Yangtze River Cruise

Chongqing Travel Blog

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A view of Xiling Gorge

People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Juliana (Russia), Martin (Poland)

Deciding their was little to see in Chonqing, we went to a travel agent to book our Yangzi River boat cruise for the same evening. We were surprised at the prices as they were half of what Lonely Planet had quoted, and we were told access to all areas was included, with an additional 2Y per visit to the upper deck, no big issue really. Having the tickets sorted, we set out for a quick look around the city and to do some food shopping.

We headed for our boat around 7pm and tried to get settled into our 4 bed cabin. There was another Polish guy called Martin in there, and the 3 of us were immediately accosted by a saleswoman/guide, who dragged us up to the top deck. She then told us that for an extra 10% of our ticket price, we could have access to the bar and top deck.

Mini Three Gorges
We explained that this was never mentioned and were then told that if we didn't buy the ticket immediately, we would miss out, as there were only a few left. The hard sales pitch doesn't really work on a salesman, so i told her to go jump. Afterall, there was a viewing deck on the second floor and we were more than happy to buy beer at the numerous stops (obviously much cheaper too) along the way. Essentially they shot themselves in the foot!

They were less hasty however, to come to our room to check out the tap that wouldn't stop running. Eventually we were offered another room, but as the hot water and steam was heating our otherwise freezing cabin, we decided to take this as a positive and stayed put! It turns out we were quite lucky to have any hot water, let alone constant, as most of the cabins including first class had none! No doubt we were using the entire ships supply :)

The boat set off around 11pm and we sailed overnight to the first of the 3 Gorges.

Three Gorges Dam
Supposedly we stopped around 7am for people to see the 'abode of ghosts' but nobody woke us. We were told afterwards, it wasn't worth the money, so once more our so called 'guide/saleswoman' screwed up! The first gorge, Qutang Gorge, was most impressive for its steep gradients, which rose from a narrow opening. Unfortuanely the gorge only stretches 9km and soon it was time to disappear back to our cabin from the bitterly cold viewing deck. That evening we stopped at the Zhangfei Temple, which looked like a Disneyland attraction, lit with lights, penetrating the dark night sky. Once again, our 'guide' was nowhere to be seen. We had a walk around, but with no English translation or information, the site was kind of lost on us.

Day 3 was the most impressive by far, as we stopped off in Wushan to take a smaller boat, to visit the Three Little Gorges.

Hi tech police station
These gorges towered above the small boats and really gave a feel for the size of them and it was also really impressive how narrow they were. The trip lasted around 5 hours and was concluded by a Chinese tour guide singing some song, which the other passengers recognised. Fortunately this didn't lead to a bout of karaoke! That evening, Julia, Martin and I went into Wushan, where we witnessed a large portion of the city participating in mass aerobics in the town square, quite a sight! A bit of food and a couple of beers and we headed back to the boat and our beds.

The final day began passing through Wu Gorge, which was a lot wider than the other Gorges we passed through and other than a couple of kilometres that were quite pretty, i wasn't particularly impressed. We stopped at another expensive temple, which we decided not to visit, as we must have seen a zillion Chinese temples.

Me on the boat going to the mini Three Gorges
We were pleased with our decision as people returned to the boat, far from enthused. The final stretch saw us pass through Xiling Gorge, which had a wonderful entrance, but after having spent 4 days viewing gorges and also having been to Tiger Leaping Gorge, it was kind of hard to get excited about!

The final destination was the Three Gorges Dam and then on to Yichang supposedly, but 1 hour from the dam, we were told the boat would terminate at the dam, where we had to get a bus. The whole trip we had looked forward to passing through the locks and as a final blow, this was taken from us.

Chinese flag blowing down Qutang Gorge
As we hadn't been informed of this, we hadn't bought the tour tickets to the dam, so were told that we had to board the bus straight to Yichang. We got a glimpse of the dam from the bus window, which was ok for me. To be honest, i wasn't too surprised, as the tour had clearly been organised by an untrained pack of monkeys, from what i could tell!

I thought the trip was pleasant, but i was left a little disappointed and uninspired by the scenery. Maybe i had expected too much and maybe the lack of any guidance throughout the trip had soured my opinion. Possibly in another country i would have been more gob smacked, but China's wealth of natural beauty had made me greedy for something more!

Deats says:
And i think they were due to rise even more! So sad :(
Posted on: May 29, 2008
bluemarbletreader says:
Wow, I can tell just from your photos that the water level has risen hundreds of feet already from when I saw it in 1993. The gorges were most impressive then....
Posted on: May 28, 2008
Deats says:
I was pretty disappointed with this whole trip, from Chongqing right through to Yichang - other than the mini 3 gorges - the rest was average at best
Posted on: May 04, 2008
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A view of Xiling Gorge
A view of Xiling Gorge
Mini Three Gorges
Mini Three Gorges
Three Gorges Dam
Three Gorges Dam
Hi tech police station
Hi tech police station
Me on the boat going to the mini T…
Me on the boat going to the mini …
Chinese flag blowing down Qutang G…
Chinese flag blowing down Qutang …
A view from Zhangfei temple
A view from Zhangfei temple
Zhangfei temple
Zhangfei temple
Glitzy lights of Zhangfei temple
Glitzy lights of Zhangfei temple
Wu Gorge
Wu Gorge
Wu Gorge
Wu Gorge
Me going down Wu Gorge
Me going down Wu Gorge
The start of the mini Three Gorges
The start of the mini Three Gorges
Just before entering the mini Thre…
Just before entering the mini Thr…
Chinese flag blowing down Qutang G…
Chinese flag blowing down Qutang …
The mini Three Gorges
The mini Three Gorges
The mini Three Gorges
The mini Three Gorges
The mini Three Gorges
The mini Three Gorges
The mini Three Gorges
The mini Three Gorges
Cruising down the mini Three Gorges
Cruising down the mini Three Gorges
Playing some music down the mini T…
Playing some music down the mini …
A view down Qutang Gorge
A view down Qutang Gorge
A bridge spanning the river near W…
A bridge spanning the river near …
A view down Xiling Gorge
A view down Xiling Gorge
The 3 Gorges Dam
The 3 Gorges Dam
A bridge near the 3 Gorges Dam
A bridge near the 3 Gorges Dam
Chongqing
photo by: FK27