Do you believe in magic? The bright red Shibao Pagoda was originally built into the side of a mountain peak, but that peak became an island after the completion of the Three Gorges Dam. Step ashore to do some exploring, perhaps climbing to the top to ensure that all your dreams come true (or so an ancient legend says).
Relax and prepare to be dazzled as your ship carries you through some of the most glorious scenery in the world. Limestone cliffs, sheathed in greenery, loom above the water; mountains, wreathed in mist, tower in the distance. The river itself, deep and powerful, busy and serene, will work its enchantment as it carries you past bucolic fishing villages, hillside rice paddies, ancient cliff carvings and historic temples.
The Three Gorges—the Yangtze’s fairytale landscape
Shibao Pagoda is a temple built directly into the side of a steep peak that is now an island, a result of the rising waters from the Three Gorges Dam. Painted a bright red (the color associated with happiness and good fortune) and featuring an elaborately carved entrance and unusual round windows, the 12-story pagoda is yours to explore. At one time the temple consisted of just the top three stories; the other nine stories were constructed essentially to house the ladder-like staircase that leads up to the top. It’s something of a challenge to climb, which may be why legend says reaching the top will make your dreams come true—by your being here, we’d like to think they already have. (Don’t worry— there’s another, less strenuous way to get to the top: You can take a path up the hill and cross a bridge to the temple.) Shibao Pagoda is, quite simply, magical. Once back aboard your ship, you will begin sailing toward the Three Gorges, where you’ll encounter some of the most celebrated scenery in all of China—including cliffs that rise above you to heights of up to 4,000 feet (1,219 meters). This is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the ship’s decks for unimpeded views of the spectacular surroundings.