River Cruising In China

River Cruising In China

A river cruise is the ideal way to discover China because, unlike an ocean cruise or bus tour, river cruises visit a port nearly every day. On a China River Cruise, you can enjoy scenic river cruising in between ports of call, seeing the best of China up close…and right outside your porthole!

One of the oldest civilizations on earth, China is a land of history, spirituality and great beauty. River cruises through China are journeys through time as they take travelers from small villages to bustling modern cities. Visitors will see the great cities of Beijing and Shanghai, the ancient wonders of Xian, and the spectacular Three Gorges region of the mighty Yangtze River. China is a land of great contrasts, with many ancient wonders coexisting side by side with modern, dynamic cities. Its immense geographic area covers terrain from mountains and plateaus in the north to subtropical areas in the south.

Ranging in price and length, a China river cruise can fit most travelers’ budgets. And with diverse itineraries, visitors can choose whether to see cosmopolitan Shanghai, imperial Beijing, experience spiritually enlightening Lhasa on the Tibetan plateau…or maybe even all three! Many of the most fascinating sights that China has to offer can really only appreciated from the river. For examples, as cruisers sail through the legendary Three Gorges region, they will experience a fascinating transit through the Three Gorges Dam’s five-stage lock system...something that cannot be experienced on land tours. While cruising along the Yangtze, you'll pass by many exciting destinations such as Chongqing, Fengdu and Yichang, giving you a unique view of rural China and this ancient civilization.

The longest river in Asia (and the third longest in the world) at more than 3,915 miles, the Yangtze river flows from the Tibetan Plateau in the west to the East China Sea. Consequently, it has historically been regarded by the Chinese as marking the division of their country into north and south, both geographically and culturally. There is no better way to see a country than to travel right through the heart of it and cruises along the Yangtze River offer travelers stunning vistas of many of China’s diverse landscapes, providing a glimpse into the geographic, historical, and cultural treasures of the country.

There's no better way to experience China's stunning landscapes, ancient culture and unique architecture than on a river cruise. On a Yangtze River cruise, you'll discover China's unique blend of ancient traditions and modern cities, explore world treasures like the Great Wall and visit palaces where Emperors ruled for centuries. On a China river cruise you can participate in cultural activities, explore the riverside ancient towns or simply relax on deck ,view the stunning passing scenery and take photos.

New Town Plaza

New Town Plaza is the largest and one of the best shopping malls located in Sha Tin, New Territories. Operated by the properties developer giant, Sun Hung Kai, the mall features ten levels of restaurants, banks and other stores. A wide range of international brands (including Toys R' Us, Starbucks, Tommy Hilfiger, Marks & Spencer) can be found at this 2,000,000 sq. ft. paradise. New Town Plaza also houses Asia's first Snoopy outdoor playground "Snoopy's World" - a must-see and entrance is free.

In addition, New Town Plaza has another mini-mall (dubbed HomeSquare), previously Grand Central Plaza, located within a 5 minute's walk. HomeSquare is the home of the Swedish home furnishing chain IKEA and other home-related chainstores. Renovation is currently underway and is expected to be completed in 2009/2010, business is as usual.

New Town Plaza, 18 Sha Tin Centre St, Sha Tin, New Territories

Peak Tram

The Peak Tram (山頂纜車, shān dǐng lǎn chē) is a 1.4 km (0.87 miles) historical funicular railway connecting the central business district to Victoria Peak via the Mid-Levels since 1888. It offers excellent views of urban Hong Kong (skyscrapers) and the diverse heritage along the track. The Peak Tram is also a big hit among tourists so you'll have to cope with long queues even on ordinary days (10-30 minutes). Do note that there is a additional seperate queue for purchasing tickets (available at entrance at both termini).

At the tram terminus in Central, while you're in the queue you can also learn about the history of the Peak Tram (gallery). There are numerous antiques stationed there including the tickets, uniforms, way of boarding and the statistics back then. Thus, a complimentary 'museum entry fee' included in the price of the ticket.

Overall, the trip itself takes around 5 minutes up the peak and is the fastest way up and down. Its closest competitor, a minibus route takes around 20 minutes due to the curvy mountain road. The tram's route is operated on a single railway with a passing loops and travels at 22 km/h (14 mph) which is pretty fast for a steep 35-45° climb. Up to 120 people can be on the tram at any time with some standing and serves 12,000 people a day.

In conclusion, though it offers great views, it remains a fairly expensive mode of transport (compared to other Hong Kong transport) going up Victoria Peak with limited frequency at 10-15 minutes per tram.

Fares (Octopus Card accepted, corr. as of writing - check with operator):