Lesser Three Gorges Travel Guide
To take a day trip up the crystal-clear Daning River through its magnificent Lesser Three Gorges (Xiao Sanxia), whose total length is only 33 kilometers (20 miles), is to experience the excitement and awe of bygone days of river travel in China.
The Wushan Lesser Three Gorges also called Daning River Lesser Three Gorges, zigzags about 31 miles from Wushan County in the south to the Dachang Ancient Town in the north. The Lesser Three Gorges refer to the three gorges of the lower reaches of Daning River (the largest branch of Yangtze River) in Wushan County - Dragon Gate Gorge (Longmen Xia), Misty Gorge (Bawu Xia), and Emerald Gorge (Dicui Xia). Because of the beauty of Lesser Three Gorges, it has been said that although Wushan Lesser Three Gorges are not the Three Gorges of Yangtze River, they are almost the same.
When the cruise ship reaches Wu Gorge, the vale of Daning River is within sight. Scenery along the Daning River is elegantly stunning with beautiful peaks, dangerous shoals and unusual stones. The Lesser Three Gorges, with their combination of natural scenery and historic relics, are the highlight of Daning River scenery. Drifting along the gorges by sitting in a rubber dinghy can add an extra dimension to the trip.
The first Gorge of the Lesser Three Gorges is the Dragon Gate Gorge. About 3,281 yards long, the Dragon Gate Gorge refers to the section of river from the west pass of Wu Gorge to the Yinwo Tan. The precipitous cliffs at the mouth face each other along the two banks making the gorge mouth look like the Kui Gate of Qutang Gorges (the entrance of the Three Gorges of Yangtze). This place is therefore reputedly known as the Little Kui Gate. While drifting in the gorge, you can admire the Dragon Gate Spring, the Ancient Plank Road, and some other sights like the Nigh-dragon pole, Yinwo Tan (the dangerous shoal of Dragon Gate Gorge), and the Bear Cave.
Misty Gorge (Bawu Xia) also known as the Iron Coffin Gorge, measures six miles. In the cliff of this section, there hangs a black Suspended Coffin. Because the color of it is like that of iron, the coffin is called the Iron Coffin, hence the name of the gorge. The gorge is characterized by rare rocks on both banks. Some take the form of the monkey fishing for the moon and some look like Kwan-yin sitting on the lotus platform. All of them are full of humor and wit.
Emerald Gorge (Dicui Xia) (so named because of its emerald green color) spans 12 miles and is the longest and most charming of the three gorges. Madu River, the Mini Three Gorges, plank road and Boat Coffins are popular sites for visitors to appreciate.
Drifting six miles upstream from the Emerald Gorge, the Dachang Ancient Town has over 1,700 years´ history. It is the first large town along the bank of Daning River. The ancient architecture, dock and arches (Paifang) of Ming and Qing Dynasties always tell people the history of the town.
The tourists should pay more attention to the carrying things, or once being dropped into the water, they will not be found again.