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Three Gorges Dam-The Biggest Dam in China

There is a project, spanning over a century that is regarded as the top pinnacle of human ingenuity in transforming the world. Stone walls are erected on Xijiang River, cut off the clouds and rain of Wushan and made the century dream of a lake store in the high gorges come true. This is the Three Gorges Dam, the biggest dam in China and the world’s largest hydroelectric station for the usage of the flood control and power generation. See the gem of the nation with your own eye and let yourself immerse in the magnificence and astoundment of the architecture.

Read the this passage and you will know more about scenic spots and experimental activities in Three Gorges Dam Site, upstream and downstream Yangtze River cruises’ sightseeing arrangement of Three Gorges Dam, how to get to and useful tips for touring around Three Gorges Dam Site.

Location & Brief Introduction about Three Gorges Dam

  • Location: Jiangxia Avenue, Sandouping Town, Yiling District, Yichang City, Hubei Province
  • Opening Hours: 8:00 - 18:00
  • Best Time to Visit: All year around

The Three Gorges Dam is located in Sandouping Town, Yichang City, Hubei Province. It is 38 kilometers from the Gezhouba Hydropower Project downstream. It is the main project of the Three Gorges Hydropower Station, the core landscape of the Three Gorges Dam tourist area and the eastern end of the Three Gorges Reservoir.

The Three Gorges Dam project consists of two parts, the main building and diversion project, with a total length of about 3335m and a crest elevation of 185 meters. The total investment of the project is 95.460 billion RMB. Construction was officially started on December 14, 1994 and the whole line was successfully constructed on May 20, 2006.

In 1997, the dam is officially opened to public, which surely was the great news to home and aboard tourists to unveil its spectacular dam structure and the complete history.

Tourists Experience in Three Gorges Dam

  1. Appreciate the largest Dam in different angles;
  2. Learn the background history of the great dam project;
  3. View the flood discharge spectacular view when time’s right;
  4. Enjoy the scenic area and landscape around the dam.
  5. Try the world largest and most sophisticated ship lift.
Three Gorges Dam Site

Three Gorges Dam

Three Gorges Dam Site

Overlook Three Gorges Dam

Main Scenic Spots of the Dam

As the pearl of the Yangtze River, Three Gorges Dam is the top highlight during Yangtze Cruise Tour between Chongqing to Yichang and Shanghai. Now each Yangtze Cruise has the arranged shore excursion to the dam. Tourists can have time to visit the dam tourist area.

There are 5 park zones in Three Gorges Dam Site, which are the Three Gorges Exhibition Hall, Tanzi Ling Park, 185 Park Zone, Dam Crest Scenic Area and Interception Memorial Garden. Among all park zones, Tanzi Ling Park, 185 Park Zone and Interception Memorial Garden are open to visitors all year around. Tanzi Ling Park is the best place to have a panoramic view of Three Gorges Dam and overlook the Yangtze River. Strolling around the Area Close to the Dam and 185 Park Zone during rainy season, you may have a chance to appreciate the magnificent and thunderous flood discharge. You can admire the singing and dancing performance at Interception Memorial Garden, which is also the traffic center in Three Gorges Dam Site.

Gorges Exhibition

Built in 1992, the Gorges Exhibition mainly tells the history of the construction of the Three Gorges Dam by documentary films, pictures and some facilities. Besides, the exhibition has preserved kinds of patterns of the dam in different stages of construction and the sample of Chinese sturgeon. If you are interested about the history of the dam, you can speed more time visit here and get to know the dam more.

Tanzi Ling Park

With 262.48 meters above sea level, Tanzi Ling Park is the first spot opened to tourists in 1997. As the dam construction survey point, it shares the best location to see panoramic views of the Three Gorges project. Here you can not only able to enjoy the powerful& splendid Three Gorges Dam, but also watch the precipice of "Yangtze River gorge IV" Two-way lock (the five stages ship locks), as well as spectacular fountains, beautiful waterfalls, meandering streams, green lawn throughout the meantime.

