Yangtze River Cruise

Gorges + Shore excursions



The Three Gorges

The Yangtze River cruise passes through three spectacular river gorges in the middle of China.

What you see

Craggy, sheer mountain peaks along the riverside tower up to 1000 meters (3300 feet) above you. And interesting river barges pass by as you sit on the deck.

How the
Three Gorges differ

Listings are in downstream order:

Qutang Gorge

It is 8 kilometers (5 miles) long, making it the shortest of the three gorges. It is also the narrowest and has the highest peaks.

Wu Gorge

This one measures 44 kilometers (28 miles). It is the widest gorge, and has the most tranquil surrounding setting.

Xiling Gorge

It's the longest (66 kilometers or 40 miles in length). Before the nearby Three Rivers Gorges dam was built, Xiling Gorge had treacherous rapids, whirlpools, rocks, and shoals that trashed small boats and, occasionally, large ships.

Shore excursion


They are typically included in the cruise fare. This compares favorably against ocean-going cruises, where they can sometimes be expensive extras.

These are three most
popular shore excursions


Lesser Three Gorges

They are scenic tributary gorges with narrow canyons. To see the Lesser Three Gorges, visitors transfer from their cruise ships to mid-size river boats.

Shennang Stream

It is similar to the Lesser Three Gorges, but much smaller and shallower. Visitors transfer to small sampan type boats to travel up Shennang Stream.

Shibaozhai Temple

This 12-story wooden pagoda rests against a tall rock outcropping. You climb up its steep interior stairs. Shibaozhai Temple is a Hillman Wonder Bronze Medal winner.

Learn my other
Yangtze Cruise tips and insights

Why it's special
Best 5 boats
When to go + Routes
Three Gorges + Shore excursions
Three Gorges Dam
What it's like aboard
More tips & insights

Top 10 Wonders of China
Chinese cuisine



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