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"Yangtze Explorer" Riverboat - Yangtze River Cruise  Downstream – 3 nights

 

 

 Tai Chi

 

 

 

 

DOWNSTREAM ITINERARY - 3 nights Chongqing to Yichang

Departs every Thursday from Mid March to end November

 

 

Day 1                            Chongqing

 

This evening you will board the Sanctuary M.S. Yangtze Explorer for your cruise to Yichang. After settling into your cabin, the ship will set sail on its downstream course through the Three Gorges region. The total length of this cruise is 660 kilometres and is considered by most Chinese to represent the single most scenic area in all of China.

 

The Yangtze Explorer is recommended above other vessels cruising the Yangzi River for many reasons, the main one being that with only 124 privileged guests on board, she carries fewer passengers than other similar sized vessels. With beautifully appointed cabins which all have their own balcony, you can be sure of a luxurious and relaxing cruise.

 

 

 

Day 2                   Fengdu/Wangzhou

 

 

Start your morning with traditional Chinese exercise and work up an appetite for the buffet breakfast. Learn from your certified Tai chi master and experience the soothing art form in the outdoor observation deck area or inside the Tang Theatre.

 

After breakfast, discover the authentic method to preparing tea in China. Understand the benefit from each type of tea, the equipment used in a tea appreciation ceremony, the procedure in producing the finest tea and finally tasting the product.

 

Afterwards it's time to learn to make dumplings. The chef will personally teach you the many secrets of the Chinese kitchen and show you the proper technique that is used in Chinese dumpling making.

 

After lunch join a shore excursion in either Fengdu or Wangzhou. Fengdu is a charming river village known as "Ghost City" and noted for its elaborate Daoist temple and bustling markets. During the Tang Dynasty, two princely families, the Yin (Hell) and Wang (King) were joined in marriage. They then became the Yinwang (King of Hell). Since that time, local residents of Fengdu have believed that the town is populated by ghosts.

 

Wanzhou provides a unique glimpse into one of China's remote communities. Mingle with the locals and see how school children receive their early education. Gain a deeper understanding of the impact of the Three Gorges Dam Project on the local farming families - the relocation process, their feelings upon being informed of the programme, compensation issues and their current livelihood.

 

 

Day 3        Qutang, Wu and Xiling Gorges/Shennong Stream

 

Early this morning your ship will enter the Qutang Gorge through the majestic Kui Men two imposing cliffs, which resemble a towering door into some otherworldly destination. Just 8 kilometres  in length, the Qutang Gorge is the narrowest stretch of the river on your cruise, only 150 meters at its widest point. The banks are guarded by sheer cliffs soaring 1,200 meters in height while the river water gushes forward channelled along by the great force built up at the Kui Men which marks the western extremity of the gorge.

 

Once the ship has cleared the Qutang Gorge it has now entered the treacherous course of the Gorges region, which, without question, is one of the most famous geographic sights in China. Countless painters, poets, travellers and scholars have taken up brush and pen to describe - through painting, poetry and prose - the wondrous nature of this most scenic of landscapes.

 

The Wu Gorge is noted for the sheer, looming appearance of the numerous peaks, which mark this portion of the river. The cliff faces rise so sharply that legend relates that the sun rarely penetrates to the river. The most famous of the peaks is the Shennu Peak (Goddess Peak), also called the "Observing the Clouds Peak", which is believed to represent the figure of the maiden Yao Ji, the 23rd daughter of the Queen Mother of the West. According to Chinese folklore, Yao Ji descended to earth when she was 18 and so loved the region of the Wu Gorge that she built a palace there. She also promised to guard travellers through the treacherous rapids and dangerous rock faces of the gorge by turning into the protective peak while her 12 handmaidens became the 12 sentinel peaks found throughout the gorge.

 

Once the ship has cleared the Wu Gorge it will arrive at Badong a thriving River port that lies near the confluence of the Yangtze and one of its tributaries, the Shennong Xi. Disembark here and board local longboats poled by Tujia boatmen, the traditional mariners of the great junks, which once plied the waters of the Yangzi. These junks pulled the great trading junks through the dangerous passages, which marked the upstream voyage to Chongqing.

 

Yangzi dusk         

 

The scenery here is unrivaled anywhere along the middle course of the River - crystalline waters, rich forest and towering rock formations - the original landscape little altered for thousands of years. It is also home to several species of endangered flora and fauna including the elusive Golden Hair Monkey and many varieties of medicinal plants.

 

Your longboat will travel for approximately two hours before beaching on a bend in the river and allowing you some time to explore the shore before returning to its confluence with the Yangtze. Return to the ship in time for lunch.

 

Continue your downstream passage where, this afternoon, the ship will begin its passage through the majestic Xiling Gorge. One of the most memorable passages in the Xiling Gorge is through the Yellow Ox Gorge (Huangniu Xia) where the river widens and sweeps under the Huangling Temple that stands amid groves of orange and pomelo trees.

 

Later in the evening, the ship will pass through the ship locks of the Three Gorges Dam Project and continue eastward to Yichang. The average passage time for a ship through this lock system takes approximately 3-4 hours and has become one of the highlights of the cruise itinerary.

 

 

Day 4         Yichang/ The Three Gorges Dam Project

 

Early this morning, you will disembark from the Yangtze Explorer for your shore excursion to the site of the Three Gorges Dam Project.

 

Dam 1

 

Arrive at the Three Gorges Dam Project site and embark on a tour of the area which will serve as a general introduction to the project site, which currently, is the world's largest engineering project.

 

The Three Gorges Dam Project was started in 1992 and was completed and operational by 2009. The dam is the largest dam on earth, generating 18,200 megawatts of hydroelectricity. It is 2 kilometres in length and 180 metres high with 26 generators that will generate enough clean energy to reduce China's reliance of highly polluting coal by up to 50 million tons annually.

Your excursion will end late morning.    

 

Please contact us for further information.

 

To view some personal holiday photographs taken on a similar itinerary, click on the link below.

https://picasaweb.google.com/outconcorde/TheYangtzeAndChongqingChina815Nov09#