Sichuan & Hubei Provinces


Global Mark : 11.71    Position  : 37 / 60

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 


4 5 1 4 2 2 1 1



Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend Range AVER.
17 76%  (13) 35%  (6) 82%  (14) 8 to 18 13.65

Description :
A river cruise on a boat with 800 Chinese tourists along the mythic river, with various stops in more or less interesting spots...

Comments : Not exactly a relaxing cruise as the Chinese tourists are massively touring the area before it is submerged but certainly a very interesting one, if only to see how the Chinese behave on holiday.

What to do : Fight your way with your ticket in hands / Make friends with your traveling companions / Like them, start washing your clothes / Rest on your bed, looking at the scenery from the small window, between the underwear / Try to distinguish another foreigner among the 800 Chinese / At each stop of the boat, follow the crowd up to the ticket office of the attraction and watch the Chinese spend their money / Visit the outside area while waiting for their return : at least a relaxing experience ! / One notable exception is for the visit of the three little Gorges : buy your ticket (Y80) and embark on a small boat for a four to five hours tour / When passing the Three Gorges (Sanxia), join the Chinese at the front of the boat  for more fun / 

What you may not like :  The luxury cabins / The great food on board / The superb toilets & shower / The quiet passengers / The interesting programs on TV /  The cheap entrance fees to the attractions / More seriously : Being crushed by the crowd / Getting real bored on the boat / Having no place to move around as the boat is sometimes overcrowded by 5th class passengers / All the rubbish thrown into the water by the Chinese tourists : shocking and disgusting ! (or the reverse) / Not being alone to visit the small three gorges / Not being rich to travel first class or on your own boat / The huge dam project which will increase the water level by 175 meters and submerge some of the sights, including the three little gorges by the year 2009 

How long ? Depending where you wish to get off, from 2 days to one week. Be advised that the scenery is really worth staying on the boat up to Yichang only.

Backpacker's Tips : Anonymous (Oct 01)
Plenty of touts with boat tickets will welcome you at Chongqing. It is rare for the boats to be full, except maybe during the local holidays. Get to the pier and buy your ticket there.

Backpacker's Tips : Walker, Australia (Oct 00)
I strongly suggest doing the leg from Chongqing to Yichang, not all the way to Wuhan. The leg from Yichang to Wuhan is flat, boring and longer than what you are told. This way you get to see the spectacular three gorges and save yourself a long day.

 << Discover a special cruise...

What class ?

If you buy your ticket in Chongqing, you can see the photos of the cabins outside the booking office. Unfortunately, your choice will be limited to the two tourists boats leaving in the evening (at 18 & 20pm)

  • 1st class : 1 to 2 people in a luxury cabin with bath, TV and air cond

  • 2nd class : 3 to 4 peoples on 2 levels with bath or washbasin and TV

  • 3rd class : 6 to 8 peoples on 2 levels with TV

  • 4th class : 8 to 12 peoples on 2 levels with TV

  • 5th class : a lot of people (usually more than 20) on 2 levels. This class is not recommended.

How much ?

The followings are the official rates for "normal" chinese tourists boat. Luxury cruises for foreigners are also available. Prices will however not fit in the table...

Prices varies if you have an upper bed (up) or a bottom bed (down)



1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
  na up down up down up down up down
Yichang 928 464 347 218 146 155 106 104 83
Wuhan 1368 684 538 320 225 229 162 151 126
Nanjing 1774 918 776 427 312 294 222 198 173
Shanghai 1968 1029 885 478 372 337 263 227 204

Note : upstream from Shanghai, downstream from Chengdu / Mr. Chan in Leshan claims to be able to get you a first class ticket for the price of a second class... 

What to do once in Yichang ?   

Yichang is where the Three Gorges Dam is being constructed and it is possible to take a minibus from nearby the train station to the site.  It is also possible to visit caves, also from the train station.

Arriving in the evening, most of the travelers however take a bus directly from the Pier to Wuhan, where they should arrive very early in the morning.