Top 5 Longest Rivers in China

Here are the top 5 longest rivers in China. These are also the most famous rivers in China, and they play a huge role in the diversity of the country in terms of economic success by making the country one of the biggest tourist destinations while also enhancing the agricultural and economic conditions of the local communities.

Top 5 Longest rivers in china map

Based on their lengths, these are 5 of the longest rivers in China.

Yangtze River

yangtze river map of china

At 6380Km, the Yangtze River in China’s longest rivers with a huge influence on the country’s water systems and economic environments. Just to put the length of the Yangtze River into perspective, the Yangtze River is 6340kms, and it’s only surpassed in length by two rivers, South America’s Amazon River (6575kms) and Africa’s Nile River (6650kms). You can easily tell that the Yangtze River is the most influential river in China and across Asia.

Yangtze River has its mouth at Tuotuo River, the southwestern part of snow-capped Geladandong, from where it flows west to east, cutting across 9 provinces, including the city of Shanghai, and it finally empties into the Eastern China Sea.

Yangtze River boasts stunning natural scenery as well as an astonishing number of historical accumulations. It’s a main tourist attraction site in China, with features like the mighty Three Gorges Dam and the Three Gorges attracting millions.

Yellow River

yellow river map of china

The Yellow River is the 2nd longest river in China, with a length of 5464kms. Its mouth originates from the Kariqu Stream located on the northern side of the Bayan Har Mountains, specifically on the Qinghai Tibet Plateau, from where it flows east from west, emptying into the Bohai Sea.

The Yellow River is known as ‘The Cradle of Chinese Civilization’ specifically because the Wey Valley basin cuts across the Long Ordos Loop, which is the birthplace of all ancient Chinese civilizations and also one of the most prosperous regions in Chinese History. The river runs across the Loess Plateau in the middle part of its journey, carrying a lot of dust and sand, and this is where the river turns into the world’s highest sediment concentration river. The high sediment areas of the river also make it one of the biggest tourist attractions sites in China.

Heilongjiang River

heilongjiang river map of china

At 3474kms, the Heilongjiang River, which means black water or Sahaliyan Ula (Manchu), is the 3rd longest river in China. This river forms the border between North-Eastern China and the Russian Far East.

This river rises over western Manchuria hills at the confluence of its two main affluents, the Ergune River and the Shilka River. This rise is at an elevation of 303 meters, from where the rivers run for 4370m into the Okhotsk Sea (it bypasses the Tatarskiy Proliv).

Since this river flows through Russia, Mongolia, and China, it is referred to as an ‘International River.’ Note that within this river basis is an abundance of minerals and fish stocks like the Huang Fish and Salmon.

Pearl River

Pearl River map of china

Number 4 on the list is the Pearl River. It is 2320kms long, and it was called the Canyon River in ancient times. The Pearl River is the largest river throughout South China, but only 2214kms of its length is in China.

Originally, sections of the Pearl River ran from Guangzhou to an inlet at the South China Sea. Today, the Pearl River represents an extensive river system located in South China, and it includes other rivers like the rivers of the Pearl River Delta, North River, West River, and East River. Given the annual rainfall received throughout South China at 1,000mm, the Pearl River enjoys as much as 336 billion cubic meters of total rain annually.

Brahmaputra River

brahmaputra river map china

Brahmaputra River is the 5th longest river in China, and it boasts a length of 2208kms within China’s borders. This river originates from the Angsi Glacier on the Northern side of the Himalayas in Tibet’s Burang County. This part of the Himalayas has the highest elevation.

It has an upstream river, the Maquan River flowing across the Tibetan Southern region, bypassing the Eastern-most Himalayan peak, Namjagbarwa, and breaking through the Himalayas in the great gorges at the renowned Brahmaputra Valley. Here, the river makes an abrupt turn south, beginning its 2208km journey through China. It later runs into India’s Arunachal Pradesh. The total length of the river beyond China is, therefore, 2840km.


1.The Longest Rivers in China. Retrieved from

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