The wooden sampan boats (sometimes called “pea pod” boats) that ferry passengers along the stream are operated by Tujia boatmen who are familiar with the narrow riverbed and hazardous shoals along the route. Should the sampan get caught on a sandbar, the boat’s crew of six trackers hop out and tow the boat from the shore with long ropes in the same way they’ve been doing it for centuries.
The stream meanders through four natural gorges blanketed in thick vegetation and past karst caves, cascading waterfalls and sheer cliff faces. Unlike the noisy boat traffic of the Yangtze, the peaceful silence along the Shennong Stream is only broken by the sounds of boatmen singing back and forth as they work, along with birds chirping and monkeys calling from the banks.
Review by EDMUND C, November 2012
Doing what: 4-Day Yangtze River Cruise from Chongqing to Yichang including the Three Gorges Dam
Very comprehensive coverage of the relevant sights that should not be missed along the Yangtze. Hassle-free check-in onboard the ship on the first day. Spacious and pleasant ship interior. There are no elevators though. Good and substantial meals onboard.