Shennong Stream (Shennong Xi)
Most travelers visit the Shennong Stream as a stop on their Three Gorges cruise, disembarking from cruise ships into smaller craft for the journey up the narrow waterway. Some tours also include a ride in a sampan (“peapod” boat). Shennong Stream cruises typically include views of caves, cliffs, hanging coffins, and ancient “plank road” walkways, as well as a visit to a Tujia village. It’s also possible to cruise the stream from Badong town.
Things to Know Before You Go
Like the Three Little Gorges, Shennong Stream is a must for lovers of landscapes.
While the waters of Shennong Stream likely originate in the Shennongjia Nature Reserve, it’s not possible to get there by boat.
The “peapod” boats are not suitable for travelers with mobility challenges.
How to Get There
The Shennong Stream runs south through Hubei province to meet the Yangtze River between Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge opposite the town of Badong. The easiest way for international travelers to get here is to book a Three Gorges cruise with a Shennong Stream side trip. It’s also possible to pick up boat tours from Badong.
When to Get There
Like so many river trips, the Shennong Stream trip is most enjoyable in warm weather. Aim to visit between late spring and early fall (roughly April through October). Avoid the Golden Week holiday at the beginning of October, when domestic tourists take vacation and tourist sites are unpleasantly busy.
Who Are the Tujia?
The Tujia people are one of 55 officially recognized ethnic minority groups in China, where they have lived for at least 1,200 years. They favor mountainous areas, and their culture includes a rich tradition of dance and drama. Some Shennong Stream tours include a stop at a Tujia village for a folkloric performance. Note that these villages were built to replace originals flooded by the Three Gorges Dam.