Yangtze River Cruise Tour with Wudang Mountains

10 Days Wuhan-Wudang Mountains-Yichang-Yangtze River Cruise-Chongqing

If you plan to travel to China, the Yangtze River is a must-visit attraction. The scenery along the river is fabulous, which will excite your nerves and bring you a visual feast. You can start your Yangtze River Cruise tour from Wuhan, a beautiful city. You can first climb Yellow Crane Tower and feel how ancient Chinese poets stood on it and versified their feelings. Then you can start your Yangtze River Cruise with Wudang Mountains. It’s the best place for you to learn about Chinese Taoism. You can also take some nice pictures and post them on your social media. When you are in Yichang, you can take the Yangtze River Cruise and appreciate the scenery while the rapid stream flows at a rapid speed among the steep mountains. If you favor human scenery and want to experience modern life, Chongqing is the top-one place. In your Yangtze River Cruise Yichang to Chongqing, you can go to the bars in Hongya Cave, have a drink, and socialize with others. It’s quite likely that you can make some new friends. Don’t hesitate and join us now. You are going to have a nice tour of China.

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Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Arrival in Wuhan
You will arrive in Wuhan and we will take you to the hotel for a good rest

Welcome to Wuhan, an enthusiastic city. As soon as you get off the plane, your tour guide will be waiting for you holding your name sign. You are going to visit Yellow Crane Tower. If you have any problems with the itinerary, don’t hesitate to ask him.

Day 2 WuhanWudang Mountains
Yellow Crane Tower, from Wuhan to Wudang Mountains by train

Now, it’s time to start your Yangtze River Cruise tour with Wudang Mountains. In the morning, you will head to Yellow Crane Tower. Yellow Crane Tower is at the top of Snake Mountain. Yellow Crane Tower is a landmark building in Wuhan, built in 223. It was rebuilt several times and now the standing building was rebuilt in 1985 modeling after the Tongzhi Tower of the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912). The main building of Yellow Crane Tower is octagonal, with four sides in the shape of a yellow crane. The whole building is supported by 72 columns with a height of 51.4 meters. The legend goes that the name of Yellow Crane Tower originated from an immortal who passed by this place with a yellow crane. Therefore, the tower was named Yellow Crane Tower. Another origin is that a Taoist priest drew a dancing yellow crane on the wall of a local wine shop and then the shop’s business was booming. A decade later, the priest came back and the crane became alive and came out of the wall. The priest took the crane flying away. The owner of the wine shop built Yellow Crane Tower in memory of the priest and his crane. You can stand at the top of the tower and look far away. You will have a full view of the great Yangtze River. I’m sure the scenery will amaze you.

Then, you will be transferred to the train station and take the estimated train D5783 14:37/17:25. Your next destination will be Wudang Mountains. In less than 3 hours, you will arrive at Wudang Mountains West Station. Upon your arrival, your tour guide will take you to the hotel prepared for you. You can unpack your luggage and have a nice sleep. Wudang Mountains are a holy land of Taoism, located northwest of Hubei Province. Wudang Mountains are regarded as the royal family’s temple in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Wudang martial arts originated from this place. At the turning of the Yuan (1271-1368) and Ming Dynasties, Taoist Zhang Sanfeng, originator of TaiChi, initiated Wudang Faction, spreading Taoism. Wudang Mountains have about 53 ancient architecture covering a total area of 200,000 square meters. You are going to spend the next two days visiting Wudang Mountains. Take your time and you will know more about Chinese Taoism.

 Yellow Crane Tower
 Yellow Crane Tower
Day 3 Wudang Mountains
Wudang Mountains, Yuxu Palace, Fuzhen Taoist Temple, Needle-Grinding Well, Nanyan Taoist Temple, Purple Cloud Palace

After breakfast, you will start your two-day Wudang Mountains tour. Your first stop today is Yuxu Palace. Located at the foot of South Mountain, Yuxu Palace is the largest one among the buildings on the Wudang Mountains. It was originally constructed in the Yongle years of the Ming Dynasty. Now the remaining buildings are two walls with a length of 1,036 meters, two pavilions, Parents Hall, Cloud Hall, and remains of East Gate, West Gate, and North Gate. Zhang Sanfeng, founder of Wudang martial arts used to make pills of immortality and cultivate vital energy (what Taoists strive for their whole life). He predicted that one day Wudang Faction will be thriving. Emperor Yongle, as expected, ordered the reconstruction of Yuxu Palace and Taoism, therefore, flourished.

