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Hangzhou boat adventures unveiled

Visitors to Hangzhou will be able to enjoy boating tours on the world's longest ancient artificial river -- the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal -- for the first time during the upcoming National Day holidays.

The boating tours will connect three water areas in the provincial capital of eastern China's Zhejiang Province -- the Grand Canal's Hangzhou section, Xixi River and Qiantang River.

Tourists will be able to travel a total of 60 kilometers on the rivers around Hangzhou on 16 traditional boats.

However Hangzhou’s landmark West Lake is not accessible at present.

According to officials of the Hangzhou Waterway Rectification Center, the water level of the West Lake is 7.18 meters on average while the normal water level on the Grand Canal is only 1.35 meters.

"Discussions were held this year but the idea of a route connecting the Grand Canal to the West Lake proved impractical," an official of the center told the newspaper.

Sixteen imitation traditional craft called "Cao Fang" will be launched on September 28. Made of wood and steel, the boats are in the style of vessels used during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.

Travelers will be able to choose restaurant boats, sight-touring boats or hand boats.

The biggest two boats cost 3 million yuan (US$428,571) each, the newspaper said.

As well as boat trips, Hangzhou is also promoting walking and cycling tours around the water areas.

"A walkway of more than 40 kilometers will be built and a cycling lane of 20 kilometers will also be set up along the canal," the official said.

The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is the longest ancient canal or artificial river in the world. It passes through the cities of Beijing and Tianjin and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang. The oldest parts of the canal date back to the 5th century BC, although the various sections were finally combined into one during the Sui Dynasty (581–618 AD).

Source: Shanghai Daily