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I was in 重庆市Chongqing City in the August of 2001.   From its port I took a cruise down to 宜昌市Yichang City where I made a right turn north toward 武当山Wudang Shan (Wudang Mountains).   The river is 长江Changjiang (literally, the Long River), also known as 扬子江Yangzi (still known in the non-Chinese world by its archaic transliterations: Yangtze or Yangtse River), and through it my boat passed the legendary 三峡Three Gorges (created when the river cuts through the Wushan mountains) as well as up through the locks of the gigantic 三峡大坝Three Gorges Dam.

Changjiang is the longest river in Asia, and the third longest in the world.   It is also the heaviest and the deepest with over 1000 lakes and 700 tributaries along its more than 6000km length.   From its 5000m high origin in the 昆仑山Kunlun Mountains of 青海Qinghai its torrential water drops eastward to less than 1000 meters, and finally disappears at the coast of 上海Shanghai.   Close to 400 million people, and probably its equivalent in plants and animals, depend on the river for their livelihood.   While the 黄河Huanghe (Yellow River) claims to be the "cradle of Chinese Civilization", Changjiang can claim home to some of the oldest humans in the evolution chain. This unique river is a world by itself.

My Yangzi cruise to Yichang took about 2 days and a night.   But not being a tourist boat, it did not maximize its time to be around the best scenic spots; so that I was asleep when it passed much of the Gorges and through the locks.   But through an off-boat tour arranged on the boat, I was able to enjoy the beautiful gorges of the smaller rivers and streams, and the lively locals.   Historically, the river has been an important transportation artery linking the interior with the coast; through this function the river gather a rich cultural history. Of interest to this page is the area between 重庆市Chongqing City and 宜昌市Yichang City. Along the way are many historical artifacts and structures (such as the 张飞庙ZhangFei Temple that I visited) which reminded us of historical events (such as the famous 赤壁战Battle of the Red Cliff (year 208) which is one of the major events that conveniently ended the 400 year long 汉朝Han Dynasty (202BCE - 220AD) a little later and set the stage for the 三国Three Kingdoms Era (222 - 280)) that this burdened river had played a part.

    长江地图:重庆市到宜昌市Map of Yangzi River: Chongqing City to Yichang City

  1. 重庆市Chongqing City
  2. 丰都Fengdu
  3. 云阳Yunyang
  4. 张飞庙Zhangfei Temple
  5. 奉节 (白帝城)Fengjie (Baidicheng)
  6. 瞿塘峡Qutang Gorge (red bracket)
  7. 大宁河小三峡Daning River's Little Three Gorges (orange bracket)
  8. 大昌Dachang
  9. 巫山Wushan
  10. 巫峡Wu Gorge (green bracket)
  11. 巴东Badong
  12. 秭归Bigui
  13. 三斗坪Sandouping
  14. 西陵峡Xiling Gorge (blue bracket)
  15. 宜昌市Yichang City

NEW -- July 21, 2010

The beautiful city of Suzhou crisscrossed with narrow water canals

Category: 长江Changjiang

长江三峡图片Changjiang's (Yangzi River) Three Gorges Pictures

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  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area

    A boat family sailing close to the shore of the Little Three Gorges.

  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area

    In the river areas, transportation by boat is still quicker and more efficient.

  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area
  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area

    Tourist observing from the ship's deck on the Yangzi river.

  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area

    Corn is the main crop in this area. These corns are served boiled or, mostly, roasted over coal. The corns are especially large and meaty.

  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area

    A headshot of a local man taken from the window of a bus.

  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area
  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area
  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area

    One of the two boat man on my boat. They treat you like royalty if you give cigarettes, especially foreign brands such as Marlboro Lights.

  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area

    The Little Gorges river is shallow, and the current can be rapid. The long bamboo stick is use to maneuver the boat ahead of time.

  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area
  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area

    She has a basket of stones that she collected on the shore. The stones have various textures, shapes, and color patterns. She sells them to tourists. Those with unusual color patterns demand the most.

  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area

    A mother and son among tourists near a pier.