185 Park Zone

Located in the left side of the top dam road, the 185 Park Zone has the same sea level of the dam, so it was called “185 Park”. Standing at the platform, you can feel the height of the dam and view the surface of water in the impounding reservoir. Looking at the foot of the magnificent, distant and calm river, you will be astonished by the static and dynamic beauty rhyming each other.

Interception Memorial Garden

Situated in the left side of the dam with 800 meters lower, Interception Memorial Park is composed by performances square, display halls, slide shows and more scenic sites. Facing the dam and mountains behind, Memorial Park is the best place to taking photos with the dam, which can’t miss out.

Three Gorges Dam Site

Three Gorges Dam Site

Tanzi Ling Park

Tanzi Ling Park

Interception Memorial Garden

Interception Memorial Garden

Experimental Activities of the Three Gorges Dam - Ship Lift & Ship Lock

Ship Lift

Three Gorges Dam Ship Lift, also called Three Gorges Dam Ship Elevator, is one of the most important and complicated navigation facilities of the Three Gorges Project in Yangtze River. The elevator cuts down the time it takes to pass the dam to around 40 minutes compared to the four hours it takes to pass via the Five-stage Ship Lock. Tourists can try ship lift near the 185 park zone and have a better know about the last mystery of Three Gorges Dam Project. More information about ship lift, please visit Three Gorges Dam Ship Lift.

Ship Lift

Ship Lift

Ship Lock

The ship lock, also known as the five-stage ship lock, is the largest navigation facilities in China. It plays an important part on improving the navigation capacity of Yangtze River; the two ship locks installed along the two sides of the dam with a total length of 1607 meters. And each gate of lock is 280 meters long and 34 wide. The Maximum vessel size is 10,000 tons, increased six times and reduced the cost of shipping by 25%. It’s usually takes about 3-4 hours for a ship to pass through the five-level ship lock, for more information about how the ship lock works, please visit The Three Gorges Dam Ship Lock.

Ship Lock

Ship Lock

2022 Arrangement of Three Gorges Dam Visiting & Transfer

Due to the unavailable of passing through the Three Gorges Dam ship locks, Yangtze River cruises (except Yangtze 1) would change their dock ports in Yichang and have some adjustment of the visiting of the Three Gorges Dam site and transportation arrangement. Check the details for upstream and downstream cruises at below.

(PS: Visitors still could appreciate the five stage ship locks at the site and could choose to experience the amazing world largest and most complicated ship lift with the visiting of the dam site)

Yangtze River Cruises

Three Gorges Dam Cruise Transfer

For upstream cruises (Yichang – Chongqing):

Day 1 Around 16:00-21:00 Gather at Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal. Take the arranged shuttle buses (about 1.5 hours) to Maoping port for embarkation.
Day 2 Some cruises during around 08:30-11:30;
Some cruises during around 14:00-17:00
Only Visiting Three Gorges Dam:
Leave the ship to take the arranged buses to the dam site, after visiting, return to the ship by the same bus.
Three Gorges Dam + Ship Lift:
Transfer to a small sightseeing boat to experience the Three Gorges Ship Lift. Take the arranged bus to the dam site. After visiting, take the bus and go back to your cruise.

For downstream cruises (Chongqing – Yichang):

Day 4 At around 08:30-11:30 Only Visiting Three Gorges Dam:
Disembark the ship to take the arranged buses to the dam site, after visiting, transfer to Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal by the same bus (about 1.5 hours) to end your cruise sailing.
Three Gorges Dam + Ship Lift:
Disembark the ship to transfer onto a small sightseeing boat to experience the ship lift. Take the arranged bus to the dam site. After visiting, transfer to Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal by the same bus (about 1.5 hours) to end your cruise sailing.

If you have any questions about the Three Gorges Dam, please feel free to ask our professional travel expert for help!

