The Lesser Three Gorges is one of the exciting and famous stops in the Yangtze Three Gorges. It is often called the "highlight" of the Yanzgte cruise, even the whole China trip.
It always refers to the three separate valleys of the Daning River, namely "Dragon-Gate Gorge", "Misty Gorge" and "Dicui (Emerald) Gorge". These three gorges, with an area of 160 hectares of forest, lie on the lower reaches of Daning, extending from the entrance of the Dragon-Gate Gorge in the South to Tujiaba in the North for 50 km. Here sheer cliffs and steep mountains rise on either side, creating one of natural fine arts gallery as natural scenic wonders unfold on both banks of the river. Clear water flows between precarious precipices and peaks covered with green trees and bushes. Here you can board a small junk to enjoy the spectacular views and experience a water-borne sensation you never did before. Its "subtle mountains, clear waters, pretty rocks, dangerous rapids, sharp turns, fantastic caves, and stalactites in various shapes" characterize the natural landscape in the Lesser Three Gorges. Monkeys, mandarin ducks, water birds and fish can be seen in this area. In addition to the continuous natural scenery there are a number of historical places of interest along the way, such as suspending coffin, boat coffin, remains of ancient plank walkway. The area has been made one of the key nature reserves in China and is becoming known as a tourist attraction continuing to offer its charms.
If you like to explore the Lesser Thee Gorges, to embrace the nature. Take those ships which stop at here. You will find the photographs, articles, poems and draw paintings enthusiastically about here. There are other scenic spots include: Yinwo (Silver) Shoal, Stalactite Buddhism Cliff, Mianyang (Sheep) Cliff, White Dragon Crossing the River Waterfall, Madu River.
Features of the Lesser Three Gorges
Dragon Gate Gorge or Longmen Gorge: The first is the Dragon Gate Gorge. About 3,281 yards long, it 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 Gorge. This place is therefore reputedly known as the Little Kui Gate. While drifting there, 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 or Bawu Gorge: Also known as the Iron Coffin Gorge, it 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. 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 or Dicui Gorge: It (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 Three Little Gorges, regarded as a bright pearl of the Yangtze River, offer townspeople a chance to experience another way of life which is calm, natural and simple.