Yangtze River is the world’s longest river that stretches about 6,300 km. The source of Yangtze River is located at Tibetan areas and the main stream can be divided into three main sections: uppers reaches, middle reaches and lower reaches.
There are several cruising routes available but since I had bought a flight ticket from Chengdu to Chongqing, I opted for the 5 days 4 nights Yangtze River Cruise from Yichang to Chongqing (the upper reaches) to avoid the Golden Week’s total madness.
Golden Week is the China National Holiday that spans for 7 days starting from 1st October. Do avoid it at all costs if you do not want to be stuck in a traffic jam or to be in a sea of people with short supply of train tickets and hotel rooms.
Yangtze River Cruise – 华夏神女2
This is the cruise that I booked from http://www.ctrip.com/ for MYR 1, 500 per person.
CTrip is a legitimate online travel website that allows you to book almost everything from accommodation to transportation to packaged tours with much cheaper price and 24/7 customer service. Do pay attention to the differences in pricing as the English translated website seems to be slightly expensive than the Mandarin website.
Overall, I would give this cruise a ratings 6 out of 10 as it is pretty decent for the price:
Food: Awesome! The buffet spread has different menus every day with vast varieties.
Room: Superb! The room is spacious with own balcony. And, they provide you with toilet amenities, welcoming fruit platter and a very comfy pair of slippers. What else you could ask for? A shower tub and WiFi access? Maybe.
Amenities: It could get pretty boring for a 5 days 4 nights cruise as there are not many amenities and programs offered onboard. They do have cinema, mahjong room and karaoke room but those come with extra charges. Gym is free but you can totally forget about it – the equipment sucks. The sun deck is awesome though!
See & Do
Cruise route from Yichang to Chongqing is endowed with rich natural scenery and cultural relics, but the excursions are vary for each Yangtze River Cruise.
Below are the typical destinations enlisted in most of the Yangtze River Cruise’s itinerary. The cruise package is usually inclusive of three standard excursions with optional excursions at additional costs.
For our cruise, the itinerary is as below:
|Three Gorges Dam||Yangtze River Cruise, China (Oct 2015) – Three Gorges Dam|
|Three Gorges||Yangtze River Cruise, China (Oct 2015) – Three Gorges|
|ShiBaoZhai Pagoda||Yangtze River Cruise, China (Oct 2015) – ShiBaoZhai Pagoda|
|Optional Excursions (280 yuan each)|
|Three Gorges Scenic Area||Yangtze River Cruise, China (Oct 2015) – Three Gorges Scenic Area|
|Smaller Three Gorges /
Lesser Three Gorges
Right next to Qutang Gorge, Smaller Three Gorges is said to be the resplendent pearl of the Three Gorges. A change to smaller vessel will be required to sail through the narrower region.
Having had the similar view of emerald green water and cliffs for 5 days 4 nights, I decided to rest on the cruise instead.
|Fengdu Ghost City||
If you would like to get to know about the beliefs of Confucianism, Taosim and Buddhism, then this is the place to go.
The city consists of large complex of shrines, paintings and ghost statues related to the afterlife.
The giant face called “The Ghost King” is the iconic representation of Fengdu Ghost City and it holds a Guinness World Records as the biggest sculpture carved on a rock.
|White Emperor City||
Surrounded by water and mountains, White Emperor City is situated at the entrance of Qutang Gorge and offers you the majestic view of Kui Gate (western tip of Qutang Gorge), which you can find on the 10 RMB China’s bank note. If you are a history fans, then this place has a lot to reward you with:
i.Tou Gu Tang (托孤堂)
This hall depicts the infamous scene in the Three Kingdoms Period, where the first emperor of the Shu Kingdom, Liu Bei became ill and entrusted his son to his prime minister, Zhu Ge Liang at the White Emperor City after losing a battle with Wu Kingdom.
ii. Ming Liang Palace (明良殿)
This temple was originally built by the people to commemorate the reign of Gong Sun Shu who was the founder of White Emperor City.
Gong Sun Shu was a warlord of Xin and early Han dynasty who controlled the region of modern day Sichuan for 12 years of peace and harmony.
During the Ming dynasty, statue of Gong Sun Shu was then replaced with the heroes of Shu Kingdom during the Three Kingdoms Period – Liu Bei, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and Zhu Ge Liang.
iii. Observing Stars Pavilion (观星亭)
This is the place where Zhu Ge Liang, the infamous war strategist in China’s history observing the stars and made accurate weather forecasts that helped him plan his victorious battle.
iv. Stale Forest (碑林)
Stale Forest showcases cultural relics from past dynasties like ancient suspended coffins, painting and calligraphy works.
|Not in the Itinerary|
Some cruise provides special excursion to Shennong Stream for a drifting experience that is still manually maneuvered by the local Tujia ethnic called the “boat tracker”.
These boat trackers are needed when the waters get more shallow as the boat goes further upstream. The boat trackers would then have to get out from the boat and start pulling the boat upstream using a long rope made of braided bamboo strips. In the past, the boat trackers would actually strip naked as their native customs got really heavy when wet.
Since this is quite similar to the drafting experience at Nine Bend Brook of Mount Wuyi, I decided to opt this one out.