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All Aboard! Great Places to Go Boating in Beijing

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You could be forgiven for thinking that due to Beijing’s lack of rivers, boating options would be few and far between. However Beijing does in fact surprisingly come up trumps with its various ancient parks and intricate canals. Whether you fancy a trip down one of Beijing’s weaving canals that takes you on a tour of the city’s various historic spots, or are just in need of a relaxing drift away from it all out in a lake, there are ample opportunities to enjoy boating in Beijing. Here, we take a look at the four top spots across the city that provide you with the best and most rewarding boating experiences in the Chinese capital.   

Photo: Flickr

1) Kunyuhe River (昆玉河)
Kunyuhe River starts at Bayi Lake and passes by the CCTV Tower, Changhewan, Linglong Park and ends at the Summer Palace. The trip is 10 kilometers long and you can get on and off at several docks along the way. You'll find everything slowing down around you as all the boredom and troubles of life fade away.

If you don't like traveling slowly however, Kunyuhe River also has speed boats available. On a speed boat, the trip from Bayi Lake to the Summer Palace takes only 15 minutes.

Add: Bayi Lake Dock Yuyuantan Park, 10 Xisanhuan Lu, Haidian District, Beijing (both day and night time boats available)
地址: 北京市海淀区西三环路10号玉渊潭公园View In Map

CCTV Tower Dock, CCTV Tower, 11 Xisanhuan Lu, Haidian District, Beijing (only daytime boats available)
地址:北京市海淀区西三环路11号中央电视塔View In Map
Boat opening hours: the first boat departs at 9:00 with boats leaving every 30 mins thereafter. A one-way trip takes 50 minutes.  
Price: 98 RMB (one-way), 158 RMB (round-trip)
Tel: 010 6852 7108, 131 2676 8077
Getting there: Bayi Lake Dock: take bus 32, 65, or 414 to Yuyuantan South Gate (玉渊潭南门) or take bus 374 or 817 to Yuyuantan West Gate (玉渊潭西门), then walk into the park to find the dock.
CCTV Tower Dock: take bus 6, 21, 28, 52, 124, 321, 343, 345, 494, 511, 520, 673, or 676 to Hangtian Qiaonan (航天桥南), then walk towards the CCTV tower dock.

2) Changhe (长河)View In Map
Changhe is a canal that was used by China’s emperors, and dates back over 700 years. Empress Dowager Cixi used to ride this river from the Forbidden City to the Summer Palace to relax during the summer. Changhe Hangdao runs from the Zoo to the Summer Palace, stretching 9 miles in length, and passes by Baishiqiao, the National Library, the Purple Bamboo Forest, Wanshou Temple and Changhewan before arriving at the resort. Also, the Changhe Hangdao ride is a great deal – the ticket includes the price of the zoo's entrance fee!

Add: Beijing Zoo, 137 Xizhimen Waidajie, Xicheng District, Beijing
Boat opening hours: the first boat departs at 9:00 with boats leaving every 30 mins thereafter. If you want to see the performances at Haiyangguan, you can leave at one or two in the afternoon before their 15:00 performance begins. It takes 50 mins to get to the Summer Palace
Price: 40RMB (one-way), 70 RMB (round-trip) (including the price of the Summer Palace and the Zoo). If you don't want to go to the Summer Palace you can be dropped off right outside.
Tel: 010 6836 1713
Getting there: take subway line 4 to Beijing Zoo Station (动物园站)

3) Houhai (后海)View In Map
Shichahai has been a major lake area of the city since the Yuan Dynasty established their presence here. Shichahai is split into Xihai, Houhai and Qianhai. Houhai is easily the best choice of the three to experience a relaxing boat ride. The area is calmer than Qianhai and has dozens of courtyard homes left over from previous dynasties. Many Qing royalty types used to live here and their residences add a touch of the past to a lovely boat ride.

Add: Yangfang Hutong, Xicheng District, Beijing
Boat opening hours: 9:00-24:00
Price: 2,000 RMB (large Wupeng Boat, max 15 people), 300 RMB (small Wupeng Boat, max four people), 60 RMB (electric boat), 40 RMB (paddle boat). All rates are charged hourly.
Tel: 010 8401 8677
Getting there: take subway line 6 to Beihai North Station (北海北站)

4) Beihai Park (北海公园)View In Map
The lake at Beihai Park covers almost 40 acres, with the surrounding architecture being built in the Liao, Jin, and Yuan Dynasties. The area was often frequented by emperors who came here to rest, and makes up for one of the oldest and comprehensive royal gardens left over in China today. There are many different scenic spots and points of interest to see whilst your enjoying your boat ride, and you can choose to rent a variety of boats ranging from pedal boats to large boats which hold groups of people.

Add: 1 Wenjin Jie, Xicheng District, Beijing 
Boat opening hours: 9:00-17:00 (opening hours will be extended during holiday periods)
Price: 50 RMB (rowing boat, max five people), 60 RMB (pedalo, max four people), 80 RMB (large pedalo, max six people), 80 RMB (electric boat, max four people), 100 RMB (large electric boat, max six people), 50 RMB (sculling boat, one person), 100-180 RMB (Lotus Boat). All rates are charged hourly.
Tel: 010 6401 6935/6403 7993
Getting there: take subway line 6 to Beihai North Station (北海北站), or take bus 5, 101, 103, 109, 124, 202, 211, 685, 1 (专), or 2 (专) to Beihai stop (北海站)   

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Keywords: Houhai boating in Beijing Beihai park

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