Beijing tour by Boat

beijing by boatAs far back as the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Beijing had a round-the-city water route for river transport. In the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, the water system, which crisscrossed the city proper and connected its lakes and ponds, was also used for flood prevention, drainage and irrigation.

It is said that at that time many houses were built along the water system, just like those in the canal towns of southern China. Today, its traces can only be detected from the names of hutongs that feature such terms as "river," "lake," "well" and "sea."

The Beijing water system cruise is both ancient and modern, since leisure boats began cruising along this water route as long as 700 years ago. However, in old times, this was a privilege of the imperial family only. In 1999 the municipal government invested one billion yuan in dredging the water system.

As a result, the water is now clear and the banks are beautiful. Some sections have once more been opened to navigation, attracting numerous holiday makers.

In the interests of protecting the water system, and beautifying the environment, the municipal government has built sports and ecological parks along its banks. It is also planned to connect the system with the lakes in Beijing's two largest imperial gardens, Yuanmingyuan and the Summer Palace, forming the city's largest green corridor, or more popularly known as the "Oxygen Bar" among local residents.

Water Routes: at the moment Beijing has only two water routes, 9.5 and 9 kilometers long. A single trip takes 45 minutes. One goes from Kunming Lake in the Summer Palace to Bayi Lake in Yuyuantan Park. The other goes from Kunming Lake to the Rear Lake of the Beijing Exhibition Center. The ticket price is 40 yuan for a single trip and 70 yuan for round trip.

The price for luxury boat cruises is 50 yuan and 80 yuan, the two terminals being located outside the southern gate of the Summer Palace and at Bayi Lake.