Your next stop is Fuzhen Taoist Temple. Fuzhen Taoist Temple is located at a 60-degree slope on Lion Peak. There are about 200 halls covering an area of 16,000 square meters in this ancient building. In the 10th year of Yongle in the Ming Dynasty, Emperor Zhudi ordered to build this temple. The temple was rebuilt 3 times in the Qing Dynasty. As soon as you step into the temple, the Jiuqu Yellow River Wall will first catch your attention. It is a 71-meter-long red wall with smooth curve shaping built along the mountain. Taoists believe that anyone who donates clothes, scriptures, statues, and vegetarian food to Taoism temples will be blessed by deities. And the wall will test whether you are pious enough or not.

Next, you will go to Needle-Grinding Well. Needle-Grinding Well was built in a high position. The wall of this attraction paints the story of how a Taoist became immortal. When the Needle-Grinding Well was built is unknown. There is only a legend about why it was built. It is said that a prince was inspired by the founder of Taoism and went to Wudang Mountains to learn Taoism. However, he wasn’t determined and wanted to return home. Before he was going to leave, he saw an old lady grinding an iron rod by a well and she said she wanted to turn it into a needle. He was confused and didn’t believe she can make it. That old lady told him if you are firm enough, the iron rod will be turned into a needle. Therefore, the prince was suddenly enlightened and he came back to continue studying the Taoism and finally became immortal. Therefore, people called this well Needle-Grinding Well. If you come here, you will see the statue of an old lady grinding an iron rod in a pavilion. I’m sure you will have a better understanding of the Chinese saying “Constant grinding turns an iron rod into a needle” after visiting this place.

Your next destination is Nanyan Taoist Temple. Nanyan Taoist Temple faces south. It is the perfect combination of the human landscape and natural scenery. It is said that in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), one of the eight immortals, Lu Dongbin cultivated himself according to the Taoism doctrine and became immortal. In the Yuan Dynasty, Zhang Shouqing, a pious Taoist enlarged the building of the Nanyan Taoist Temple and helped spread Taoism. There is a stone statue 3 meters long and 0.05 meters wide sticking out from the cliff. It is said that if believers kneel on the stone and burn incense, the immortals will feel their sincerity. However, many people fell off from it because of its narrowness. Therefore, people were forbidden to do so in the Qing Dynasty by officials saying that God is merciful and won’t endanger your life to show your respect for him. This temple was built on a cliff. I hope you will not be frightened by its height.

Your last stop today is Purple Cloud Palace. It was built in the Ming Dynasty, located at the foot of Zhanqi Peak, the main peak of the Wudang Mountains. Purple Cloud Palace covers a total area of 274,000 square meters. It opened to the public as an important religious place in 1982. Purple Cloud Palace was built in 1121 and was expanded in 1275. The palace faces southeast with 29 buildings. You can see Dragon and Tiger Temple, tablet pavilion, Shifang Temple, and the Great Hall of Purple Cloud. The Dragon and Tiger Temple enshrines an immortal called Wang Lingguan who is the custodian of God. It is said that Wang Lingguan has three eyes and distinguishes between the bad and the good. He is selfless and fair. A pair of statues of White Tiger and Azure (the God in the East worshiped by the Taoists) stands beside the statue of Wang Lingguan. The statues were carved vividly and some people will be terrified by the sight of them.

