Yangtse River Cruise
Yangtse River Cruise Chongqing Reviews
Interesting for a day...three and a half is a bit long! Aug 08, 2004
I cruised from Chongqing to Yichang for 3 nights on board what seems to have been a cruise boat for locals, not tourists! We were two of only 4 Westerners on board but at least we got an authentic Chinese experience.
We paid a bit more (but still not very much) for a 4 bed room...we didn't fancy the 16 bed dorm! They proved to be bunks crammed into a not really big enough room! So when we got on board, after picking up our tickets from a local travel agent we'd booked the trip with through the hostel in Xi'an, we bought some bottles of water from the riverside vendors, who desperately tried to sell you everything you could need for 3 nights on a boat. They also sold meal in Styrofoam boxes and tossed them on board to passengers! It was interesting to watch, especially as the boat started to pull away and one man didn't get his dinner...the Yangtse did! He sounded angry but the vendor just shrugged his shoulders!
Our room was still pretty small, but had fairly attractive wooden bunks, a dressing table, 2 chairs and an 'en suite' bathroom...which was a toilet with no lid, a sink and a wall mounted shower sans tray! So when you showered the water ran down a small drain hole at the foot of the toilet. Needless to say we showered with flip-flops on!
Our room mates turned out to be a Chinese man on his holiday...we called him Happy Harry, being utterly sarcastic of course! He looked terrified as he walked into the room - his luggage all of a carrier bag - to face us, with our backpacks taking up both chairs. He dumped his bag and scuttled off! Our other roomie seemed to be a tour guide we called Silly Sam. He stayed in the room one night and just popped in and out the others...most odd! They were fine though, and didn't cause us any problems.
The food on board was pretty good...I stuck to rice and noodles mostly because I felt ill but Laura said what she had was nice: not always very hot, but still warm anyway.
The ship's big plus was that it provided wake up calls in the early morning when we were about to go through the gorges. Unfortunately it was in the form of piped Chinese singing! I was an efficient alarm clock though!
The boat had sun decks and lots of seats, most of them in the sun because the Chinese avoid getting tanned, so I had my pick in which to catch some rays and read.
I've said in my title it was interesting for a day. What I mean by this is that each gorge looks pretty much the same - obviously the last is the biggest and you get onto the Little Three Gorges too, but a gorge is a gorge! I must sound rather unappreciative of the experience I had - that's not the case - perhaps because I felt so ill the whole time I felt things dragged, but I did enjoy it, I'm glad I did it, and I know other people who've done the trip think it's all quite drawn out.
Also the night we were supposed to pass through the locks at the Dam, we were taken to see the Dam and when we thought we were about to get back on, we were shepherded to a temple, where we stayed until after 1am! So we didn't get to see the boat going through the locks, which was a bit of a disappointment, and we were kept hanging about for ages too.
It was a great experience and I'm glad I got to do it before the Gorges are flooded in 2009 as well. It'd be interesting to see it after 2009 too - maybe some day I'll be back!
Part of the Teaching & Travelling in China, 2004 travel blog
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