With more than 50,000 rivers, China abounds in rivers. Almost all large rivers in China belong to the exterior river system, which directly or indirectly emptying into the seas. Because China's terrain is high in the west and low in the east, most of its rivers flow east and empty into the Pacific Ocean, including the Yangtze, Yellow, Heilong, Pearl, Liaohe and Haihe rivers.
Any China tour cannot be complete without a Yangtze River cruise, which is a vacation within your fast-paced China land trip. The Yangtze River is the longest river in China, the third longest in the world. It originates from the snow-capped Geladandong—the main peak of Tanggula Mountains of the Qinghai and Tibet plateau, flows through Qinghai, Tibet, Yunnan, Sichuan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui and Jiangsu, and finally enters into the East China Sea in Shanghai. The 6300-kilometer-long Yangtze River has eight major tributaries and a catchment area of 1.8 million square kilometers, which equivalent to 1/5 of the total land of China.
Yangtze River Cruise has become a must-do activity when visitors visit China. The Yangtze River winds its way through high mountains and deep valleys with many tributaries. The cruise always includes a variety of exciting shore excursions to local riverside villages and historic sites. The highlights of the Yangtze River are the magnificent Three Gorges and the famous Three Gorges Dam.
The Yellow River, with a total length of 5,464 kilometers, is the second longest river in China. The Yellow River is the birthplace of ancient Chinese culture and the cradle of Chinese Civilization. It is originated from the Bayanhar Mountain Range in Qinghai Province, meandering across 9 provinces and finally emptying into the Bohai Sea at Kenli of Shandong Province.
The unique scenery of the Loess Plateau is extremely attractive. Along the Yellow River, tourists can not only fully enjoy the breathtaking natural scenery of the Yellow River, but also explore the Chinese history and culture. The multiplying and growing sites of Chinese ancients can be found along the Yellow River, showing the rise and decline of China's history.
The Heilongjiang River (also called Amur), the Sino-Russian boundary river, runs eastwardly across the northern part of north China and finally empties into the Sea of Okhotsk. Its entire length is 4,370 kilometers, the 11th largest river in the world. Wherever the Heilongjiang River flows across, the forests are luxuriant and the aquatic grasses are verdant. The river is in the shape of a black dragon and the name of the Heilongjiang River was thus formed.
The Songhuajiang River (also known as the Sungari River in English) is a river in Northeast China, and it is the largest tributary of the Heilongjiang River, flowing about 1,927 km from Changbai Mountains through the Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces. In winter, the beautiful rime along the banks of the Songhuajiang River is the unique feature of the river. Experiencing the white fairytale land in winter is amazing.
The Zhujiang (the Pearl River) is the third longest river in China (2,200 km, after the Yangtze River and the Yellow River), and second largest by volume (after the Yangtze). It is the largest river in south China, flowing into the South China Sea between Hong Kong and Macau. Its lower reach forms the Pearl River Delta. The Pearl River is formed by convergence of three rivers---the Xijiang, Beijiang and Dongjaing. The river flows through the majority of Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan, and Guizhou Provinces, and parts of Hunan and Jiangxi, forming the 409,480 km² Pearl River Basin, which has a network of rivers, fertile soil, abundant natural resources and a sense population.
The Brahmaputra is a trans-boundary river and one of the major rivers of Asia. From its headsprings in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, the Brahmaputra River flows first east and then south into the Indian Ocean. About 1,800 miles (2,900 km) long, the Brahmaputra boasts the Brahmaputra Grand Canyon, the largest canyon in the world, 504.6 km long and 6,009 m deep. The river is an important source for irrigation and transportation.
The Lancang River, also known as the Mekong River, is the longest river in the Southeast Asia, with a total length of 2,354 kilometers. It takes its source from the Tanggula Mountain Range in Qinghai Province, China. The Lancang River runs south until it leaves China at the Nanla Bayout of Yunnan Province and there from changes its name from the Lancang River to the Mekong River. The river finally empties into the Pacific Ocean in the south of Vietnam. The Lancang River is China's main artery of water carriage connecting Southeast Asian countries, and it is reputed as the "Danube of the East". The Lancang River is a fantastic river with more than ten ethnic minorities living along the river. The ethical cultures and customs are special and the scenic spots and historical sites are numerous.
The Nujiang River is originated from the southern slope of the Tanggula Mountain Range in Tibet Autonomous Region, flowing north to south across the Tibet Autonomous Region and Yunnan Province, with a total length of 2,816 kilometers and a drainage area of 324,000 square kilometers. The name of the river is changed into the Salween River after flowing into Burma from China, and it finally empties into the Andaman Sea of Indian Ocean at the Moulmein.
The Hanjiang River, also called Han Shui River, is one of the most important tributaries of the Yangtze River with a total length of 1532 km. It rises in southwestern Shaanxi and then crosses into Hubei. It merges with the Yangtze at Wuhan in Hubei Province. The name of the Han kingdom and the later Han Dynasty and subsequently of the China's majority ethnic group apparently derives from this river.
Being one of the largest rivers in northern China, the Liaohe River is called the Mother River by people in Liaoning Province. Originated in Qilaotu Mountain in Heibei Province, it flows 1,394 kilometers through Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Jilin, and Liaoning provinces, and at last empties into the Bohai Sea, with a drainage area of 201,600 square kilometers.