 Purple Cloud Palace
 Wudang Mountain
Day 4 Wudang Mountains
Qiongtai Palace, Tianzhu Peak, Xiaoyao Valley

Today, you will continue to visit Wudang Mountains. Firstly, you will go to Qiongtai Palace. Qiongtai Palace is 10 kilometers away from Tianzhu Peak of Wudang Mountains. It has 24 Taoist Monasteries and hundreds of houses. The palaces were ruined in a war in 1856 and were rebuilt in the Guangxu years. The Taoist Monasteries are connected by pavilions so that even on rainy days, you will not wet your shoes. There is a Dome of Rock built in the Yuan Dynasty enshrining Black Tortoise (Black Tortoise, White Tiger, Azure Dragon, and Suzaku are four Gods in Chinese legends). And at an altitude of 1,450, there is a cave called Taixuan Cave where ancient hermits lived a very simple life alone and cultivated vital energy. Take a walk around the palace, and you will learn more about Chinese Taoism.

Then, you will go to Tianzhu Peak. Tianzhu Peak is also called Golden Peak because there is a Golden Hall at the top of it. Tianzhu Peak is the highest one in Wudang Mountains. Standing on it, you will be surrounded by other peaks, giving you a feeling of all the stars bending towards the moon. The Golden Hall at the top is the core building. The whole building is gold-plated, glittering in the sun. It is said that all the construction elements were built in Beijing and were moved to Tianzhu Peak to assemble. The Golden Hall is 5.54 meters high and 5.8 meters wide. Emperor Zhenwu (one of the immortals of Taoism) is enshrined and worshiped here. You will be surprised at the life-size sculpture if you see it in person.

Your last destination is Xiaoyao Valley. There are various kinds of animals in the valley, especially macaques. Therefore, Xiaoyao Valley is called Macaque Valley. The macaques here are quite naughty and smart. They will ask passersby for food. If lucky, you can take some pictures with these cute animals and feed them by yourself. Walking along the riverside and surrounded by mountains, you will feel like being a land of idyllic beauty and get away from the hustles and bustles of the world. It is where you can truly find your inner peace and relax. Take your time and have a stroll along the river, and you may find someone practicing Tai Chi. You can join them and have a moment of peace.

After a long day of the tour, your tour guide will accompany you to the hotel. You can take a shower and prepare yourself for tomorrow’s journey.

 Tianzhu Peak
 Tianzhu Peak
Day 5 Wudang MountainsYichang
From Wudang Mountains to Yichang by train

Today, you will leave Wudang Mountains for Yichang. After breakfast, you will be transferred to Shiyandong Railway Station. We will drive northwest for about 1 hour and 15 minutes to the station which is 54 kilometers away. And you will take the estimated train D5784 10:54/15:48 to Yichang.  

In the afternoon, upon your arrival, your tour guide will meet you outside the train station and accompany you to the tourist center. Then you will go to Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal and take the Shuttle bus to the wharf. Yichang is a beautiful city, located at the boundary of the upper reaches and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. It is the starting point of Three Gorges and where Three Gorges Dam and Gezhou Dam are located. Yichang is also home to many famous ancient people, such as Wang Zhaojun, one of the four beauties in Chinese history, Qu Yuan, a famous poet in the Warring States (340 BC-278BC), and Luozu, mother of Chinese nations. Yichang is also an important traffic hub of Wuhan Province. Yichang BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) began to operate in 2015. Yichang BRT has the longest lines, most stations, and state-of-the-art technologies. You will take the Yangtze River Cruise here and the scenery along the river will surprise you.

Day 6 Yangtze River Cruise
Tribe of the Three Gorges, Three Gorges Dam, Ship Lift, Captain’s Welcome Reception

While you are on the Yangtze River Cruise, you can either have a lazy morning or get up early and practice Tai Chi on deck. If you are interested in Tribe of the Three Gorges, you should pay the extra money and have a tour. Tribe of the Three Gorges are near the mountain and by the river and its scenery is picturesque. Tribe of the Three Gorges are located between Three Gorges Dam and Gezhou Dam covering an area of 14 square kilometers. You will see the sailboats flowing along the river and fishermen casting their nets into the river. Generations of fishermen live in the boat and make a living by fishing. Even with the modernization, some youngsters choose to stay in their hometown and catch fish for a living. Along the riverside, several houses are dotted among the mountains. Garlic, ears of corns, chilis, straw rain capes, and large bamboo rain hats are hung on the doorways of the stilted building (a traditional building in the south of China). In front of the building, several local girls are singing passionate love songs while washing clothes in the river. You will feel their simple and honest folkway and be fascinated by the way they live.

