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Qutang Gorge

Qutang Gorge---Putuo Mountain
Qutang Gorge-Putuo Mountain

Qutang Gorge, stretching 8 kilometers from Fengjie’s Baidicheng, Chongqing in the west to Daxi Town of Wushan County in the east, is one of the most imposing sections of Yangtze River. Together with the Xiling Gorge and Wu Gorge, they make up the world-renowned Three Gorges on the Yangtze River.

Though the total length of 8 kilometers (5 mile) makes it the shortest section among the Three Gorges, Qutang Gorge is broadly hailed as the most breathtaking one among three. The entrance toward the gorge is called Kuimen Gate, upon which the water from upstream presses through the opening between Baiyan Mountain and Chijia Mountain, and continues floating down the winding watercourse. Its grandeur has been extolled in myriad poetries and works of literature for thousands of years and is gracing the backdrop of Chinese 10-Yuan notes. The Qutang Gorge earned its fame mostly for its narrowness, with the narrowest part being merely 150m wide. Accompanied by the endless series of mountains towering hundreds of meters on both sides of the waterway, a voyage down the Qutang Gorge is without doubt a pleasant one.

Other than the overwhelming scenery, there are couple spots also worth visiting along the gorge. Baidicheng, or White Emperor City is a historical town where Liu Bei, the emperor of the Kingdom of Shu in the period of the Three Kingdoms, deceased and entrusted his only son to the most resourceful chancellor Zhuge Liang in 223 AD.

The Meng Liang Stairway and the Hanging Monk Rock are about a story of a loyal, grateful soldier and a heinous monk. Legend has it that Yang Jiye, a great general of Song Dynasty who died heroically in the battle against invaders, was buried on top of the mountains here by the enemy. Meng Liang was a military officer serving under the general, and he set about bringing Yang’s corpse back to his hometown. In case of being caught, he sneaked into Qutang Gorge every mid-night and chiseled a series of holes zigzagging up the cliff. Then poles were inserted into the holes to create a walkway for Meng Laing to reach the top.

Hanging Monk Rock is actually a projecting rock that looks quite like a monk being hung upside down near the Meng Liang Stairway. According to the story, when Meng Liang were climbing up, a monk living across the river discovered his secret task and imitated the crow of a rooster, which is a herald of dawn, to trick him. Meng Liang then hastily descended from the mountain but later found the fact. He was very irritated by the monk’s hoax and hung him upside down from the cliff. Thus, this ledge earned itself the name Hanging Monk Rock.


  • Admission Fee:
    Free. But prices for the cruise trips vary accordingly. And certain tourist attractions might require entrance fee
  • Best time to visit:
    Spring and summer
  • Recommended duration of visit:
    3 to 4 hours
  • How to get there:
    Boat ride from Chaotianmen Dock to Fengjie County takes around 7 hours

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