The River

The journey puts you adrift on China’s mightiest – and the world’s third-longest – river, the gushing 6300km Yangzi River (长江; Cháng Jiāng). Starting life as trickles of snow melt in the Tánggǔlā Shān of southwestern Qīnghǎi, the river then spills from Tibet, swells through seven Chinese provinces, sucks in water from hundreds of tributaries and rolls powerfully into the Pacific Ocean north of Shànghǎi.

The Effects of the Three Gorges Dam

The dwarfing chasms of rock, sculpted over aeons by the irresistible volume of water, are the Yangzi River’s most fabled stretch. Yet the construction of the controversial and record-breaking Three Gorges Dam (三峡大坝; Sānxiá Dàbà) cloaked the gorges in as much uncertainty as their famous mists: have the gorges been humbled or can they somehow shrug off the rising waters?

In brief, the gorges have been undoubtedly affected by the rising waters. The peaks are not as towering as they once were, nor are the flooded chasms through which boats travel as narrow and pinched. The effect is more evident to seasoned boat hands or repeat visitors. For first-timers the gorges still put on a dramatic show.