Stops Along the Yangtze River
By Viator, November 2013
Most cruises along the Yangtze either start or end in the city of Yichang. This city of about four million people is small by Chinese standards, but offers a glimpse of what life is like in a typical, modern Chinese city.
Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam, Yichang’s primary attraction, was completed in 2009 as the largest piece of construction in the country since the erecting of the Great Wall. This controversial feat of engineering has altered the landscape of the Yangtze and affected millions of people, some for better and others for worse.
If you’re on a Yangtze River cruise, you’ve probably come to enjoy the scenery of the Three Gorges. This 75-mile (120-kilometer) stretch of the Yangtze has inspired novelists and poets for centuries and is by far the most scenic stretch of the river.
Three Little Gorges/Daning River
Your Yangtze cruise will probably include a boat excursion on the Daning River, the largest tributary of the Yangtze and home of the Three Little Gorges. The towering cliffs along this river house mysterious karst caves where the ancient Bo people hung coffins hundreds of feet in the air.
Another tributary of the Yangtze, the Shennong Stream, is home to the Tujia minority group. A stop here involves taking a drip along the river on a wooden sampan boat, driven by a local Tujia villager.
Fengdu Ghost Town
Perhaps the strangest stop along the Yangtze River is Fengdu Ghost Town, a Taoist and Buddhist necropolis filled with grotesque statues and ominous-sounding monuments, like the Nothing to be Done Bridge and the Ghost Torturing Pass.
At the other end of the cruisable portion of the Yangtze from Yichang is the massive city of Chongqing. With a population of nearly 30 million people, it’s often jokingly referred to as “the largest city you’ve never heard of.” Whether you get on or off here, be sure to sample the local specialty, a bubbling, spicy hot pot.
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