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CHINA: Witness a Vanishing Civilization
The circuit: The Yangtze River from Yichang to Chongqing
Boat basics: Abercrombie & Kent's M/S East Queen is a comfortable 192-passenger craft fitted with lots of glass and brass. The four-day cruise is part of a longer, overland itinerary from Hong Kong to Beijing.
Shore thing: A massive dam project began flooding the Yangtze River gorge in 2002, submerging ancient villages and swallowing old forests. If you book Abercrombie & Kent's Yangtze Passage tour, you'll get a taste of a lost culture, courtesy of local boatmen known as trackers. After cruising through the mountainous and eerily foggy Wu Gorge, passengers disembark in what's left of the town of Badong (the old sections are now flooded) and board local longboats to explore the Shennong River. The boatmen communicate with one another by song, and their voices echo off the steep granite walls that stretch a thousand feet into the air. It's a sight that few Chinese and even fewer foreigners have ever experienced.
The details: The 18-night Yangtze Passage trips (including four-night river cruises) depart in September and October 2006 and April through October 2007.
$8,545 per person
Abercrombie & Kent
Tel: 800 554 7016