Gorges is the most spectacular section of the Yangtze River and draws thousands of visitors each year. Located in Sichuan and Hubei Province, the Three Gorges is composed of Qutang Gorge, Wuxia Gorge and Xiling Gorge.
Qutang Gorge is about 8 kilometres long, with 100-metre high walls, stretching from Baidi in the west, to Wushan County in the east, creating a colossal gateway over the Yangtze River.
Wuxia Gorge is said to be the most beautiful of the three. Wuxia is about 40 kilometres long, while Xiling Gorge is the longest of the three, stretching from the Xiangxi stream in Zigui County to the Nanjin Pass in Yichang, running a total of 76 kilometres.
Fengdu is another essential stop on any Yangtze River cruise. Located at the foothill of the mountains, Fengdu is the only ghost city in China. Temples are situated all over Ming Mountain, in which a series of super beings are supposed to dwell.
Legend states that Ming Mountain is one of the 72 graveyards for Taoism. Tao believes that when people die, their spirits will gather at these locations. From March 3 to 15 of the lunar month, Fengdu people hold temple fair days. During the days, “spirit shows” are held in the streets, attracting many believers. Fengdu is a mystical and terrible place of spirits in the minds of the Chinese people.
Another stop on the river cruise itinerary is the city of Wuhan, to see the Hubei Provincial Museum. Founded in 1993, the entire museum covers an area of 51,000 square metres. The museum houses 140,000 archaeological cultural relics dating from the Stone Age to modern day. More than 600 of these are listed as national class exhibit items.
The Mekong River is one of the world?s major rivers and thus a major cruise destination. Deep in history and rich in culture, it’s one of the last travel frontiers, with its stunning natural beauty and biodiversity. Some of its attractions include ancient monuments, royal capitals and UNESCO World Heritage sites like Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Luang Prabang in Laos; depicting an illustrious past.
Every cruise itinerary must include a stop at stunning Angkor Wat, a temple complex at Angkor, Cambodia, built for the king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. The modern name, Angkor Wat means “City Temple.”
The temple is the epitome of Khmer architecture. It has become the symbol of Cambodia and is the country’s central tourist attraction. The temple is admired for the grandeur of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs and for the numerous devatas (guardian spirits) adorning its walls.
Luang Prabang is a city located in north central Laos, on the mekong delta homestay River, about 425 kilometres north of Vientiane. The city was formerly the capital of a kingdom of the same name. Until the communist takeover in 1975, it was the royal capital and seat of government of the Kingdom of Laos. The city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Luang Prabang has both natural and historical sites. Among the natural tourism sites, there are the Kuang Si Falls and Pak Ou Caves. The Haw Kham Royal Palace Museum and the Wat Xieng Thong temple are essential viewing for archaeology enthusiasts.
Luxury river cruises provide a window to the past and an effortless means to see some of the best Asia has to offer.