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Yangtze River Attractions, Yangtze River Cruise Shore Excursions

The Yangtze River has nourished China’s long and splendid culture. The section of Yangtze from Chongqing to Shanghai, especially between Chongqing and Yichang, has abundant historical sites as well as beautiful natural scenery.

The following Yangtze Shore Excursion Sites will provide you chance to appreciate the longest river in China, enjoying its incredible natural beauty and experiencing the fabulous culture, authentic local flavors. 

Yangtze Shore Excursion Map

Yangtze River Cruise Shore Excursion Map

Best Yangtze Cruise Shore Excursions

Three Gorges
Three Gorges
  • Type: Natural Scenery
  • Best Time: spring, autumn and winter

Three Gorges refers to the most splendid scenic area along Yangtze River. It is consisted of three beautiful gorges, hence the name. The gorges are Qutang Gorge, Wuxia Gorge and Xiling Gorge. And for Yangtze River travelers, Three Gorges are somewhat one of the big reasons to pack their luggage.

Three Gorges Dam
Three Gorges Dam
  • Type: Dam, Engineering Marvel
  • Best Time: all year around

Three Gorges Dam, the world-class engineering marvel and the largest Hydroelectric Plant in the world, is another big reason why so many tourists coming to cruise Yangtze River. Now every Yangtze River cruise has the arranged shore excursion to get close the marvelous dam. The entrance fee is included in your quotation!

Fengdu Ghost City
Fengdu Ghost City
  • Type: Cultural & Historic Site
  • Best Time: all year around

With a long history of nearly 2,000 years, Fengdu Ghost City at the bank of Yangtze River is an interesting site for visitors who are looking to learn about the Chinese vision of the afterlife. Here, you will see spiritually designed statues, telling you what will happen to all the bad men.

Shibaozhai Pagoda
Shibaozhai Pagoda
  • Type: Cultural Site, Architectural Marvel
  • Best Time: all year around

Shibaozhai Pagoda, or known as Shibaozhai Temple or Shibaozhai Tower, is settled on a small island in Zhongxian County, Chongqing. This 12-story elegant building leaning the hill has long been reputed as one of the gems of Chinese Architectures because of its extraordinary design without using any nail!

White Emperor City
White Emperor City
  • Type: Cultural & Historic Site
  • Best Time: all year around

White Emperor City is not a real modern city, but a big island with rich historic relics. As legend goes that in 25 A.D., a man named Gong Sunshu saw white vapor in the shape of a dragon rising from a nearby well, and thus he declared himself the White Emperor and renamed the town White Emperor City.

Tribe of Three Gorges
Tribe of Three Gorges
  • Type: Ethnic Village
  • Best Time: all year around

Tribe of the Three Gorges, or known as Sanxia Family Scenic Resort, is a mysterious idyllic land with abundant Ba Culture and Chu Culture. Here, ancient buildings and bridges have been well-preserved, and natives continue their ancient lifestyle. Visitors here will be welcomed with traditional dances and ceremonies that take place in the village.

lesser Three Gorges
Lesser Three Gorges
  • Type: Natural Site, Small Boat Experience
  • Best Time: all year around

Lesser Three Gorges is known as a resplendent pearl of the Three Gorges area. When weather and river condition allow, Yangtze River cruise travelers will have chance to experience a small sightseeing ship journey here. With the ship journey going deeper, you will get into a secret world that others may hard to go!

Shennong Stream
Shennong Stream
  • Type: Natural Site, Small Boat Experience
  • Best Time: all year around

On the border between Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge is the Shennong Stream. Known as the “Jade Waterway of the Three Gorges”, Shennong Stream is one of the most beautiful tributaries of Yangtze River. It is only accessible by local small boat shaped like a “pea horn”!

Three Gorges Dam Ship Lift
Ship Lift
  • Type: Ship Elevator, Engineering Marvel
  • Best Time: all year around

Three Gorges Dam Ship Lift, or called Three Gorges Dam Ship Elevator, is not only the largest but also the most sophisticated ship lift in the world. With the help of Ship Lift, the travelling time of ships over the Three Gorges Dam has been shortened to mere 40 minutes around from its past 3 hours!

Three Gorges Dam Ship Locks
Ship Lock
  • Type: Engineering Marvel
  • Best Time: all year around

Three Gorges Dame Five-steps Ship Lock is one of the world’s largest ship locks. It helps large ships complete a “smooth transfer” for ascend or descend 40 stories in five separate stages. When take shore excursions to the Three Gorges Dam, every traveler will appreciate the world-class Ship Lock up close too.

Shennv Stream
Shennv Stream
  • Type: Natural Scenery, Small Boat Experience
  • Best Time: all year around

Shennv Stream is also called Goddess Stream. As its name implies, there are interesting legends and stories! However, besides the legends, the natural scenery there is also extraordinary. During the shore excursion to explore Shennv Stream, you will also have chance to see the mysterious Hanging Coffins near the top of the hillsides!

