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Hiking along Three Gorges of Yangtze: practical information

Three Gorges of Yangtze is listed among one of the best hikes in China. Yet, as most of the people opt for a cruise for convenience to experience this brilliant part of the nature there is so few information in English. Let me share my experience from June 2014. 

Earlier I wrote article about my hike, how I got lost in mist, illegally slept at a hayhey, how I took boat through a Wu gorge, and how I was awed by all this.

There is so few information mainly because the construction of the biggest dam in the world completely disrupted the region, water covered some old paths, some places might be just inaccessible. Yet it is still possible enjoy the gorges by foot. 

When preparing for the trip I based my plan on a website suggesting hike from Peishi to Qingshi and hike from Wushan to Baiduzhen. 

Means of transport along gorges 

Even CPC weren't able to tame the cliffs Yangtze river has created over the millennia. That's why the major transportation is via river. And it is a good thing! 

Locals often use thefast hydrofoil running from Maoping (Yichang through bus connection) and Fengji (to Chongqing through bus connection). The boat stops in the major towns: Badong, Wushan, Fengdu (to Chongqing via bus). You will really see only locals on the boat. In fact it was great to take it; I "made friends" on the boats who helped me arrange hostels or let me sleep over with them.   It's really fast but you can get good sight of outside when you stay by the door. I paid Y105 from Yichang to Badong and then Y118 from Badong to Wushan. The overall ticket is reasonable, it is expensive way to get between the towns. 

Secondly, there is a "slow boat" which stops basically by hailing in all small towns... I don't know the price range but beware that now there is only one boat a day going in the morning against current and later back. So it's good not to miss it. 

Accomodation 

I stayed in Wushan and Fengjie over night, otherwise I "camped" :-). Both times I got help from Chinese local friends to get good price (Y40 for a single room). Sometimes they don't take foreigners with excuse that they cannot read your passport.  If you have a tent, I don't think it's a problem to pinch it just randomly (a bit away from the farmer's houses), the challenge might be finding a good spot. 

Hiking 

So my plan was to go from Peishi to Qingshi and from Wushan to Baiduzhen. I gave up the Peishi to Qingshi after being scared by a local Chinese-American couple in Badong speaking about three people who have tried do the same but returned unsuccessfully. I regret it now: I believe there was a path. Yet I know how to get to Peishi: take the slow boat. It should start from Badong around 9 a.m. 

Firstly, in Wushan I went to see the three little gorges. It was not easy to find a path along the highway and all the villages but at the end it was quite a success... 

Finally, I hiked from the center of Wushan to Daxixiang. It might have been 40 kms hike with wonderful views of vertically stacked villages, fields and obviously the river. In fact first half was on a concrete road and there were actually few minibuses going. Yet I have no idea how to take these. City bus 202 take you as far as possible on the way in Wushan. I made this in two days. 

Then I took fishing boat (haggled price Y100, which was completely worth it as I got exclusive boat trip through Wu gorge. Moreover I was dropped at Baidicheng and save the entrance ticket... ). I didn't try to find a way along the Wu gorge: from the boat it seems almost impossible. There might be a path at the tops of the cliffs, hard to say from the satellite image. What I know is that the view from the boat was simply priceless! 

Some more tips

If you are going from Wuhan to Yichang, my suggestion is to take overnight train. From the train station you take the first bus and get down somewhere around the river. Then you can directly take the first boat (bus departs at 7:50). Next to the "port" where you buy the tickets and the bus departs, there is Walmart if you need to stock up some supplies. Though, the towns Badong, Wushan, Fengjie are not as small as they look like so no need to take so much food.

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