Explore The Three Gorges On The Yangtze River

Explore The Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

We Headed To The Yangtze River

We started our cruise of the Yangtze River with Viking Cruises in the river city of Wuhan. Our first stop for a day trip was in Jingzhou. But then we hit the upper reaches to cruise the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River for two days. We passed through such beautiful scenery as we traversed the gorges.

We did first one dam and lock. And then we visited the massive Three Gorges Dam. Our nighttime transit through the locks was beautiful.

Three Gorges Dam - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

If you don’t cruise the Yangtze, make sure to visit and see the Three Gorges area.

The First Xilang Gorge

Some of the most lovely scenery we passed on the whole cruise portion of our trip in China was through the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River. The first Xilang Gorge we travelled was the biggest. It was nearly 50 miles long and much wider than the other gorges. The river was wide and a mud coloured when we started out. Over the days, it grew greener and clearer. It was a busy water route. Boats of all kinds and sizes moved up and down the river.

Xilang River Traffic - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Xilang River Traffic - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Xilang River Traffic - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

The scenery was very green and verdant. We saw the trees as they just started to turn colour. Interesting buildings showed up on the shore as we watched. Rock outcroppings stood out with the layers striated. We passed by small villages and local people on the water.

Xilang River Side - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Xilang River Side - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Xilang River Side - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

There was a river guide on the upper deck that narrated for us as we moved through the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River. We were told to watch for the section of the river where the pagodas covered the slopes of the rock.

Xilang Pagoda Town - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Xilang Pagoda Town - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Xilang Pagoda Town - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

We finally hit the small town of Sandouping. At this point, we left the ship to visit the Three Gorges Dam.

Cruising Through The Wu Gorge On The Second Day

After our visit to the Three Gorges Dam, our trip along the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River was not yet done. We had two more gorges left. The Wu Gorge is also know as the “Witches” Gorge. It was 25 miles long. The sides provided us with views of towering peaks. The mist was heavy first thing in the morning. It took a few hours for the mist to leave the upper reaches.

Wu Gorge Hills - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Wu Gorge Hills - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

As the day warmed, most of the mist disappeared. The hills flattened out just a little. And we could see terraced fields going up. Every now and then there were goats on the rocks.

Wu Gorge River Side - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Most of the towns we saw were smaller towns up in the hills. At one point we passed the much larger city of Wushan. We got our first glimpse through the red arched bridge that crossed the river. We saw that all of the towns were relatively new. And figured these were all the new settlements created for the displaced locals.

Wu Gorge Wushan City - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Wu Gorge Wushan City - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

It was fascinating to see how the gorges changed as we cruised along the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River.

Finishing Up On The Qutang Gorge

The smallest and narrowest of the gorges was the Qutang Gorge (or the Kui Gorge) at about 5 miles long. Huge rock faces towered above us as we slowly move through. Our cruise ship took up a good part of the channel.

Qutang Gorge - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

We spent much of our second day cruising through Three Gorges on the Yangtze River just watching the scenery go by. At times we sat on our balcony. At other times we went on the upper deck and listened to the local guide.

Qutang Gorge Rock - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Qutang Gorge River Side - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Qutang Gorge River Side - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

We enjoyed the last leg of the gorges as we cruised along the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River.

A Day Trip Through The Goddess Stream

Our excursion on the second day was a sampan trip up the Goddess Stream. It was possibly the most magical part of our cruise on the Yangtze River. We saw photos of this part of the gorge just bursting with red flowers. The flowers bloom in late October or November. At that time, it is also a little less wet. When we visited, there was just a little colour in the hills. But later in the fall would probably be the perfect time to plan a trip to explore the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River.

Goddess Stream Map - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

When we arrived at the dock, we tied up raft style with a ferry and another cruise ship and walked across the boats to get to shore. As we did the long walk to the sampans, we passed a large group of Chinese tourists coming the other way. Everyone shouted hello. We responded in Chinese. And once I was pulled aside so someone could take a selfie pic with me.

Goddess Stream Day Trip - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Goddess Stream Day Trip - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

The sampan trip up the Goddess Stream was a popular attraction for all tourists that travel the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River. Later in the trip, we cruised on the Li River outside of Guilin. The scenery in the two gorge areas were strikingly similar.

A Sampan Trip Up The Goddess Stream

There was a huge set of sampan boats that had just returned. We boarded the boats in groups of 20. There was a good-sized area inside that was covered. And a small back deck that took about 8 people comfortably. We settled in and off we went.