Baiheliang Underwater Museum
Baiheliang Museum
  • Type: Museum, Archaeological Site
  • Best Time: all year around

Baiheliang Underwater Museum, or called White Crane Ridge Underwater Museum, is an archaeological site submerged under 43 meter water. It displays some of the world’s oldest hydrological inscriptions, recording 1,200 years of changes in the water level of the Yangtze River in the north of the Fuling District of the Chongqing Municipality.

Quyuan Temple
Quyuan Temple
  • Type: Cultural & Historic Site
  • Best Time: all year around

Only 4 kilometers around west of Three Gorges Dam, there sits a vital cultural site at the river bank, namely Quyuan Temple. Quyuan is a great patriotic poet as well as a great statesman in Chinese history. UNESCO also listed him as a one of the World Famous Cultural People in 1953.

Mini Three Gorges
Mini Three Gorges
  • Type: Natural Scenery
  • Best Time: all year around

Similar to Lesser Three Gorges, large ships are not available to cruise Mini Three Gorges. Passengers will disembark the larger ship and embark on smaller boats for a beautiful trip though the canyons. During the way, you will appreciate not only amazing canyon scenery, but also Ancient Shu Road hanging on the cliff!

Feng Yan San Guo Show
War Fire of Three Kingdoms
  • Type: Night Show, Real Landscape Show
  • Best Time: all year around

War Fire of Three Kingdoms Show (Feng Yan San Guo Show) is a large-scale landscape show taking the magnificent real Three Gorges as performing stage! It is a cultural show demonstrating the brilliant historical culture of the Three Kingdoms Period and the spirit of loyalty of great military officer Guan Yu!

816 Nuclear Military Plant
816 Nuclear Project
  • Type: Historic Site
  • Best Time: all year around

A tour to explore 816 Nuclear Project is indeed exhilarating! Here, you will not only meet with the world’s largest human-made tunnel structure, but also excellent design of nuclear project! Stepping inside is somewhat more like visiting a future world than an old world, because there are edgy lighting and space design!

Jiuhuashan Tiantai Tample Scene
Mount Jiuhua
  • Type: Buddhist Mountain
  • Best Time: from March to November

Mount Jiuhua in Anhui Province is one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains in China, together with Mount Wutai in Shanxi, Mount Putuo in Zhejiang and Mount Emei in Sichuan. Sometimes you may have chance to visit this sacred mountain if you take a Yangtze River cruise on the in-depth Chongqing Shanghai cruise line!

Return to the Three Gorges
Return to The Three Gorges
  • Type: Live-action Performance
  • Best Time: all year around

Return to Three Gorges Show (Gui Lai San Xia) is the newest created on-site live performance! The show, directed by famous award-winning director Zhang Yimou, is performed at the foot of White Emperor City, with the beautiful Yangtze River and Three Gorges as the background and stunning Chinese poetry culture as theme.

Jade Emperor Scenic Area
Sacred Place of Taoism
  • Type: Cultural & Historic Site
  • Best Time: all year around

The Sacred Place of Taoism Scenic Area sits close to Fengdu Ghost City. It is part of the “Heaven and Hell” world. This sacred place is mainly featured a 100-foot-tall statue depicting the Jade Emperor, an important deity in Chinese Taoism. Besides that, there are more than 200 additional Taoist and Buddhist sculptures!

Shuanggui Mountain
Shuanggui Mountain
  • Type: Mountain
  • Best Time: all year around

The Shuanggui Mountain National Forest Park (also known as Luming Mountain) is located on the bank of the Yangtze River in the northwest of Fengdu County, Chongqing. Primeval forest, spectacular canyon, historic temples, fresh air and the ancient legends are somewhat the best gifts for visitors touring this place.

Gezhou Dam
Gezhou Dam
  • Type: Engineering Marvel
  • Best Time: all year around

Gezhou Dam is located at the lower end of the Three Gorges in the suburbs of Yichang City, Hubei Province, 38 kilometers away from the Three Gorges Dam. It is adjacent to the Xiling Gorge. All the ships following the long cruise routes will visit it and have a unique experience here!

Chinese Sturgeon Museum
Chinese Sturgeon Museum
  • Type: Museum
  • Best Time: all year around

The Chinese Sturgeon (中华鲟) is a member of the family Acipenseridae and the order Acipenseriformes. It is thought to have lived at the same time as dinosaurs, dating back to a period 140 million years ago. Because of that, it is sometimes also known as a living fossil. It is an animal strictly protected by the Chinese government, named a "national treasure" much like its mammalian counterpart, the Giant Panda.

Shore Excursion Arrangement of Different Cruise Companies

The itineraries of different cruise companies such as Victoria Cruises, Century Cruises, President Cruises, Yangtze Explorer, Changjiang Cruises, and Yangtze Gold Cruises vary from each other slightly. Please check the details before book the ideal cruise. Here are the different shore excursions of different cruise for your reference (they may be changed, please get the real-time info from your travel consultant).

Yangtze River Cruise Shore Excursions Advice & Tips

Please note: If the excursion site is marked with "Upstream", it means only the upstream cruise ships go to the site. If the excursion site is marked with "Downstream", it means only the downstream cruise ships go to the site. For more shore excursion suggestions, you can keep reading our Shore Excursion Advice & Tips.

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