Little Three Gorges, "Xiao Sanxia" in Chinese, refers to a stretch of the Daning River, which is a tributary that originates up north and empties into the Yangzi River. The Little Three Gorges is the scenicc part of the river that extends from Wushan on the bank of the Yangzi up to Dachang on the Daning River. Tourists can take small boats at Wushan and travel up the Daning river, going through in succession Longmen Gorge, Bawu Gorge, and Dizui Gorge. As the name suggests, these gorges are smaller than the Three Gorges, but visitors can explore them more intimately. The construction of the Three-Gorges Reservoir has raised the water level in the Daning River too, so views of the Little Three Gorges have also been altered.
Three Gorges, Sanxia in Chinese, refers to a stretch of the Yangzi River that spans the eastern part of Chongqing and the western region of Hubei in central China. Here the river runs through a mountainous regions, creating sharp contrasts between towering peaks on the banks and the river flowing by be below. The three gorges are Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge, and Xiling Gorge. The construction of the Three-Gorges Reservoir has raised water level and slowed down the running of the river, making views less dramatic than they used to be, but a cruise through the gorges remains a worthwhile experience. Altogether the three gorges is about 190 km in length.
It used to bethat most cruises of the Three Gorges depart from Chongqing and go downstream to Yichang. Nowadays, with the completion of the Three Gorges Reservoir and the improvement of air and land transportation to Yichang, more people are cruising upstream from Yichang and then return to Yichang, a round-trip cruise that takes about 2 days - longer if stop to do some sighting on the sides. One can choose from passenger ships (frequent departures but minimal service) and the more comfortable cuise ships with opportunities of sightseeing stopovers on the way.
Little Three Gorges
Qutang Gorge, Qutang Xia in Chinese, is the first of the Three Gorges if one is traveling downstreem on the Yangzi River. Eight km in length, Qutang Gorge extends from Baidi Cheng in Fengjie County to Daxi in Wushan County. The narrowest part of the gorge is Kui Men, or "Gate of Kui", which, in the old days, was quite a challenge for the boatmen who went up and down the river. With the completion of the Three Gorges Reservoir downstream, the river has become much calmer.
Located 40 km west of Yichang, Hubei, the Three Gorges Dam is the largest of its kind in the world, measuring 2,309 m in length and 185 m in height. Built over a period of 12 years from 1994 to 2006, the dam forms the core structure of the Three-Gorges reservoir and electric power station. Two sightseeing platforms afford tourists views of the great dam - Tanziling Platform, which is the highest point nearby in the dam area, and 185-Meter Platform, which is on top of the dam. Visitors can also tour a miniature room and sculptural works displayed in an open park.
Wu Xia, the Wu Gorge, is the second of the Three Gorges on the Yangzi River. Measured 45 km in leagth, Wu Gorge extends from the mouth of the ntributary Daning River in Wu County to Guandukou in Badong County downstream. The gorge is known for the mountains that flank the Yangzi. Best known are the cluster of peaks located approximately 20 km weast of Wushan, among which is Shennu Feng (Goddess Peak) that rises to the height of 850 meters above the river below.
Measured 76 km in length, the Xiling Gorges (Xiling Xia) is the longest of the Three Gorges on the Yangzi River. With is starting point at Xiangxikou in Zigui County, it stretches downstream to Nanjingguan in Yichang. The gorge has several sections, seperated by a few sections of low-lying hills on the two sides. The Three-Gorges Dam, part of China's largest reservoir, is located in the middle section of the Xiling Gorge. The construction of the reservoir has raised water level by as much as 100 meters and has also significantly widen the water surface of the Yangzi River here.