Goddess Stream Day Trip - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Goddess Stream Sampan Boat - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Our heads swivelled as we slowly went up the narrow channel. In most parts of the channel, the sampans vied for position or cruised two abreast. At the very end, the channel was so narrow and shallow, the boats had to go single file. Everyone turned around at this point and headed back. At one point there was a big traffic jam of boats. That is the kind of traffic jam I don’t mind!

Goddess Stream Sampan Boat - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Goddess Stream Sampan Boat - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Goddess Stream Sampan Boat - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Everywhere we looked we saw cliffs that towered above us. The main part of the channel was over 240 feet deep. We imagined that the rock faces under the water matched the rock above. The rock geek in me just kept snapping pics.

Goddess Stream Sampan Boat - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

Goddess Stream Sampan Boat - Three Gorges On The Yangtze River.jpg

It was truly a great trip along the Goddess Stream. It might have been nicer as a private tour rather than in a conga line of sampans. But it was still a great way to spend a few hours and get a little closer to the water.

Don’t Miss A Chance To Explore The Three Gorges On The Yangtze River

The Three Gorges on the Yangtze River was so much better than I expected it to be. It was the highlight of our cruise on the Yangtze River with Viking Cruises.  Cruising along in our ship, seeing the mighty dams and exploring in the small canals each added a great dimension.

If you are not doing a cruise on the Yangtze River, you can still visit the Three Gorges as a day trip. It is definitely worth a day trip. I am not sure if you can do the Three Gorges Dam and Goddess Stream excursion in the same day trip. If not, you may need to plan to stay in this area for a little longer to enjoy both treats.

We got lucky and had ok weather for our two days in the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River. But when we talked to people, it seemed that a bit later in the fall would be better than mid-September. Consider planning your visit just a little bit later.

Did you explore the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River? What was the highlight of your trip?

PIN To Pinterest:

explore the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River.jpg

explore the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River.jpg

About TravelAtWill 441 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!

20 Comments

  1. I’ve never done a river cruise in Asia – but this looks spot on – such a leisurely way to see Three Gorges on the Yangtze River. Fab pictures – and good you had a guide along the way

  2. Wow! These gorges are, well, gorgeous! I particularly love the pagodas along the river. They look impressive while hidden between the greeneries and rocks. The hills along Wu (or Witch) Gorge is stunning, and I can only imagine what wildlife lurks on them. The towering rock cliffs along The Goddess Stream are also a marvel. I don’t blame you for taking so many pictures. I would do the same. Geeks rule!

    • Thanks Fairuz ! Our guide had us all up on deck to see the pagodas! I am glad you enjoyed the views we were able to catch. So many pics! It was hard to sort them for the blog post. Linda

  3. Wow, those views are so green and lush… China has so many different landscapes, it’s quite fascinating. How was the food on the boat? Or did you get off the boat for meals?

    • Sab, I did not expect the great scenery was saw on the Yangtze cruise either. We had a lot of our meals on the boat. And the food was quite good. Check out the other blog on the full Yangtze cruise to see food pics 🙂 Linda

  4. I would love to go to China, the scenery is stunning! I love the pagodas peeping over the trees on the gorge banks, they are so beautiful. I’m not surprised this was the highlight of your cruise!

  5. Seeing the gorges from the river is a great idea. It looks like a wonderful vantage point to see the scenery and buildings. Having the guides to explain things is very useful too. There is something beautiful about the line of sampan boats floating along the river.

  6. The pagodas are definitely the highlight of this cruise. I love seeing pagodas as there is something mystical about them for me. I also love how welcoming the Chinese tourists are by saying hello. The travel will definitely become more memorable when you know that locals are friendly and welcoming.

  7. WOW! This is the first images of the Three Gorges I have seen of this area and I’m so shocked it isn’t spoken of more often, it’s absolutely gorgeous. The sampans ride through the channel looks equally amazing. I have destination envy!

  8. I love the little bastions on the outcrops of the Xilang river – they look precarious on the rock edge, but protective too. I laughed at your traffic jam on the Goddess Stream – one of the nicest traffic jams ever to be in I’m sure! I would love to take a Viking Cruise one day!

    • Hannah, I love when we come across traffic jams in out of the way places. Cows in the Azores. And now sampans on the river! The trip with Viking Cruises was a great way to see China! Linda

  9. Cruising on the Yangtze River would be quite the experience. Especially seeing the massive Three Gorges Dam, what a feat of engineering that is. The scenery look stunning, I could stare at those rock formations and temples all day. The Goddess Stream looks particularly neat, it’s so narrow! Those sampans sure get close to those rocky cliffs though. 😉

    • Claudia, It was so great to see the sights on the side of the river and then get close on the sampans. The Three Gorges Dam was quite a stunning feat to see. Glad you enjoyed our river trip review. Linda

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*