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The Yangze River starts in the mountains of Tibet and empties into the ocean at Shanghai, a distance of 6,380 kms, making it the third longest river in the world. Its Chinese name is simply Chang Jiangor (Long River). The most impressive section of the river is the three Yangze River Gorges: Qutang Gorge, Wuxia Gorge and Xiling Gorge, collectively known as Sanxia, or The Three Gorges.
It is one of China's most important transport routes, carrying a huge amount of cargo and passengers, yet also one of China's most formidable barriers. The north and south of the country were for centuries effectively cut off from one another by this huge river, treacherous for its floods and the vast amount of water it drains from the heart of the Asian continent. It is also seen by the Chinese to be a division in cultural matters; those who live north of it are wheat and dry grain eaters and those who live to its south are rice eaters.
Best time to be there
While there are differences in the climate according to the region in China, it is best to travel in Spring and Autumn when the weather is not too hot nor freezing cold. But we also pay attention to festival periods and special occasions.
Beijing/Shanghai/Hong Kong (British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Virgin)
11 hours 20 minutes non-stop
GMT +7 hours
Visa required for UK passport holders
Yellow Fever certificate if arriving from an endemic area
Suggested accommodation in Yangze River
Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer
Suggested itineraries in China
Luxury Small Group Journey - China, Tibet & the Yangtze
Nights: 17 | from £8,690
Luxury Small Group Journey - China, Tibet & the Yangtze, visiting Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Lhasa, Chongqing, The Yangtze River, Yichang and Shanghai
Nights: 12 | from £3,965
Sled down the Great Wall, visit pandas, sail down the Yangtze, learn to play folk drums and skywalk in Shanghai on our Chinese family adventure.
Luxury Small Group Journeys - China & The Yangzi
Nights: 14 | from £5,365
We’ll take you bustling Beijing, historic Xi’an and laid-back Chengdu as well as on a luxury cruise along the Yangtze to energetic Shanghai.
Nights: 11 | from £4,287
A fantastic holiday to introduce you to Chain’s fascinating country and culture, you will visit bustling Beijing, legendary Xi’an, historic Chongqing, and glittering Shanghai.
British Polo Day China
Nights: 3 | from £700
Beijing has been the political and cultural heart of China for centuries and has the monuments, parks and palaces to prove it. Amongst its most famous sights are Tiananmen Gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace) and Tiananmen Square, the imposing Great Wall of China, and the Forbidden City.
Christie’s Art Journeys: Ancient to Contemporary China
Nights: 9 | from £8,700
Family Luxury Small Group Journey - Family China & the Yangtze
Nights: 12 | from £4,965
Family Luxury Small Group Journey - Family China & the Yangtze, visiting Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Chongqing, The Yangtze River (Three Night S), Yichang and Shanghai
Landscapes of Yunnan
Nights: 13 | from £5,177
An 11 night adventure covering the region’s major sights and exploring the stunning Tacheng where you might even see the endangered Yunnan golden monkey.
A Taste of China
Nights: 7 | from £2,807
See Giant Pandas in Chengdu before boarding the Yangzi Explorer for a river cruise, stopping off at remote communities for a glimpse of rural China.
The Search for Shangri-La
Nights: 11 | from £5,255
An incomparable 11 night adventure through China's south-west, travelling through stone forests, local villages, nature reserves and sacred mountains.
Nights: 14 | from £3,916
A 14 night journey from Beijing to Shanghai; visit Xi'an and its Terracotta Warriors, get close to Giant Pandas in Chengdu and cruise the Yangtze.
Highlights of China
Nights: 11 | from £3,568
Compare old and new on this 11 night itinerary taking you from the Great Wall to historic Yangshuo and futuristic Shanghai – and everything in between.