Step into a world where ancient dynasties meld into modern wonders with a luxury riverboat cruise along China’s winding Yangtze River. Snaking past rice paddies, through mountain forests and between deep gorges the ambling river travels an astounding 6,400 kilometres.
With several itineraries available, the most popular is from Shanghai to Chongqing. Since the river narrows in areas to just over 91 metres, the boats are smaller than what you may expect, but they truly are vessels of class and elegance, o ering all the amenities you’d expect; theatres, bars, tness areas and spas. Each day you’ll have options for guided shore excursions to ensure you get the most of your honeymoon. If authentic Chinese cuisine is a little too adventurous for you, don’t worry. World class restaurants offer full ‘western’ menu options.
The hustle and bustle of Cosmopolitan Shanghai is le behind with a quick flight to Wuhan where most ships are docked. Steep walled densely forested mountains line the river as you enter the Xiling Gorge, the first of three that lead to the name of ree Gorge Dam, the largest of its type in the world.
Once past the locks, you’ll continue up river through the Xiling Gorge. Here you’ll discover Three Travelers Cave, Huangling Temple, and tributary gorges such as Ox Liver and Horse Lung Gorges. Although the names may not translate eloquently, their steep cliffs that plunge dramatically are often found on postcards – and for good reason.
From there it’s straight into Wu Gorge with 12 peaks lining each bank, of which Goddess Peak is the highest. Along this stretch you’ll discover the Three Little Gorges of Daning River. Take a day trip to explore this area. You may even spot one of the famous hanging coffins! Other must-see spots on this leg of your journey are the Snow Jade Cave and Fengdu Ghost City. Marking the culmination of the Wu Gorge is Mount Wushan.
Lastly is the Qutang Gorge. It is the smallest in length, but wraps up your trek in an astounding manner. Perched along the cliff walls is the ancient plank road which dates back 475 BCE. Remnants of the road can be spotted the entire length of the river. Kui Gate is in the middle and marks the narrowest point on your honeymoon cruise. At the end of the five-mile gorge is Chongqing and the final port of call.
5 Things to Know About Yangtze
- The cruise may be over but your adventures can continue! Chongqing has an international airport.
- Best time to go on your honeymoon cruise is spring and autumn.
- English is widely spoken.
- Along your cruise you’ll see rice paddies and tea farms; monkeys and alligators, and maybe a giant panda!
- Sample a taste of the old dynasties by taking part in a Chinese Tea Ceremony.
Originally published in Today’s Bride magazine, Fall/Winter 2017.