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What to Expect Onshore Yangtze River: Port Cities & Shore Excursions

Cruising Yangtze River is indeed a heady experience with a perfect taste of luxury and leisure holiday. However, that’s certainly not all this river is about and not all the ship journey can offer! Being the longest river in Asia, much longer than the region’s any other oft-cruised waterways like Mekong River, Yangtze River welcomes visitors, of course, with endless unbelievable gorge, stream and cliff sceneries. In addition, in this Yangtze River Basin, the cradle of ancient Chinese civilization, there has tons of old stories to tell and various kinds of cultural relic sites to visit.

Highlights spread the river banks. Before and after the cruise trip, you are given at least half day or even a whole day of free time to hit the attractions in the port cities! During the cruising, you will get a lot of shore excursion opportunities. What to expect detailed? Discover now!

Yangtze River Port Cities

All the Yangtze River cruises depart in the evening, therefore, travelers are given almost a whole day for a pre-cruise holiday at the departing port city! And at the last day, the ship arrives at the port city in the early morning, leaving almost another full day to travel around. What great news! Then, what are the port cities of Yangtze River and what to do and see? Follow the port city guide below to get inspired now! The list is in the order from upper Yangtze to lower Yangtze.


Chongqing is the upper end of Yangtze River cruise route. Downstream cruises usually depart from its Chaotianmen Dock, which is also the final stop for upstream cruises. From the tasty spicy hotpot and stunning night views to amazing house-crossing metro trains, Chongqing is a feast for the senses. Everything is beyond your expectation here. You may find yourself already on the ground when you stepping out of the lobby on the 18th floor…

Chongqing Tours

Chongqing City
Chongqing City

Yichang City marks the end of upper Yangtze and the start of middle Yangtze. It is one of the two ends of the classic Yangtze River cruise lines - Yichang Chongqing cruise line and Chongqing Yichang cruise line. The world-class engineering marvel, Three Gorges Dam, can also be found there. Therefore, Yichang is a must-visit for all Yangtze River visitors. Highlights of Yichang, like Three Gorges Dam and Tribe of Three Gorges are all settled at the river bank…

Yichang Tours

Three Gorges Dam in Yichang
Three Gorges Dam in Yichang

Wuhan is located at the banks of middle Yangtze River. There used to have cruises running between Wuhan and Chongqing, while now all the Wuhan Chongqing cruise lines have been suspended. However, never feel sad! It is never a problem to add Wuhan to the Yangtze cruise trip, because it is only 2 hours away from Yichang by bullet train! Popular Wuhan attractions include the notable Yellow Crane Tower, Hubei Provincial Museum and so on.

Wuhan Tours

Wuhan Yellow Crane Tower
Wuhan Yellow Crane Tower

Nanjing literally means southern capital. Such as its name implies, the city was once the capital of the entire nation. And today, it is the capital of Jiangsu Province. Being the “capital city” for such a long period of time, Nanjing now boasts a rich and impressive historical heritage waiting for your exploration. The can’t-be-missed highlights there are Confucius Temple, Dr.Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum…

Nanjing Tours

Nanjing Qinhuai River
Nanjing Qinhuai River

Yangtze River empties out into the East China Sea near Shanghai. Therefore, for Yangtze River cruise journeys, Shanghai is the lower end. The entire cruise between Chongqing and Shanghai takes about 10~11 days. Compared with the entire cruising, the classic Chongqing Yichang cruise line is more popular and frequent. And since the super modern metropolis Shanghai is always a must-visit, you can travel Shanghai and cruise Yangtze in one go...

Shanghai Tours

Shanghai City
Shanghai City

Yangtze River Shore Excursions

Every river has a story to tell, and the Yangtze River is no exception, while the best way to get up close to the Yangtze stories is taking shore excursions to the historic relics along the river. Luckily, all the Yangtze River cruises offer such great options. Classic shore excursion to visit Three Gorges Dam is already included in all the ship itineraries. Each cruise company also has their picks of best included in their ship trip. Besides, there are plenty of other optional highlights waiting for your exploration. Each excursion is accompanied by a professional bilingual guide!

Top 4 Yangtze 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 tear 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 tear 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 tear 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!

8 Best Yangtze River Cruise Ships

Find Yangtze River Cruise ships that serve up some of the best experience on the Yangtze River!

Century Oasis Cruise
Century Oasis

2023 best Yangtze River cruise ship choice

Only $491-$537

Century Victory Cruise
Century Victory

2022 brand new sister ship of Century Glory

Only $491-$537

Century Glory Cruise
Century Glory

2019 newly built super 5-star luxury cruise

Only $491-$537

Victoria Sabrina Cruise
Victoria Sabrina

Largest & 2020 built eco-friendly luxury cruise

only $504-$593

Century Paragon Cruise
Century Paragon

Leading luxury Yangtze River cruise for all types

only $438-$483

Yangtze 3 Cruise
Yangtze 3

Best & 2023 newly built luxury Changjiang cruise

only $727

Yangtze Gold 8 Cruise
Yangtze Gold 8

No.1 spacious & luxury Yangtze Gold cruise

only $392-$496

President No.8 Cruise
President No.8

Top family-friendly large luxury Yangtze cruise

only $362-$415

Popular Yangtze River Cruises Tours

All the Yangtze River cruises depart in the evening, therefore, travelers are given almost a whole day for a pre-cruise holiday at the departing port city! And at the last day, the ship arrives at the port city in the early morning, leaving almost another full day to travel around. What great news!

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15 Days Shanghai Guilin Yangtze River Zhangjiajie Xian Beijing Tour

Shanghai / Guilin / Chongqing / Yangtze Cruise / Yichang / Zhangjiajie / Xian / Beijing

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Beijing Xian Guilin Shanghai Tour with Yangtze River Cruise - 13 Days

Beijing / Xian / Guilin / Yangshuo / Chongqing / Yangtze Cruise / Yichang / Shanghai

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Questions & Discussions

Following are latest questions and answers from our webusers and customers. You can learn many useful information from the discussion and cases. You can also join in the discussions or ask your own question. Our experts will help you ASAP.

Drinks package
Can we take drinks from the bar into the restaurant?
2019-05-10 00:47
Hi Richard,

Thanks for your message! I'm sorry the drinks ordered in the bar cannot be taken into the restaurant. However, all the drinks sold in the bar are sold in the restaurant too, and the prices are usually the same as or even cheaper than those in the bar. If you want some drinks during dining, you can ask the staff in the restaurant for help, and they will be glad to help you!

For more information about Yangtze River Cruises Drinks & Beverages in 2019, please visit:

Hope this helps and wish you a nice ship experience in China!

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