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Yangtze River Cruise Weather & What to Wear

Yangtze River stretching in a so large area in China, therefore, climate changes widely from the lower reaches in the eastern part to higher section in the western areas. The classic Yangtze River cruise is down between Chongqing and Yichang, which belongs to the upper and middle reaches of monsoon subtropical climate and enjoys distinct four seasons around the year.

Here we give some brief introduction of weather in major port cities like Chongqing, Yichang, etc., best time to cruise on Yangtze River and dressing tips for different seasons for your preparation of the 2024 cruise in China.

Yangtze River Cruise Weather

Weather in Chongqing

  • Places Covered in Chongqing: Chongqing downtown, Fuling District, Fengdu County, Zhongxian County, Wanzhou District, Yunyang County, Fengjie County, Wushan County, etc.
  • Highlights in Chongqing: Fengdu Ghost City, 816 Nuclear Military Plant, Baiheliang Underwater Museum, Shibaozhai Pagoda, White Emperor City, Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge, Shennv Stream, Lesser Three Gorges, etc.

Chongqing belongs to the humid subtropical monsoon climate. Four seasons appear largely different in Chongqing, so visitors there could feel its early spring, hot summer, cool autumn and warm winter. Furthermore, it has an annual average temperature of 16-18℃, with the average temperature of 4-8℃ in the coldest month and 26-29℃ in the hottest month. The highest temperature in summer can reach to 44℃, therefore, it is called the “third furnace” in China with really hot weather in summer. It rains plentifully in Chongqing at an average rainfall of 1, 000mm to 1,400mm, particularly from May to September, and night rains occur frequently during late spring and early summer periods. Chongqing also known as the “fog city” in China, has more than 100 days of fog all year around.

Check more about Chongqing weather & climate.

Chongqing City

Mountain City Chongqing

Weather in Yichang

  • Places Covered in Yichang: Yichang downtown, Zigui County, etc.
  • Highlights in Yichang: Xiling Gorge, Three Gorges Dam, Three Gorges Dam Ship Lift, Tribe of Three Gorges, Quyuan’s Birthplace, Three Travelers’ Cave, Gezhou Dam, etc.

Very close to Chongqing and at the junction of the middle and upper reaches of Yangtze River, Yichang also enjoys the humid subtropical monsoon climate. Rainy seasons and hot seasons appear together, while the dry seasons meet cold periods. This city also has four distinct seasons during the whole year, among which spring and autumn are comparatively longer. According to the records in the past years, Yichang has an annual average temperature of about 16.9℃, with the highest temperature of 41.4℃ in the hottest month around July and the lowest one of about 2℃ in January. The average precipitation is about 1,245.6mm every year, June and July are the rainy season in Yichang.

Check more about Yichang weather & climate.

Yichang City

Three Gorges Dam Site in Yichang City

Best Time for Yangtze River Cruise

When is the best time to book a cruise? To take a Yangtze River cruise, any season around the year is recommended, because highlights of the Three Gorges and of the cruise are different and all great for your different experience.

The best time for cruising varies for people with different needs. For people who want to visit Three Gorges in a pleasant weather and see splendid natural scenery of blossom peach flowers or red leaves covering rolling hills, spring and autumn might be best seasons for them to cruise on Yangtze River.

During summer, children will have a long time vacation, therefore it’s the hottest season for family tour. Cruising on Yangtze River during summer, you will be embraced by the unbroken lush green mountain hills. During the trip, you can not only enjoy a COOL summer break onboard, but also take a shore excursion with your family and kids to explore the colorful local culture and dig into the hiding history date back hundreds and thousands of years.

Winter is the low season for Yangtze River cruise which means visiting Yangtze River during this season, you can not only enjoy a nice discount but also a less crowded environment. During this season, especially in December, the Three Gorges is dyed into fiery red by the full mountains of red leaves, which is really impressive and splendid. Water level is relatively high during this period with less river wind, makes the water becomes more emerald than usual. If you cruise during the Chinese Spring Festival, you can also have a chance to celebrate the most important Chinese festival onboard with all the customers and staffs, experiencing the traditional custom.

