The Three Gorges
A couple view the scenery of the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River in Chongqing, southwest China, Dec. 4, 2010. (Xinhua/Wang Zhenkun)
The Three Gorges is considered as one of the most beautiful scenic spots in China. After holding up against the worst flood in a decade in July and the first major flood-control test by the Three Gorges Dam, the area has recovered its peace and tranquility. Touring down the Yangtze River is the most ideal way to enjoy all that the region has to offer.
Starting from Fengjie in Chongqing in the west and ending in Yichang, Hubei Province in the east, the Three Gorges stretches 193 kilometers with magnificent natural beauty.
Consisting of three gorges: the grand Qutang Gorge, the elegant Wuxia Gorge and the steep Xiling Gorge, the area also incorporates Fengdu, a city famous for its ghost culture, Baidicheng, a city known for ancient stories and the picturesque Little Three Gorges. Without a doubt, the best way to enjoy the majesty of the area is to take a ship along the river. There are many different options to choose from, with cruises starting at both Chongqing and Yichang.-
Setting sail from the dock of Fuling in Chongqing, I chose a four-day/ three-night option to explore the famous route. It was a very comfortable experience and without the seasickness that I had expected. Each private room has windows that present consistently beautiful views. As the ship slowly made its way down the river I found it easy to fall asleep with the light echoes of lapping river water against the side of the boat both soothing and calming.
The second day of my journey saw a stop at Fengdu for the afternoon to discover the mysterious city of ghosts. The area is known as an ancient place where all souls go to rest. Mingshan Mountain, the Ghost World, Gate of the Land of the Dead and the Memorial Arch of the City of the Ghost combine together to create an incredibly eerie atmosphere. All of the figures I had read about in ghostly stories of my childhood came to life and I felt them lurking at every corner. Mingshan Mountain was covered in a damp mist, adding to the atmosphere and its pavilions, temples, statues and inscriptions made me think that maybe there is a real world after death.