A Cruise of the Yangtze River, the world’s third longest, is one of China’s most popular tourist pursuits, in particular the stretch travelling through the three gorges.

The cruise boats generally leave from Chongqing, travelling downstream through the steep sided gorges to the famous dam and culminating at Yichang, lasting four days.

The journey can be accomplished in a variety of styles from luxury cruise ships, tourist boats and the shorter route from Fengjie, by Hydrofoil, taking only five hours, but which is much less suited to panoramic viewing.

Although the initial phase of the journey from Chongqing is depressingly industrial, the vista opens up toward the town of Fuling, drowned by the creation of the dam, and onward to the first stopping point at Fengdu, referred to as the city of ghosts, where visitors can ascend to Ming Shan to try their hand at crossing into the afterlife in the ghostly theme park.

The journey continues on to the pagoda at Shibaozhai and a stop at Wanzhou, before heading on to Fengjie, Qutang Gorge and a stop at Wushan, where passengers often board a smaller boat for a side cruise of the ‘Little Three Gorges’ of Daning River.

Re-joining ship on the Yangtze, the vessel enters the stunning Wu Gorge, passing its twelve peaks, including Goddess Peak and the Peak of the Immortals.

The journey then enters the longest of the gorges, Xiling, and on to the massive Three Gorges Dam, where most of the tourist boats end, with the more upmarket cruises travelling on to Yichang.