In early April, I got this chance to experience Yangtze River Cruise with our company’s arrangement.
On April 1st, I took the high speed train (1.5 hours) from Chengdu to Chongqing. It is a little late upon arrival at the railway station. It takes around half an hour from the railway station to the pier. Because Chaotianmen Pier is under construction, the taxi will stop at No. 9 Sub-pier and it only takes few minutes by walking to the No. 5 sub-pier to board Victoria Sophia.
This is the 2nd time I have been to Chongqing. It’s good to come again 2 years later. I recommend you to arrive earlier to see the beautiful night views and other interesting places, like Ciqikou Ancient Town, Three Gorges Museum, E’ling Park, etc.
When you get to the pier, the cruise staff will check your passport and provide you the ticket which will be used for boarding the ship. Before you check in, you will go through the security checks.
Victoria Sophia is an old ship which started to sail in 1994 and has been renovated in 2012. When you first saw this ship, you may not feel impressed. However, when you come to your room, it looks very delicate. It is small room but with everything you need. I like the balcony a lot where you could sit and enjoy the mountains along the river.
On April 2nd, our Yangtze River Cruise really starts. It starts with a nice breakfast. There are both Chinese and Western Food options which could satisfy most people’s favor.
After breakfast, you could choose to take the optional tour to Fengdu Ghost City. It is so called because of the legend which goes that about 1,700 years ago, two officials, Yin and Wang (the combination of their surnames means “Ghost King “) became Taoists here and eventually Immortals. Now with fantastic temples of underworld demons and gods, it shows the Chinese ghost culture and is a place for punishing the devil and awarding the good.
If you’re interested in the ghost history and story about China, this is definitely a good place to go. You will find the ghost culture of China is quite different from foreign countries.
After lunch, the ship keeps sailing. After a nap in the cabin, I sit at the balcony and enjoyed the natural view a lot. You will feel the spring wind on your face which is quite comfortable. It is just so relaxing, especially after long time work. You could also go to the top deck to watch the views.
In the later afternoon, we have arrived at Shibao Pagoda. Shibao Pagoda is one of a highlight along the Yangtze River cruise, and literally means Stone Treasure Fortress.
Before you get there, you will walk through a chain bridge which is quite interesting. But need to be careful since it is not stable with too many people on it.
The most interesting part is to climb the Shibao Pagoda. When you climb to the top, you could see very far. The stairs are very narrow in this Pagoda. There will be some nice story in this place too.
One story is about the Liumi Stone. It said Shibaozhai has a stone cave from which rice flows out. The rice that flows out is enough for the demand of the monks only. Later on, a greedy monk desires a bigger cave for more rice. So, he dug it wider. It turned out the rice flowed out no longer. It is true that greedy monk would end up with being hungry. This story tells us to be contended with what we have.
Another story is about the well at the top of the Pagoda. During the war time, people are forced to stay at the Pagoda. However, there isn’t anything to eat or drink. Someone find there is well which is connected with Yangtze River. In this way, they got the water and fish to support them for a long time. I couldn’t remember this story very well, but still think it is interesting. Now the well is sealed. But people still put some money in to pray for health and wealth.
After this trip, we come back to ship. Only few later, we enjoyed our dinner. As this is the first dinner we have on the ship, the captain of this ship will come to welcome everyone on the ship both in Chinese and English. The atmosphere is very harmonious.
In the evening, there will be some dance and singing shows performed by the staff on the ship. It is about some minority nationality dance which looks interesting.
On Day 3
Nice breakfast as before. We have joined the optional tour to Baidi Town (also called White Emperor Town). You could also know the Three Kingdoms’ culture.
During this tour, the highlight is the Kuimen where you could take the picture which is shown on the 10 Yuan.
In the afternoon, we have been to Shennv Stream which is definitely the highlight of this cruise. We have taken a small boat and drive for around 20 minutes to Shenv Stream. On the way, the tour guide will introduce you some local stories, like people need to find the herbs on the mountain with strings in the past. Though it is very dangerous, this is mainly way they earn the money.
Shennv Stream is a small tributary of the Yangtze, famous for its picturesque sceneries; When you take a sampan drifting along it which is without risk yet exhilarating and a challenge to battle with the nature, you will be attracted and surprised by its crystal clear stream flowing swiftly from north to south through deep gorges，steep ridges and peaks, thick vegetation and wild flowers, flying birds, plank road built along a cliff and ancient hanging coffins, the Minority people and their sweet love songs.
During this tour, the cruise will stop at some certain places with around 15 minutes. There you could watch someone singing folk song.
After that, we take the same boat back to the cruise. On the way, the scenery is quite enjoyable.
At night, there will also be some interesting shows performed by the staff on the ship, like magic show, dancing, singing and also playing games.
On Day 4
After check out, people will gather at the ship lobby. We need to change to another smaller ship which will go through the ship lift. This is indeed a special experience for us. The below picture is the smaller ship we took.
On the ship, there are 4 floors. You could sit at any floors except 4th floor. It’s better to get there earlier to find a good seat with better view. You could also pay extra fee to sit on 4th floor with better view.
It takes around 30 minutes to get to the ship lift. The waiting time is difficult to control since there are other ships too. During the waiting time, you could see the dam through the heavy fogs. This project looks amazing.
Around 2 hours later, it is our turn finally. It actually took only 8 minutes to get down. Everyone is exciting to take videos and photos.
After get off the ship, we drive to Tanziling to overlook the Three Gorges Dam site. Take the escalators to the top of Tanziling, you will see the Three Gorges Dam project better.
You could see how spectacular it is from the top of the Tanziling.
If you would like to know more about Tanziling, you must read this “Book”.
Our Yangtze River Cruise is about to end. We walked to the park to get on our bus to Yichang Three Gorges Tourist Center which takes around one and half hours. Upon our arrival, we took one taxi to the railway station directly. If you have more time, you could also consider to have a short stay tour in Yichang.
If you are interested in a full relaxation on Yangtze River Cruises, you can head to our Yangtze River Cruise Tour with different cruises for you choice. Feel free to select your favorite to explore the beauty of Yangtze River!
>> 4 Days Chongqing Essence Tour with Yangtze Cruise
>> 5 Days Yichang Culture Tour with Yangtze Cruise
>> 7 Days Shanghai & Yangtze Cruise Tour
Want to know more about the experienced travel expert Stephanie’s trip? You could just contact her directly or continue to read her travelogue.