In a word, the best time to cruise the Yangtze is not simply a month or a season. Actually, the ‘BEST’ depends on what you are mostly concerned about. For more detail information about best time to cruise, please visit: Best Time for Yangtze River Cruise

Check the itinerary and specific date: Yangtze River Cruise Calendar and Ship Schedule in 2024/2025

Best Time for Yangtze River Cruise

Best Time for Yangtze River Cruise

Yangtze River Cruise Seasons to Go

Yangtze River cruise line between Chongqing and Yichang belongs to monsoon subtropical climate and enjoys distinct four seasons around the year. Spring and Autumn are two peak seasons for cruising on Yangtze River. Spring on the Yangtze River is mainly from March to May. Yangtze River spends the best autumn season during September and November. June to August is the summer season on the Yangtze. It comes to winter during December to the next February along the Yangtze River. 

Yangtze River Cruise in Spring (March ~ May)

Average temperature during spring is around 15°C and about 9°C at night. There is only about 36mm of rainfall in March, but rise a lot in April and May, with 105mm and 152mm respectively.

Note: During dry season (usually during March and April) some ships may not be able to stop at Chongqing Chaotianmen Port, port would be changed to Fengdu Port (丰都港) in Fengdu County for embarkation and disembarkation. For more detailed information, please check Possible Port Change for Special Events in Chongqing 2024.

Yangtze Cruise Highlights in Spring

Three Gorges weather changes warmer and warmer and more comfortable for a natural-scenery-seeking holiday. Pinky peach flowers and golden rape blossoms along the banks of Yangtze River at the section of the Three Gorges make your Three Gorges cruise really romantic. With a comfortable temperature, spring is also a good time for shore excursion. Visit Fengdu Ghost City and know about the interesting Chinese Ghost Culture. Take a short hiking tour to Chinese Ancient “Poem City” - White Emperor City and overlook “Kui Gate” which is at the entrance of Qutang Gorge.

Fengdu Ghost City

Fengdu Ghost City

Yangtze River Cruise in Autumn (September ~ November)

With an average temperature from 24°C in September and 14°C in November, autumn is one of the best pleasant seasons to cruising on Yangtze River. As the pass of raining season

Yangtze Cruise Highlights in Autumn

 With the cool autumn breeze and tender sunshine, green leaves turn into yellow, orange, and red to dress up the mountains of the Yangtze Three Gorges a gorgeous lady for your appreciation. Autumn is also a good season for outdoor activities. Climb up to the top of Shibaozhai Pagoda, you will find there are so many historical & cultural relics waiting for you to discover. Meet the Three Gorges Dam Site, you will have a chance to appreciate this amazing architecture, learn about its’ construction process and can’t help but sigh the wisdom of mankind.

Shibaozhai Pagoda

Shibaozhai Pagoda

Yangtze River Cruise in Winter (December ~ February)

Winter is the coldest season but with less rain. Average temperature in winter is about 8°C. The lowest temperature would often above 0°C. Average monthly rainfall is only about 22mm.

Yangtze Cruise Highlights in Winter

Not only the big discounts and less crowded during the off season for the need of a budget tour, but also the terrific scenery of flame-like red leaves decorating the whole gently rolling hills will ignite your vacation extremely. Before or after your cruise tour on Yangtze River, you can take 1-2 days to explore the Mountain City - Chongqing. Treat yourself with an authentic Hot Pot and famous local spicy dishes. Strolling around Three Gorges Museum to learn more about the history and background of Three Gorges.

