Shaoxing - China's Venice.
Shaoxing is an historic city – very much known for its canals. The Venice of China it has been called. The network of canals throughout the city snake their way around and it seems at each corner there is another canal making its way in another direction. There are small canals that surround apartment blocks and take turns here and there as the canal boat journeys through the amazing water ways.
Our boat was a little party boat – with half a dozen white plastic tables each with one or two trays containing a teapot and some cups. As we boarded the boat a tea bag was put in the teapot by the tour guide, then some boiling water and later when the tea had steeped we poured some into each cup and drank its refreshing contents.
We had quite a wait – but enjoyed the scenery, changing as it was dusk, with the big boats going past – the ones that carry coal, cement, and other building materials back and forth along the canals to building sites. People wandered along the pathways beside the boat dock, and some joined us on the boat.
We had purchased our tickets at the little ticket stand which found after a short walk in from Huancheng Rd (not far from the corner of Zhongxin Rd. The ticket prices were printed on the window of the little office and at first we were quoted 50 Yuan, but in the end were only asked for ¥40, and received a prettily printed ticket that we handed to the tour guide on the boat.
Our journey started at 7.30 pm., by which time it was dark, at least allowing us to observe the amazing lighting on the bridges, and on the buildings along the canals.
The journey took us over an hour – some places we would recognize and others not. In parts the buildings were old, and in others there was massive building of high rise residentials, as well as large corporate establishments.
We passed the impressive Shaoxing University, and under some bridges were fascinated to see groups of people ballroom dancing, line dancing or doing Tai Chi.
Apparently there is no day time boat trip from the boating dock, but I understand that there are other tour boats, and I shall be seeking those out.
The boat dock is a short walk from Jeifang Road – so for folk staying in the heart of Shaoxing City, the night canal ride is easy to get to – and well worth going on. (In fact we arranged a second trip several nights later.)