Prone to flooding because of silt deposits in its upper reaches, the mighty Yellow River (Huang He) has long been known as "China's Sorrow," having wreaked untold damage and taken countless lives through the ages. Here the river can be visited from two different locales. The first is at Huang He Youlan Qu (Yellow River Tourist Zone), a large park on the river's southern bank. You can take the hydrofoil on a 40-minute round-trip tour for ¥65 ($8.45/£4.25) per person, which includes a stop at a sandy islet in the middle of the river.

About 15km (9 miles) east of the Yellow River Tourist Zone, the Huang He Huayuan Kou Luyou Qu was where Chiang Kai-shek ordered his army to blow up the dikes in order to halt the advance of the Japanese troops in 1938. The tactic worked temporarily, but in the process it flooded 44 counties, killed almost a million people, and left another 12 million homeless and destitute. Today, stone tablets in this tourist park commemorate the event, as does a four-character inscription, ZHI LI HUANG HE, on the embankment by Mao Zedong, meaning "Control the Yellow River."