At noon, you will have a buffet lunch on the cruise while appreciating the scenery along the way. And after lunch, we will go ashore and visit the Three Gorges Dam. Three Gorges start from Chongqing with a length of 193 kilometers. Along the Yangtze River, you will see Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge, and Xiling Gorge. Three Gorges Dam is 3,335 meters long and 185 meters high with a total investment of 95.4 billion yuan. In 2018, the generating capacity of the Three Gorges Hydropower Station broke the record of 100 billion KWH. Three Gorges Dam has a significant impact on the environment and ecology and has improved the hydrological environment near the Yangtze River.

If you are interested in Ship Lift, you can experience it at your own expense. In 2016, the Ship Lift began its navigation test and the cruise took an “elevator” to go through the dam. It is quite exciting being on the Ship Lift. After this novel experience, you can go to the Captain’s Welcome Reception in the evening. The captain will welcome you sincerely and then you can walk around and drink some Champagne. You can also socialize with others. Maybe you can make some new friends and listen to their stories. I bet you will learn something from them.

The Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam
Day 7 Yangtze River Cruise
Shennong Stream, Wu Gorge, Qutang Gorge

In the morning, we will take a smaller boat to visit Shennong Stream. Shennong Stream is a typical valley stream with steep mountains on both sides. The stream clashes between the vertical walls of the gorge. There are more than 60 dangerous shoals. The waterway is narrow and rapid but shallow. Therefore, it is safe to drift in the stream. There are four smaller gorges, Longchang Gorge, Yingwu Gorge, Shennong Gorge, and Mianzhu Gorge along the Shennong Stream and each has its unique scenery, dangerously steep, beautiful, serene, or grand. If you drift along the stream, you will feel the strong atmosphere of Tujia ethnic minorities. You will hear their melodious songs which are touching. The stilted buildings along the mountain, the hanging coffin put in the cave, and the rotating water mills will refresh your impression of this place. The scenery here will catch your attention at first sight.

In the afternoon, we will pass by Wu Gorge and Qutang Gorge. Wu Gorge is 46 kilometers long. Wu Gorge is famous for its beauty and peace. The peaks at this part are steep with strange rocks. The cliffs stretch long and unbroken. The scenery here is like a gallery with twists and turns, telling its unique story. There are Twelve Peaks in Wu Gorge sitting on both sides of the Yangtze River. Among the peaks, the Goddess Peak is the most beautiful one. No one is not fascinated by its attractive scenery at first glance. Besides the Twelve Peaks, you can also see Lu You Cave (Lu You, a famous poet of the Song Dynasty 960-1279, came by this place and spent a night here). I can assure you that your tour here will be worth the ticket.

And then you will visit Qutang Gorge. Qutang Gorge is 8 kilometers long with towering walls of rock standing on both sides. The Yangtze River flows at great speed. Although Qutang Gorge is the shortest one among the Three Gorges, it is the most dangerous part. The peaks on both sides of the river reach 1,500 meters and the river is from dozens of meters to 100 meters wide. Besides the natural scenery, you can visit some human landscapes, such as Fengjie Ancient Town, Ancient Plank Road, and Yufu Tower. You will be amazed at how nature could create such beautiful scenery and how human beings could overcome the barriers and build amazing architecture here.

