The mighty Yangtze plays a huge part in Chinese life, with deep roots in the country's culture, history and economy.
The river's landscape has changed quite a bit since the building of a controversial dam but Three Gorges cruises - calling at Qutang, Wu and Xiling - remain an unforgettable experience. The 500-foot cliffs and cloud-capped mountains look just like images from traditional Chinese art, and other highlights here include the Lotus Cave limestone rock formations and the Shibaozhai, or 'stone treasure fortress'.
In between the Gorges and the coast lie the sprawling cities of Wuhan and Nanjing, whose populations of 10 million and 8 million people are on a par with London.
After 3,917 miles, the river finally flows into the East China Sea at Shanghai. In the 1920s the city was a world centre for commerce, earning a reputation for wealth and glamour, and arguably has become Chinas most stylish place once again. For a glimpse of that earlier era, visit the old international area known as the Bund.
Popular Yangtze river cruises
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Discover China with Yangtze Gorges Cruise add-on
20 days from £2548
Mar 2014 - Jun 2015 departures