a VirtualTourist member from Paris
Hi, I'm planning to travel from Chongqing to Yichang by local passenger boat. I want to stop off at a couple of cities along the way, and also see the lesser gorges. Is this possible using local boats? Also have you any idea of the cost of a cabin. I'd appreciate any useful tips anyone may have : )
I paid US$125 for a double cabin. The cruise was fantastic and we had several stops and side trips. Fengdu was a nice stop. A lady with a small van offered to take us to the temple. That was good as she explained a bit and then picked us up as we walked through. The hell tunnel was interesting as the images were different than you would see in the states. The best was the stop the side trip up a tributary to ride in the rowed and pulled wooden boats. These men are the traditional rivermen. The cable to pull the boat was hand woven bamboo strips. Their feet were in grass sandals (I have a pair bought from a vendor hanging in my room now). We learned a river song in local dialect. There were two Laowai on the cruise ship and I was the only one in our boat. Loads of fun. The scenery was terrific. The rivermen griped a lot about being forced by the government to wear clothes because their nudity embarassed tourists, lol. They said the shirt and underwear most were wearing doesn't drip dry as easily when they are in and out of the river. Perhaps you can bring them some quick dry microfiber T-shirts and Thongs. Anyway the trip is great and not to be missed. Local ships as opposed to Cruises for foreigners have very poor food and little activity besides Chinese Karaoke. Don't worry about the food. There are things being sold at each stop you can bring on board and before you get on buy some instant noodle in Yichang. A photo guide with English available at the Yichang Hotels is very helpful.
I'm interested in doing the same thing ... a few questions for urban4est: How did you choose which boat you were taking? Did you find it before or after you got to Chongqing? Did you negotiate the price at all? And how long was the trip (most cruises there seem to be 3-4 days). Thanks!
The trip was supposed to be 4days and 4 nights but we apparently ended up ahead of schedule and did it in 3/3. One night our pilot anchored but then pulled out and we moved to another dock after a couple hours so we arrived in Chongqing at 5:00 a.m. rather than the afternoon. I confess, I cheated. My local friends in Ezhou ordered the tickets for me. This way I got the best deal. I would suggest talking to a travel agent in your hotel to make arrangements. We had 3 stops of a few hours that were very interesting. These were at Fengdu, really a ghost city now. And the best part was riding up stream with the river trackers. These are the rivermen who row and pull their wooden boats up the river. If you have time stopping to visit local areas would be great but make sure you have your tickets arranged right for it. It seemed few places were set up to have people visit over night from what I saw. The hotel gift shops in Yichang have English maps of the river showing the points of interest.