Qutang Gorge
Qutang Gorge
Day 8 Yangtze River Cruise
Fengdu “Jade Emperor”, Fengdu Ghost City

After you have your buffet breakfast, you can stay on the cruise and appreciate the beautiful scenery along the river. In the afternoon, we will go ashore and visit Fengdu “Jade Emperor”. Fengdu “Jade Emperor” lies on Wuyu Mountain which is near the world-famous Ghost City. The attraction was built to explain the religious belief of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Wuyu Mountain enshrines Jade Emperor because Taoism believes that Jade Emperor is the head of all of Gods with supreme power and paramount status. He is in charge of everything from heaven, the secular world, to hell. Therefore, the architecture in this attraction represents the unity of heaven, hell, and human beings. You can walk around this place and visit the Temple of Jade Emperor and the Grand Hall. You will have a deeper understanding of Taoism.

You can also go to visit Fengdu Ghost City, but this attraction is at your own expense. Fengdu Ghost City has a history of 2,000 years. It is said to be the home to dead people. It is not only a ghost city in legends, but also a folk culture treasure integrating Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. There are several stories about how the ghost city was formed. One is that when human society was in ancient times, technology was not advanced. People can’t explain some natural phenomena such as earthquakes, floods, and slides. Therefore, they believe that all these phenomena are the will of the Tubo (Ghost Emperor). People believed that Tubo lived in Fengdu Ghost City and was in charge of everything in the secular world. There are some famous attractions here such as the Bridge of Sigh, the Gate of Hell, and the Platform of Overlooking Home. Each attraction shows the importance of what an ancient saying goes “Virtue is rewarded and vice is punished” and represents Chinese people’s view of God, ghosts, paradise, and hell. Don’t be frightened when looking at the scary buildings.

(The cruise lines and tours will adjust according to different cruises and weathers.)

Fengdu Jade Emperor
Fengdu Ghost City
Day 9 Yangtze River CruiseChongqing
Hongya Cave, Ciqikou Ancient Town, Chongqing Zoo

In the morning, you will get off the cruise when arriving in Chongqing. Your first destination is Hongya Cave. Hongya Cave is one of the city walls of ancient Chongqing. It is at the riverside of the Yangtze River and Jialing River integrating sightseeing and entertainment. It was built in 2006 by the government with a total investment of 385 million yuan. Hongya Cave covers an area of 46,000 square meters, consisting of stilted buildings and commercial streets in the style of the ancients. Hongya Cave has 111 stories and it is lightened from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. There are four famous streets in Hongya Cave, which are Bars Street, Bayu Style Street, Food Street, and Exotic Street. These streets are the most fashionable place in Hongya Cave. You can have a drink, taste the spicy hot pot, or other delicious food here. You can get some nice pictures here and post them on your Instagram.

And then you can head to Ciqikou Ancient Town. Ciqikou Ancient Town was built in the Song Dynasty and is an important wharf at the riverside of the Jialing River. It is calculated that more than 300 ships; each weighing 10 tons will pass through the wharf per day in old times. Back then, there were about 1,670 shops, warehouses, and various workshops here. The wharf was busy from early morning to late night with ships and merchants passing by. If you come here, you can’t miss Sichuan Opera, Dough Figurine, and some traditional foods such as Boiled Blood Curb, Glutinous Rice Cake, and Spiced Salted Peanuts. Once you taste the delicious food here, you will never forget its flavor.

In the afternoon, you will go to Chongqing Zoo. Chongqing Zoo covers an area of 435,000 square meters integrating science popularization, animal protection, scientific research, and entertainment. The zoo is divided into 8 functional areas. You are going to see some precious animals, such as Giant Pandas, South China Tiger, and Golden Monkeys. By 2020, there are 18 giant pandas in Chongqing Zoo. You can see the cute pandas in person and take some nice pictures of them. Can you imagine how cute these baby pandas look? Come here and see them, and I’m sure you will fall in love with the little creatures.

After visiting the cute pandas, your tour guide will take you back to the hotel. You can pack your luggage and have a good rest. Tomorrow, you will go to the airport and go back home. Try to get some sleep before you are aboard.

Chongqing Zoo
Ciqikou Ancient Town
Day 10 Departure
You will be transferred to the airport and fly back to your sweet home

Today, you will end your 10-day tour in China. Hope you have enjoyed yourself. See you and welcome to China again.

Author: Chi Mengdi

Proofreader: Lexie

This tour ends here
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