Get to & around the Three Gorges Dam

Best way to visit the Three Gorges Dam is by taking a Yangtze River cruise. All Yangtze cruise companies arranged shore excursions to visit the dam. However if you don’t have enough time to enjoy the splendid view of the Three Gorges but want to visit the dam site. You can take a flight or train to get to Yichang first, and then transfer from Yichang downtown to the Three Gorges Dam Site by car, taxi or bus.

► Learn more about how to get to Yichang, please visit Yichang Transportation Guide in 2022 | How to Get to & around China Yichang.

Three Gorges Dam Transport

Click to Enlarge Three Gorges Dam Transportation Map

Get to Three Gorges Dam Site

Three Gorges Dam Site is about 65km from Yichang Sanxia Airport, 49km from Yichang East Railway Station and 40km from Yichang City Center. Tourists can get there by private car, taxi or bus transfer.

By Private Car - Most Recommended Way of Travel

The most comfortable and convinient way to get to the dam site from airport, railway station or city center is by booking a private car service in advance.

We www.yangtze-river-cruises.com offers convenient private car service. No matter you are going to travel from Yichang Airport to Yichang downtown for accommodation or to Three Gorges Dam Site for sightseeing, or to Maoping port to catch your cruise ship, we can help you make a travel as smooth and hassle-free as possible. Once you booking such a service, your English-speaking tour guide will be waiting for you at the airport or railway station, with a sign with your name on it holding in his/her hands. Your local driver will escort you directly to your destination in convenient. Along the way, your guide can also give you a brief introduction of Yichang city and share some insider tips. If you need such a service, please feel free to send us your group size, traveling date and time for enquiry.

Top Yichang Hubei Tours:

>> 1 Day Yichang City Short Stay Tour

>> 5 Days Yichang Tour with Yangtze Cruise Experience (Yichang / Yangtze River Cruise)


In Chongqing, Yichang and Shanghai, we also offer lcoal transfer services. By Booking our transfer with your crusie,
you’ll get:

  1. Vehicle with experienced driver and local guide.
  2. Airport / Railway Stations / Hotels and Cruise Dock shuttle services
  3. More time enjoying your trip, instead of wasting on finding your way.

By Taxi - Convenient Way for Independent travelers

It would be easy for tourists to hire a taxi in Yichang airport, railway stations and downtown. However, it would be a little difficult to catch a taxi at Three Gorges Dam Site. So for those independent travelers who would like to take a taxi, you’d better make a pre-arrangement and settle down the time of return trip with your driver. Now, check the chart below to know the estimated distance, time and fare from main spots in Yichang to the Three Gorges Dam Site:

From Distance Estimated Time Estimated Fare
Yichang Sanxia International Airport about 65km takes about 1.5 to 2 hours CNY 170 - 200
Yichang East Railway Station about 49km takes about 1 to 1.5 hours CNY 130 - 150
Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal about 45km takes about 1 to 1.5 hours CNY 110 - 130
Yichang City Downtown About 40km takes about 1 to 1.5 hours CNY 110 - 130

(Note: Estimated time and taxi fee given above are only for your reference, may change according to the real situation. If you have any questions or would like to book a private car service, please feel free to contact us.)

By Bus - Money-saving Way

There is no direct bus to get to The Three Gorges Dam Site; travelers need to transfer 2-3 buses to get to the dam site. It usually takes about 2.5 to 3.5 hours to get to the Dam. Check the transfer way in the following chart:

From Distance Bus Transfer Route
Yichang Sanxia International Airport about 65km Airport Downtown Bus Line (Sanxia Airport Station) → Bus No. 109 (Yichang East Railway Station) → Bus No. 216 (Yemingzhu Station) → Tourist Transfer Center Station (Three Gorges Dam Site)
Yichang East Railway Station about 49km Bus No. 109 (Yichang East Railway Station) → Bus No. 216 (Yemingzhu Station) → Tourist Transfer Center Station (Three Gorges Dam Site)
Yichang City Downtown About 40km Bus B3 (Municipal Government Station) → Bus B100/B34 (No.22 Middle School) → Bus No. 216 (Yemingzhu Station) → Tourist Transfer Center Station (Three Gorges Dam Site)

(Note: Bus transfer routes are only for your reference may change according to the real situation. For latest information about bus transfer, please feel free to contact us.)

