China Guide

Yangtze River Guide to Yangtze River Cruises The Three Gorges Dam

Yangtze River

As the longest river in the whole of Asia and its title as the world’s third longest river, the Yangtze River deserves its hype. Also known as Chang Jiang, the great Yangtze follows a path of over 6,000km originating at the Tibetan Plateau’s glaciers. The river flows all the way out to the East China Sea at Shanghai after weaving through eleven of China’s provinces and cities.

Dividing China’s north and south, the Yangtze River plays an important part not only in China’s geography but its history, economy and culture. Its historical value speaks for itself as it has pathed the way for civilization along its banks creating a water source and method of transportation throughout its route. This has also been to these communities detriment as the river has maintained a flood risk especially during the months from May to August when the country experiences its rainy season. With communities congregating along the river’s edge, the floods create a lot of damage both structurally to the towns and villages, and also significant human casualties.

On a more positive note, the Yangtze River Delta produces up to 20% of China’s Gross Domestic Product making it a rather prosperous asset. However it has been the much contested Three Gorges Dam which has been in the spotlight to date. The dam is the world’s largest hydro electric power station and was constructed to help ease the flooding risk of the river to communities further down river while it generates a decent amount of reusable power. However with these benefits come a whole lot of disadvantages. Just its construction alone displaced over a million people in several hundred villages and towns that were wiped out. However the continuing devastation is in the environmental detriment it has caused with the mounting erosion and pollution. Much of this is a result of the deforestation that took place during the dam’s construction. However visitors still find the great Three Gorges Dam a fascinating place to visit to see for themselves the enormity of the project.

The Yangtze River is also a great place for visitors to take boat cruises. Many cruises operate on the river usually boarding at Chongqing and riding down to either Wuhan or Shanghai. On the way down river there are several attractions such as the Fengdu Ghost City, the many bridges that sweep across, as well as the dams and river side sights. Though above all, it is the deep and serene views that will take your breath away.