Imperial Waterway Cruise in Beijing

Imperial Waterway Cruise

Imperial Waterway Cruise in Beijing was only open for the royal family in the past. It was once the waterway for the Emperor Qianlong (1735-1796 AD) of the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911 AD) to go to the Wanshou Temple to pray for his mother and for the royal family to go to the Summer Palace, and it has a history of more than 700 years. It was not until recent years the waterway has been open to the public, providing a different way for visitors to appreciate the scenery of the capital city.

Basic Information of Imperial Waterway Cruise

Frequently Used Boarding Piers: Emperor’s Boat Pier in Beijing Exhibition Hall, Ziyuwan Pier in Purple Bamboo Park, South Ruyi Gate Pier in Summer Palace. Schedule: 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00, and 19:00 from Emperor’s Boat Pier and South Ruyi Gate Pier; 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 13;30, 14;30, 15:30, and 16:30 from Ziyuwan Pier

Length: 9.5 km (6 mi) 
Duration: Around 1 hour
Ticket Fare: CNY 50 for a single trip; CNY 80 for a round trip; Free for children under 3.9 feet (1.2 meters).
Note: Extra cruises may be temporarily added on weekends and holidays.

River Cruise

River cruising in Beijing is getting more and more popular for tourists to explore the royal metropolis. While cruising, you could not only enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the royal gardens and parks along the river, but also mingle with the locals to know about Chinese cultures and heritages. The total time of the sightseeing tour along the Changhe River is about one hour. The route starts from Beijing Exhibition Center at Xizhimen, passes by Beijing Zoo, Wuta Temple, Baishi Bridge, National Library, Zizhuyuan Park, Guangyuan Dam, Wanshou Temple, Maizhong Bridge, Changhe Bay, and arrives at the Summer Palace’s South Gate. It stops at five wharfs including Huangjiachuan Wharf at the Beijing Exhibition Center, Beijing Zoo Wharf, Ziyuwan Wharf at Zizhuyuan Park, the wharf outside the Summer Palace and the Nanruyi Wharf inside the Summer Palace.

Changhe River Cruise

Changhe River of Beijing has a long history of over 700 years, and it became a special sightseeing route for royal family from the inner city via Longevity Temples to the Summer Palace in Qing Dynasty. Generally, the Changhe River cruise starts at the Beijing Exhibition Center wharf and ends at the Summer Palace. There are three main wharfs along the 9 kilometers Changhe River: Beijing Exhibition Center Wharf, Beijing Zoo wharf and Zizhuyuan Wharf (Purple Bamboo Park), passing through the Beijing Zoo, Beijing Aquarium, Beijing Zizhuyuan and Summer Palace. While cruising on Changhe River, you can go down the water enjoying the beautiful scenery of willows and peach trees along the both banks, hence the saying: watching pines in the Temple of Heaven and willows along Changhe River.

Route 1: Beijing Zoo – Summer Palace 
Route 2: Beijing Zoo – Beijing Aquarium – Summer Palace

Shichahai Lake Cruise

Shichahai Lake is the must-to-visit destination for any Beijing tourists with over 700 years old. It is surrounded by the former palaces of ministers, temples, Hutongs, well-kept Siheyuan as well as residences of celebrities in the past. Its water ripples and glitters around many lotuses floating on its surface. Willows line the bank like a misty green curtain, as a trickle of people cross the 1,000-year-old bridge. In addition, you can have a taste of some famous Beijing snacks in the special South-China style boats.

Route 1: The back gate of Beihai Park – Drum Tower – Yinding Bridge – Hutong 
Route 2: The back gate of Beihai Park – Qianhai – Yinding Bridge – Houhai – Hutong

Kunyu River Cruise

The boats depart from Bayi Lake which is located in the Yuyuantan Park, then take you to the Central Television Tower (CCTV), Binyuyuan Port, Whilte Dagoba of the Beihai Park, Linglong Park, and finally arrive at the Summer Palace – the largest imperial garden. The gaily decorated pleasure boat in a European style provides various activities for tourists: birthday parties, tea parties, cocktail parties, wedding ceremonies, art performances, Karaoke, and small dance parties.

Route: Yuyuantan – Kunming Lake.

How to Get to Imperail Waterway Cruise Piers

  • Emperor’s Boat Pier in Beijing Exhibition Hall: One can take the subway line 2, line 4, or line 13, get off at Xizhimen Station, exit A1, walk to east for 200 meters (220 yards), turn right and continue to walk for 200 meters, and turn left to walk for 500 meters(550 yards) to reach Emperor’s Boat Pier
  • Ziyuwan Pier in Purple Bamboo Park: Take the bus line 481 and get off at Zizhuyuan North Gate Station.
  • South Ruyi Gate Pier in the Summer Palace: Take the bus line 374 or 437, get off at Liulang Natatorium Station and walk about 150 meters (165 yards) to the north.

More Attractions in Beijing

Edited by  Lynette Fu/付云锐