  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area

    Photographed through the bus window while shuttling from the Changjiang river to the Daning River, where the Little Three Gorges are found.

  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area

    A woman picking stones by the shore.

  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area
  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area
  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area

    A mother and three daughters selling on one of the tourist paths to the Three Little Gorges.

  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area

    Three girls walking dangerously along the river bank.

  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area

    A group of locals ruxhing to the tourist scene to sell stones and food.

  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area
  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area
  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area

    A family of three in a corn field by the shore.

  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area
  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area
  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area
  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area

    A woman, with her basket, is walking briskly on the long gravel riverbank. She is spending her day finding worthwhile stones to sell to tourists.

  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area
  • Picture of 长江 Yangzi River Area
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image of Tiananmen gateimage of the seventeen arch bridge in Yiheyuan

Walk through Beijing's great attractions -- 故宫Gugong (The Palace Museum), 天坛Tiantan (Temple of Heaven), 天坛天安门广场Tiananmen Square, 颐和园Yiheyuan (Summer Palace).

image of Wudangshan temple

The extraordinary temple complex in 湖北Hubei's legendary Daoist mountains - the source of much of China's famed 功夫Gongfu tradition.

clay figure of 钟馗 Zhong Kui

Arts and Crafts that I bought along my travels.

image of Pingyao streetimage of the main gate tower to the Chang family's compound and gardern

The compounds and manors of the extreme wealthy in 山西Shanxi's small towns and villages. See the old town of 平遥Pingyao with well-preserved Ming and Qing city wall and street layout.

image of people on a boat in the Three Gorges area of the Changjiang river area

See the 三峡Three Gorges of the 长江Changjiang (Yangzi River) between 重庆市Chongqing city and 宜昌Yichang.

image of Jiayuguan fort

嘉峪关Jiayuguan (Jiayu Pass) - the lone fort at the edges of the desolate and bare Gobi desert. It is at once both a timeless symbol of human's uncompromising reach and an otherworldly mirage.

My translations of some Chinese poems.

image of an old man looking toward Shanghai\'s 浦东 Pudong skylineShanghai\'s 浦东 Pudong skyline

上海Shanghai: Today, the financial center of China as well as one of its cultural centers. Fashion lovers, misfits, intelectuals, dreamers, refugees, outcasts, and outlaws alike rush to Shanghai for its haven and riches. You come to Shanghai not for any historical attractions, but rather for the city itself -- its interactions of all things good and bad that generate hot gossips.

Travelogues and travel notes.

trucks on the desert road

Pictures I took while on a bus traveling through the sandy deserts of 甘肃Gansu on my way to 嘉峪关Jiayuguan.

Travel Information

    长江三峡地图Map of Yangzi River's Three Gorges area

  1. 奉节 (白帝城)Fengjie (Baidicheng)
  2. 巫山Wushan
  3. 巴东Badong
  4. 秭归Bigui
  5. 三斗坪Sandouping
  6. 宜昌市Yichang City
  7. 瞿塘峡Qutang Gorge (red bracket)
  8. 巫峡Wu Gorge (green bracket)
  9. 西陵峡Xiling Gorge (blue bracket)
  10. 大昌Dachang
  11. 大宁河小三峡Daning River's Little Three Gorges (orange bracket)
Getting There:

重庆市Chongqing City is one of the major ports along the 长江Changjiang (Yangzi River) and this was my next stop after I left 成都市Chengdu city, and it was here that I took the boat up the Chang Jiang River.   There are a few ways to get boat tickets for your Yangzi (Yangtze or Yangtse) Cruise:

Click picture for large Map of the 巫山小三峡 (大宁小三峡)Little Three Gorges with place names
  1. You can get the ticket from your hotel, which is convenient but of course you pay more.
  2. You can get the ticket from travel agencies or reliable booking agents, such as CITS, who can put you together with other foreign tourists on higher quality luxury boats. On these big boats (which may be in the shape of a dragon), you can enjoy the spectacular sceneries in style.   Of course, you pay much more.   But if time is money and — more importantly — you wanted no surprises, this is the best option.
  3. Or, you can get the ticket directly from the boat ticket office at the 朝天门码头Chaotienmen Dock.

