Sometimes called “the heart of China," the majestic Yangtze River neatly divides China into north and south. As the world's longest river, the Yangtze passes through eight separate provinces as it winds its 6,000-kilometre route from the glaciers of Tibet to Shanghai. On its way to Shanghai, the Yangtze is joined by about 700 tributaries. China tour packages often include a cruise through the famous and awe-inspiring Three Gorges of the Yangtze, which takes China travellers through some of the most beautiful natural and man-made sites in China. Select from a variety of options of three- or four-night cruises through the passages, or choose a smaller boat to carry you through the Lesser Three Gorges of the Daning River. With clear water flowing through and peaks with green vegetation, the trip through the Lesser Three Gorges offers a spectacular and exciting water adventure in its own right.
The Three Gorges Dam sits at Sandouping, just below Xiling Gorge. An important part of China’s sustainable energy plan, this 3.2-kilometre walled dam is designed to generate over 80 TWh per year for Shanghai and the lower Yangtze basin. The dam also serves to control floods on the river system and to improve navigation on the river course.
Fengdu Ghost City
Fengdu Ghost City is the legendary cave residence of the King of Hades.
In local folklore, people who die must come here to register. Here, it is
said that good people are rewarded and evil people are condemned to cruel
torture for their wrongdoings. The place has been an important site in the
ghost culture of China since ancient times. It is a unique tourist spot that
blends mysterious ancient culture with stunning natural scenery.
Qutang Gorge extends about 8 kilometres, from Baidicheng to Daxi Town ship in Wushan County. High cliffs and steep precipices with sharp edges jut along either side of the narrow gorge. In the words of poet Bai Juyi, "The shore looks like two screens. The sky has been cut out."
Baidicheng (White Emperor Town)
On top of Baidishan Mountain, to the north of Qutang Gorge, Baidicheng’s vermilion walls and flying eaves are a striking sight. The town’s 2,000-year history has left many historic sites from ancient dynasties, including a wealth of historic stone tablets.
It’s also a town important in China’s literary history. Famous poets Du Fu, Li Bai, Bai Juyi, Su Shi and others have all written in and about Baidicheng.
Wu Gorge extends 40 kilometres, from the western tip of Wushan County at
the mouth of Daning River to Badong County. Each section is named. In the
west, China tours will travel through the Gold Helmet and Silver Armor
Gorge, and in the east, the Iron Coffin Gorge. The gorge slips between scenic
peaks covered in green vegetation, zigzagging and thinning out to just 100
metres across. China tour packages will point out three ancient platforms:
Chopping Off Dragon Platform, Chuyang Platform and Book Presenting
Shennong Stream – Lesser Three Gorges
Shennong Stream is a natural area in north Badong County. A drive by car
will take China travellers 3 kilometres above sea level to this gorgeous scenic
spot. Here, China tours are surrounded by mysterious and breathtaking sights,
including golden-hair monkeys, mandarin ducks and hanging coffins. China
travellers can enjoy the serene experience of a sampan ride through this
Xiling Gorge, the last of the Three Gorges, starts at the western tip of Xiangxi Stream in Zigui and goes to Nanjin pass in the east, about 75 kilometres. In the middle, China travellers will see Miaonankuangu, where the Three Gorges Dam is built on Zhongbao Island. At the western section, China tours will see the Military Book and Treasury Sword Gorge, and the Ox Liver and Horse Lung Gorge. To the east, you’ll see Light Shadow Gorge and the Yellow Ox Gorge. Historically, Xiling Gorge is known as a strategically important location, as well as a place of dangerous shoals.
The Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Key Water Conservancy Project on the Yangtze River
includes a concrete gravity dam, a sluice gate and a hydro power station
behind the dam. For vessels on the river, it includes a permanent navigation
ship lock and a ship lift. The dam is over 3 kilometres long, and 185 metres
high. The banks feature 26 water generators. Each water turbo generator
has an installed capacity of 700,000 kW, totaling 18.2 million kW. The
hydro power station generates up to 84.7 billion kWh of electricity per year.
The navigation structures on the left bank include the five-class stair ship
lock and a single-line first-class ship lift.
Wanxian is a small mountain town high on the banks of Yangtze River,
reachable by a long flight of steps. Merchants in the crammed market stalls
offer local fruit, nuts, basket ware and other specialties. Most cruises through
the Three Gorges anchor here for the night.