Get around Three Gorges Dam Site

Three Gorges Dam Site covers a total area of 15.28 square kilometers, therefore tourists are recommended to tour around the site by taking the sightseeing buses. Starting from the Tourist Transfer Center (游客换乘中心), tourists can take sightseeing buses to tour the whole dam site. The price of sightseeing bus is CNY 35 (might be change according to the real situation). The sightseeing bus will take you to 3 scenic spots including Tanzi Ling Park, 185 Park Zone and Memorial Park (Line B cannot reach Memorial Park), and the sightseeing buses run every 20 minutes.

>> Check more photos of Three Gorges Dam

Sightseeing Bus in Three Gorges Dam Site

Get around Three Gorges Dam Site

Tips for Three Gorges Dam Excursion

  1. Dressing Tips: In summer, the sunlight and heat are quite strong, so you should prepare sunglasses and sunscreen before excurse the dam; see more about Yichang Weather & Season.
  2. Flood Discharge: If you want to see the grant sight of flood discharge, you’d better cruise in the rainy season and flood season, which have more chance to meet water release;
  3. Sightseeing Car Service in the Park: There is another private operating sightseeing car service in the Three Gorges Dam site scenic spot is charged CNY 10 per person for a section of the route. Round trip charges CNY 20, contain three section of the route. You could take it to save some time for more sightseeing and photographing.
Flood Discharge

Flood Discharge

Travel Three Gorges Dam with yangtze-river-cruises.com

Now that you know all the info and "secrets" of Three Gorges Dam, you can ride with confidence on your Three Gorges Dam tour, Yangtze River tour even China tour. However, if you still feel annoying about visiting the dam by yourself, how about travelling with www.yangtze-river-cruises.com and let us take care of everything for you? The tour can be tailor-made according to your group size, time, physical condition, plan, interests, budget and other special need. No matter you want to only visit the Three Gorges Dam or put Three Gorges Dam into your Yangtze River trip, or cover several destinations together and even extend your Yangtze cruise tour all over China, www.yangtze-river-cruises.com can provide you best tour guides and experienced drivers with comfortable private cars in any of the destinations. Our English-speaking tour guide will accompany you all the way, showing you the best traveling route and telling beautiful stories in each of the destination.

Please feel free to contact us if you need any help or customize the tour with free quotation!


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Questions & Discussions

Following are latest questions and answers from our webusers and customers. You can learn many useful information from the discussion and cases. You can also join in the discussions or ask your own question. Our experts will help you ASAP.

What do you call the large book outside the dam in the Tanzi Ling park
What do you call the large book outside the dam in the Tanzi Ling park
2018-01-07 15:03
Hello Shirley,

Thank you for the question. The sculpture of a large book is called Tanziling Ridge in English and Tan Zi Ling Lan Sheng (坛子岭揽胜) in Chinese, which give brief introduction of Tanziling Ridge and the Three Gorges Dam Project. if you are interested in that and what to know more of this great project, we highly recommend you visit this place by our Yangtze River cruise that would also enable you to feel the great positive impact brought by the project and enjoy the fancy view of the Three Gorges. Please feel free to tell us about your group size, nationality, visiting time to China and other information by Emails, and our professional travel consultant would help design your ideal cruise tour with high quality and good quotation.

Wish you a nice day!
Victoria Jenna Smoking Policy
Is smoking allowed on that ship and are there no smoking areas available
2017-03-15 12:01
Hello Glenn,

Cigar Room on Victoria Jenna is specially provided for smoking people, and the sun deck is also okay to do that. However, other places onboard like cabins and other public areas are non-smoking areas.

Have a nice trip on Victoria Jenna!

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