Chaotienmen Dock is located on the northeast of the city area, right at the confluence of the 嘉陵江Jialingjiang River and the Yangzi River.   The boat ticket office is nearby.   Inside the office were many boat companies.   They had different schedules and destinations. Some were cruises that focus on the 三峡Three Gorges areas; others (like the hydrofoils) head straight to their destinations.   Most boats, however, will stop somewhere before their destinations, to refill or refuel.   Large boats go to major ports along the long river — from 宜昌Yichang to 武汉Wuhan and all the way to 上海Shanghai. I had planned to stop at Yichang, so that I may go north to visit 诸葛亮Zhuge Liang's abode — 古隆中Gulongzhong — in 襄樊Xiangfan on my way to the 武当山Wudangshan mountains in 河北Hubei Province. I could take the bus there but I am tired of the buses and I wanted to see the Three Gorges.   I always wanted long trips on a boat so I planned well for this.   If you would like to see the colossal 三峡大坝Three Gorges Dam on land, you may take the bus from Yichang, which I did.

Boats dock on the 长江 Yangzi River Area
Boats dock on the banks of the Changjiang River.   Up the banks are the river towns that depend much on the great river.
From one of the companies I brought a 2nd class ticket (with 3 beds and 1 shower/bathroom) to Yichang.   It is a good idea to get at least a 2nd class ticket if you like to use the boat's deck to view the gorges.   Any class below that may give you trouble accessing the deck. You get what you pay for.   At noon, I checked out of my hotel, which is a walking distance from the dock.   I left my bags there and used the rest of the afternoon checking out other places.   At about 6pm I got on the boat.   The boat ride took 2 overnights and arrived at the third night.

My roomates were two party members from 广东省Guangdong Province. They were heading somewhere (not Yichang, further but I forgot where) for official duty of some sort.   They appeared very comfortable and knowing — appeared that traveling was something of a routine for them.   Since we are from the same province we spoke in Guandong dialect.   We spoke a while then someone came to exhange our tickets with tags (I think that was what happened.   At the time I did not keep a log of my travel.   Usually the ticket would be held, so that they know who will be getting off when and where.   They will come to back to you to reverse the exchange when the time comes.   It works like an alarm clock.   Great.   But do not lose the tag, of course.   Since tickets have no customer's name, I developed a habit of writing my name in the back. In case the ticket is misplaced or someone is caught taking it, at least I can identify it.   But I never had a single problem.   Soon another person came by to offer group tours of the nearby attractions and a cruise on the 小三峡Little Three Gorges (see map above: orange bracket indicates this scenic area).   The price was over my budget, so I declined.   But my roommates bought the tickets and convinced me later that get my own as well.   It was a good thing that I joined the tour since most of the interesting and dramatic scenes were from these smaller rivers — because the gorges are narrower, the cliffs are steeper, and the sight of locals made it more alive.

The boat docked near the attractions for hours at a time for the three days.   During those time, the tour guide took us through the river towns — for the other attractions which include 丰都 (鬼城)Fengdu (Abode of the Ghosts); 白帝城Baidicheng (White King Town, the place where 刘备Liu Bei, the dying King of 蜀汉Shu Han, one of the three states of 三国Three Kingdoms Era, made his final wishes); and 张飞庙Zhangfei Miao (Zhangfei was one of the era's legendary general under Liu Bei.   This temple was built to honor him.).   While you are in town, you may load up some food.   You may, of course, visit these areas on your own because they are just up on the banks, but getting to the 小三峡Little Three Gorges (orange bracket on the above map) on the 大宁河Daning River requires that you know where and be able to get the boat tickets.   If you decided to go on your own, bring all your belongings — in case you could not make it back on time, you can catch the next boat.

Recommended China Tours:

Yangtze River Cruises:Yangtze River cruise tours of private and China tour packages and small group with Beijing, Xian, Tibet, Shanghai, Guilin, Hong Kong and ship schedule information.