Chongqing Hot Pot

Chongqing Hot Pot

Yangtze River Cruise in Summer (June ~ August)

The highest temperature of summer can reach to about 40°C. And the average in this season is about 28°C. The hottest month usually comes in July. Summer is also the rainy season in Three Gorges, from June to August, rainfall of each months are all above 170mm, even double more than the total rainfall of three months in winter.

Note: During flood season (usually during July and August) some ships may not be able to stop at Chongqing Chaotianmen Port. For more detailed information, please check Possible Port Change for Special Events in Chongqing 2024.

Yangtze Cruise Highlights in Summer

Summer is a highly recommended cruising season for a family vacation, for the good reason of discounted prices and the right time with your children on vacation. Though it is really hot outside, all Yangtze River cruises have been facilitated with advanced central air-conditioners to give you a COOL summer. Change to a small boat and take a short trip raft on the branches of Three Gorges, such as Shennong Stream, Shennv Stream, and Lesser Three Gorges would definitely highlight your trip. You can also enjoy some outstanding large-scale real landscape show such as Feng Yan San Guo (烽烟三国) and Return to Three Gorges etc..

In the year of 2023, Yangtze Explorer takes the lead in creating and offering special experience of the wonderful visit to the famous Shennongjia National Nature Preserve during your leisure cruising on the Yangtze River cruise (on April 23; May 21; June 11; July 9, 23; August 6, 27; September 17; October 15; November 5 in 2023).

If you are interested in the special service, please check Yangtze Explorer Cruise Ship Itinerary to Shennongjia Nature Reserve.

Feng Yan San Guo Show

Feng Yan San Guo Show

Shennongjia National Nature Preserve

Shennongjia National Nature Reserve

What to Wear for Yangtze River Cruise

Since weather are largely different along the Yangtze River in different months, for your good and health experience of the Yangtze River cruise, here we give some useful tips of what to wear in the four seasons. If you have any questions about the Yangtze River cruise clothing or packing, please feel free to ask our professional Travel Expert for help!

What to Wear in Spring & Autumn?

It is warm in spring and autumn. Casual spring clothing such as coats or jackets, T-shirts, light knitwear, jeans, pants, comfortable shoes, etc. is suitable. As temperature changes greatly from the morning to the night, with frequent cold morning and night and some sunny warm daytime, prepare some clothing according to your physical conditions.

What to Wear in Summer?

As summer is hot along the golden section of Yangtze River, you are recommended to pack your light T-shirts, skirts, pants, shorts, light jackets, sunglasses, sun hat, sun cream, and things alike to spend a summer holiday. As central air-conditioner is well equipped in every cruise with an average temperature at around 26 in the whole ship all year round, you would feel comfortable always.

What to Wear in Winter?

It is cold in winter and wind occurs frequently along the Yangtze River. For your warm and comfortable cruising, we suggest more down jackets, heavy pants, heavy sweaters, gloves, scarves, and more things in winter season.

What to Wear for Dining & Parties?

During the day, Yangtze River Cruises’ onboard dress is casual and comfortable, including shorts and jeans. Swimsuits, shorts, cover-ups and exercise attire should be reserved for poolside, in the fitness center and on the sports deck.

For formal parties and dining occasions, such as joining the Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Parties and some banquet dinners, the recommended onboard dress is "elegant casual" for most ship.

It’s better to wear some formal attire that is appreciated by the cruise companies, like a suit with a pair of leather shoes, an evening dress with high-heels, etc., however, you are not very strictly required to do so because the cruises also want you to enjoy your vacation. So remember one thing, Relax Yourself! Just wear as comfortable as you do.

Check more about: Yangtze River Cruise Dress Code | Cruise Wear, Clothing, Attire & Dressing Tips

Yangtze Cruise Spring & Autumn Wearing

Cruise Wearing in Spring

Yangtze Cruise Summer Wearing

Yangtze Cruise Summer Wear

Shore Excursion

Shore Excursion

Party Dress Code

Party Dress Code

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Top Recommended Yangtze River Ships (Chongqing - Shanghai)



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