The Yangtze river in China is the third longest river in the world, so big it comprises such varied landscapes as glaciers, rainforests, cities and sea. It even flows by one of the world’s most hauntingly beautiful places – a ghost town. The best way to experience its full majesty is on a Yangtze River cruise, which, if you’re lucky, will stop off at these amazing destinations.
Many Yangtze cruises begin their expedition here, at the ‘Fog City’, which is also known as the ‘Mountain City’ and, in the summer, the ‘Furnace City’. So that’s pretty much the climate covered. Both a rustic town full of authentic back-streets and a booming, skyscraping metropolis, Chongqing is a dazzling way to start your journey and prepare you for everything that lies ahead.
Fengdu ‘Ghost City’
This really has to be at the top of destinations to demand from your Yangtze river cruise. Thankfully, many tour operators know this and will most likely stop off at this remarkable sight, a city modeled on an ancient conception of the afterlife. With beautifully maintained old buildings and places named things like Helplessness Bridge, this 2,000-year-old site is both eerie and thought-provoking. Perhaps most remarkable is the 452-foot-high statue of the Ghost King carved into the side of a mountain, making it China’s answer to Mount Rushmore.
The Yangtze River has three gorges so dramatic they’ve been awarded an AAAAA rating by the Chinese tourist board. How scenic does this make the three gorges? It’s the highest mark, so very scenic indeed. Often, Yangtze cruise operators will transfer you from your cruise to a local longboat (sangpan) to feel the full vastness of your surroundings.
Three Gorges Dam Project
Astaple of many Yangtze river cruises, the Three Gorges Dam is the most ambitious building project since the Great Wall over 2,000 years ago. The giant hydroelectric dam is designed to produce power for the booming economy, prevent flooding and enable a greater shipping capacity. But the dam is one of the most controversial topics in recent Chinese history since it was narrowly approved in 1992, as it will submerge 13 cities and result in millions of people being displaced.