Post-dam Era Tourism

The Three Gorges lie in the middle section of Yangtze River, the longest river in China originated from Qing-Tibet plateau and flowing into the Pacific at Shanghai.

The furious turbulent and steep cliffs both sides along the river had made the gorge section a spectacular canyon and nature-born cruise route. But an old dream of Chinese has being changing things since the biggest dam has being piled up at a place in Hubei province,downstream of the Three Gorges. Water has risen and submerged some lower farmland, villages, factories and cultural relics; rushing river has been reined somehow and some former tour sites, occupying 13 percent of the area's total are now or to be under water, all these happenings undoubtedly have brought negative consequences upon traditional gorge cruise industry- tourists just suspect the value of a cruise on a slow-running lake-like river without previously impressing sight of Yangtze penetrating through a grand mountain gaps and less weathered towns and villages survived for shore excursions.

On the other hand, local government and involved travel agencies declare there will be more opportunities for the industry because the raised water level has put the waterfront to some remote corners in capricious mountain area forming new lakes or recesses of waterway thus enabling tourists to reach more niches of wonder that were unapproachable before.
Although cruise companies still stick to their regular routes plus a tout to let their passengers experience a 5-level canal passage of the daunting dam that intercepts the Yangtze near Yichang, Hubei, local governments of Hubei and Chongqing where the Three Gorges are situated in their precincts, have imminently launched puffing campaigns to promote tourism to a possibly new horizon of variegation. Other than lesser Three Gorges along Daning river and Madu river, tributaries to Yangtze, new touring sights include more genres of potential attractiveness covering a larger area in the vicinity of the Three Gorges. An enormous chasm with both depth and bottom diameter as circa 600 meters in Fengjie county, north of the gorges, is drawing attentive curiosity of ecologists and tourists as well. An isolated territory called Shennongjia about 200 kilometers north of Xiling Gorge, one of the Three Gorges, homes a vast virgin forestry where the widespread tales of Yeren, Chinese type of Yeti, but an apelike creature roaming the forests there is becoming a hotspot too. Shennongxi River, with its headstream coming from Shennongjia ridges, running 60 kilometers long southward till joining Yangtze River at Badong, is also boosted for its unpolluted clear stream water and untouched mini-gorge scenery and agelong folk farmers lifestyles. Furthermore, the homeplaces of some historic figure are revived and open to the public again. Quyuan, a well-known poet and politician about 2,300 years ago, has being popularly esteemed and bemoaned for his mercy to labor class so much that after he committed suicide by drowning himself in a river, Chinese recall him on the day of his suicide in a way of holding dragon boat contest and eating zongzi, a bun-like sticky rice food. Wang Zhaojun, a legendary beautiful woman of the age about 2,000 years ago, who was appointed by Chinese emperor of the time to marry the king of a Huns tribe in Mongolia area for the sake of securing the China's northern border.
It's understandable that the local government is eager to polish and bedeck their cultural legacies in the wake of dammed Yangtze and as a matter of fact, the whole Three Gorges area does bear some very important epic events; the romantic and bloody story of Three Kingdoms is just the magnum opus of them. The White Emperor City, Zhangfei Temple, Kongming Tablet (to be submerged) are the representatives of a large number of leftover visible sites of that special period in Chinese history. A prominent branch of Chinese cultures called Chu culture came into being within a belt along the Three Gorges Yangtze zone and thrived once in the history and permeated over the neighboring regions.

However, to most occidental tourists these sorts of Chinese background knowledge are rather scarce thus, inevitably degrading the appreciation of touring sites and satisfaction of the journey either on the cruise or on shore excursions unless you just feel right in a confined western-like environment several days and nights on the ship. Trying to acquire as much information of the area as possible no matter by searching on the internet, file study, or simply reading other's travel logs, will just do a lot help.

On the other hand, some cruise companies are moving up to follow the expanding waterfront for the access to more potential sites that used to be hidden away in the uninterrupted daunting hills and unnamed valleys. Some seasonal special itineraries such as the winter special offer are hoppingly pushed out as well.
All these efforts of local government and the cruise company are attempting to clear up fussing to-dos and confusions in industry at the post-dam era and keep the market lure fresh. Will they make it? It takes time to tell.

Nevertheless, the Gorge tourists can have more options - stick to a deluxe cruise and you get all-in service onboard and ashore, or take port-to-port local traffic boats in which you have to tolerate the crowded peasants and haunted uncomfortable smell but get better acknowledgement and a more thorough views of the region. Another, yet bolder way is to explore the area by foot. Rarely do people dare to set foot on this off the beaten trail - a several hundred-kilometer meandering mountain path, some sections of the path are just narrow plank way hanging on the sheer cliff above wild turbulent. Yet the trek is worthwhile out of a compelling call of curiosity: Farmer villages scatter in solitude in endless mountains having scarce touch with modern world for centuries long. Have a close-up survey on the weathered notches left by boat towropes and mystic suspending coffins up on the unapproachable cliffs. Stand on a riverside rock witnessing the great Yangtze thrusting its way eastward between towering mountains. Such unusual experiences cannot be obtained other than by traveling on foot. However, this is not going to happen soon - most people will still be inclined to traditional cruise way and, the adventurous backpackers are thwarted in getting enough detailed information of the area for route planning.

One thing is for sure so far that the biggest river dam is there already and to be accomplished by 2009 but from a different perspective, tourism of the Three Gorges is moving to a new era, of diversified styles and even another boom, likely.