Floating over the longest river in China, laying on the bed and looking out the window on the beautiful landscape of the three gorges with a relaxing tranquillity of the water. In despite to our budget travelling we did a three-day-cruise on a deluxe ship through the gorges of the Yangtze.
After four days in Chengdu we took the train in the morning to Chongqing. We expected a bit smaller city (maybe finally) but then we found out it was actually the most-populated city in China with more than 30 million people. That’s why it was soo fun (not!) to find the way from the north train station to the harbour. After asking the people at the station what didn’t bring us further because no one speaks English nor know anything about the transport – sorry but my “Baidu maps” app knows more in this case – we took the metro which took us over a big bridge to the station near the harbour. Nice view over all the skyscrapers. After a little walk through hundreds of people and a crazy street food market (what we already should be used to), we found our port and ship “Victoria Cruise”.
We had a very comfortable room with balcony and view on the river and a nice bathroom what we really appreciate after two weeks in China. In addition we had nice breakfast, lunch and dinner every day sitting with some Korean bankers at the table. Otherwise the ship was not too crowded because it is not the season anymore and in general it was not a huge boat like AIDA or something, so we could relax and calm down from the big city life. There was a big group of Italian seniors and the rest Chinese – so no real party life going on haha.
The first stop was Feng Du, the Ghost city because it got flooded in 2007 as the dam was built and there are lots of Buddhism temples so the people think the ghosts live there now. In the afternoon we visited the red pagoda in Shibaozhai which is a 12 story high religious building on an island. A beautiful bridge leads to it. In the evening we had a show Chinese style. I have to say that Chinese people are not really party animals so it is no comparison to the shows I have seen on the ferries to Russia or Sweden but it was a nice evening.
The ship had a fitness room as well which I used twice because it is quite hard to stay fit while travelling. Of course I do a lot walking and hiking but I don’t often find the time to do my exercises. The next day we did a trip to Goddess stream which is a little arm of the big Yangtze River with beautiful nature and steep cliffs. We were lucky because the sun was shining – finally! The other days it was quite cloudy and we could not see so much.
On the boat we met a friendly and crazy Chinese family who lives in Singapore. The daughter was very talented in piano so we enjoyed her music this evening. At dinner they offered us some Chinese rice wine – you cannot compare it with wine! It is as hard as vodka! We didn’t expect to find some Chinese party animals hehe 😉 Hope to see them in Singapore again. In the night we crossed the Three Gorges Dam and our ship was shifted down about 20 meters.
The next day we visited this main attraction on Yangzte river. It is the biggest and longest dam and the largest hydro-electric power station in the world, built from 1993 to 2007 to protect this region from flood and gain energy out of the water activity. Unfortunately it was cloudy and foggy so we couldn’t see so much but anyway it was very interesting.
Then we already had to depart from the boat which was a bit sad because we really enjoyed the scenery and marvelous landscape with all the rocks around you shipping slowly through the water. The luxury and 330 Euro we paid for these four days was absolutely worth it! After our arrival in Yichang – only three million people! That’s like a village in China – we took the overnight train to Zhangjiajie. Unfortunately the last train was at 1pm, the time we arrived by boat so we had to wait until midnight and arrived already 6 a.m. A bit heavy journey but no other chance 😉 Near this town there is a beautiful national park with awesome rocks also called the “Avatar Mountains” – the movie was filmed there! More in the next article!