I love Yangtze River! You couldn’t expect anything else from a native Chongqing girl who had worked in a travel agency for few years. But my personal opinion and jokes aside, there is nothing surprising that along Beijing and Xi’an, Yangtze River is one of the most popular tourist traps in China. And if you are planning a romantic trip in China – you should give a serious consideration to including the Yangtze River cruise in your itinerary. Yangtze is the longest river in Asia and the third-longest in the world. It is also one of the top sceneries in China. Its most spectacular part is represented by a region locked between Chongqing and Yichang and usually referred as Three Gorges. With this part being just 193 kilometers in length, a standard cruise takes 4 days and 3 nights downstream. Upstream direction cruise (from Yichang to Chongqing) is one day longer.
Yangtze River cruise is suitable for all kinds of tourists: families, couples and singles. But if you want to go there with your sweetheart, there is one place which you must visit – the bridge of lovers in Fengdu Ghost City. It seems to be a very ordinary and small stone bridge. But people believe that if a couple of lovers cross this bridge hand in hand (without stumbling) – they will be together not only in this life but also in all future reincarnations. Another choice to make awaits you on the way back. At some spot you have to choose between two little bridges to proceed further. Each of them has a blessing connected to it. One stands for wealth, the other for health. Guess which of them people choose most often? The answer is in the end of the post ;-) Fengdu is the first on-shore excursion. And you will have two or three more along the route. But the most anticipated part of the cruise are the Three Gorges. These are sections of the river where its banks steeply raise out of water forming a beautiful landscape. One friend of mine described it as gothic as he compared the rocks and cliffs to buildings of gothic style. Well… Chinese have different associations: we see Buddha and dragons. The highlight of this cruise is visiting one of the little Yangtze tributaries – the most popular being Shennong stream. In order to sightsee it tourists usually are transferred from the cruise ship to smaller boats. Moving between beautiful mountains in the boat and watching the landscape changing in front of your eyes after each river’s turn is a special experience. No wonder that these places hide many amazing stories and legends.
If you think that 4 days is not enough, you can opt for a longer cruise which ends not in Yichang, but in Shanghai. It lasts 7 days and 6 nights and boasts a very romantic spot in its itinerary – Huangshan Mountain. There you can find famous chains to which lovers hang special “love locks” (同心锁 tong xin suo) which can be bought from local street vendors. After hanging the locks they usually throw a key deep down the cliffs (although I would offer you not to litter the place and take the key with yourself ;-)). People believe that due to this ritual their love will last “as long as there is an Earth”. Curious enough I found recently that similar custom exists also in Spain and France. Currently I am writing a guidebook about romantic tours in China, where besides the description of places themselves I give some information regarding recommended companies, available transportation, accommodation etc. I don’t want to go into these details here and will only mention that for best experience you can take Victoria Cruises or President Cruises. Both of them provide the service of highest quality and some tourists wonder whether the number of stuff personnel onboard is bigger than that of passengers :-). By the way, if you haven’t yet voted for your favorite romantic place in China – cast your vote now. So what was your answer regarding the most popular bridge that people chose in Fengdu city – bridge of wealth or bridge of health? Well… to my surprise for vast majority of people it was the bridge of wealth. Different Crystal Tao