Exploring the Wonders of China’s Great Waterways
Water has always been essential to human life, but it is also one of the things that give us incredible beauty. China’s waterways boast clear, smooth waters, verdant embankments and stunning mountain backdrops. These paintings of nature seem almost like photographs when you see them in real life. Whereas your photographs will never be able to capture exactly what your eyes are seeing. It is truly a wondrous sight that has to be experienced on your trip to China.
Of course, the best way to really experience these majestic waterways is to get on the water itself! This is possible in a number of different ways. One fantastic way to get yourself on the water and really enjoy the views is by doing a river cruise. Here we’ll take a look at some of China’s great waterways and how you can travel them in style.
This beautiful river runs cruises from Guilin to Yangshuo, and is a must-see if you are touring in the area. The beautiful Li River is a classic scene of mysterious misty waters and small local villages that line the embankments. The water is crystal clear, and so if you look down you can see right to its rocky bottom.
Traveling this beautiful river on a cruise will take you about 4-5 hours during normal seasons. In winter, the water in the river is lowered and it will only be a 2 hour tour. In the spring months you will see more of that classic misty appearance that many are familiar with on the Li River, although take care around the months of May and June as the area’s light rainfall makes the river a bit more violent. To really take in the best of the scenery, traveling in the summer months up to October is recommended. During this time of year the days are full of sun and the water is calm like a mirror, reflecting the majestic hills on either side. As you travel the river, your guide will tell you the legendary stories of what you see around, so that you can enjoy the scenery and its mythical history at the same time.
Taking a cruise boat with other people is a great way to enjoy the scenery, meet new people, and taste some of the local cuisine during a buffet lunch! However, another way to enjoy this piece of nature is by taking a bamboo raft! This traditional transportation gets you closer to the water and gives you a different perspective from being on the big boats. These run for 2 hours and typically hold about 4-6 people. It is a more private and flexible arrangement, if that’s what you’re in the mood for.
Traversing 6,300 kilometers (3,900 miles) across China, the Yangtze River is the longest river in the country and the third-longest in the world. Because its water levels hardly vary, cruise boats are actually quite large, accommodating things such as shops, spas, gyms, and even internet cafes.
The length of time you can spend on the Yangtze River is entirely up to you. Because of its length there are many different places you can stop and get out to explore on the way. Most cruises will stop at the Three Gorges Dam, but because of the river’s length there are any number of famous sites that you can see on the way, such as the Great Wall, the karst backdrops of Guilin, and the terracotta warriors in Xian.
The range of time you spend on the river can go from a three night cruise-only trips to cruises that stop at various places and traverse a great portion of the river, lasting from 8 up to 20 nights! In these kinds of cruises you may stop in places like Shanghai, Beijing, or Xian. Spend a dazzling night in the city watching acrobatics and shopping in designer stores, then return to the cool, calm waters of the Yangtze and let your stress melt away. It truly is an incredible experience.
So what are you waiting for?
We’ve only discussed two of the many different rivers in China. However, you can see that the possibilities are open to you! Travel in style and relax as you enjoy beautiful scenery and local culture and cuisine on the water.
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