Grand Canal

The Grand Canal, about 1,764 kilometers (1,200 miles) long, is the longest and greatest man-made waterway in ancient China, far surpassing the next two of the world: the Suez and Panama Canals. With 27 sections and 58 historical sites, it was placed on the UNESCO's World Heritage List in 2014. Running from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province in the south to Beijing in the north and connecting different river systems, Grand Canal contributed greatly to ensuring that the Chinese primary economy thrived in past dynasties. Now more than 2,000 years old, some parts of the canal are still in use, mainly functioning as a water-diversion conduit.
Hangzhou Grand Canal
Grand Canal
Banks of Grand Canal
Houses along Canal
The Grand Canal we see today was built section by section in different areas and dynasties before it was linked together by the Sui Dynasty (581-618). In 604 AD, Emperor Yangdi of the Sui Dynasty toured Luoyang (now the city in Henan Province). The following year, he moved the capital to Luoyang and ordered a large-scale expansion of the canal. Due to the primitive building techniques, it took over six years to complete the project. Approximately half the peasant builders (about 3,000,000) died of hard labor and hunger before it was finished. This project was thought to have been a waste of manpower and money, which resulted in the downfall of the Sui Dynasty.

As a major transportation hub, the Grand Canal connected the Yangtze, Yellow, Huaihe, Haihe, and Qiantang Rivers and flowed through Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, with Hangzhou as its southernmost end. The Grand Canal, which joined the river systems from different directions, provided a good way to transport foods and goods from south to north. Just as importantly, it greatly improved the administration and defense of China as a whole and strengthened economic and cultural connections between north and south.

Boating on the old Canal is one of the best ways to get a panoramic view of the landscape of typical river towns in southern China, which include ancient dwellings, stone bridges of traditional designs and historical relics. Experiencing some of the local customs offers much delight to travelers. Tourists also have an opportunity to enjoy good food while appreciating the surrounding scenery.

Like the Great Wall, the Grand Canal is noted as one of the most magnificent and wondrous constructions in ancient China, which can really offer one a profound look into China's fascinating, historical past.

How to get to Grand Canal

By Bus
Take bus B1, B2, B3, B4 or B7 and get off at Wulinmen Guangchang Bei (Wulin Square North) Station.
Take bus 32, 126b, 126, 153, 218, 220, 261, 266 to Lunchuan Matou.
Take bus 2, 14, 24, 26, 32, 55, 56, 76, 76 Express, 153, 156, 206, 211 or 268 and get off at Hangzhou Dasha (Hangzhou Mansion) Station.

By Metro
1. Take Line 5 and get off at Grand Canal Station and then walk east around 700 meters to arrive at the destination.
2. Take Line 1 to get off at Wulin Square (Wulin Guang Chang) Station and get out from Exit B.
Hangzhou Bus / Metro Search

 Wulinmen Wharf is very close to the above-mentioned bus/subway stations. Visitors can walk a few minutes to the wharf and experience a short canal cruise.

Further Reading
Grand Canal Cruise
Video of Grand Canal Culture and Art Museum (Yangzhou)
Video of Grand Canal in Wuxi
Video of Grand Canal Night Cruise in Yangzhou

Top 10 Things to Do in Hangzhou
Suzhou Grand Canal

- Last updated on Jul. 19, 2022 -
Questions & Answers on Grand Canal
Asked by Radzi Saad from MALAYSIA | Mar. 30, 2019 21:22Reply
Is there canal cruise in Wuxi? If have, where is the wharf to take it?
Answers (2)
Answered by Sebastian from FRANCE | Apr. 09, 2019 18:46

Yes, you can take it from Nanshan Temple Wharf or Kuatangqiao Wharf.
Answered by Radzi Saad from MALAYSIA | Apr. 12, 2019 02:49

Thank you Sebastian.
Asked by PL from MALAYSIA | Nov. 13, 2018 17:19Reply
Luggage at Hangzhou Canal Overnight Cruise
I would like to know if baggage is allowed to take on board to the overnight cruise?
Answers (3)
Answered by Terra from USA | Nov. 13, 2018 23:59

Yes, it is allowed.
Answered by PL from MALAYSIA | Nov. 14, 2018 00:51

Is there a restriction on the baggage size & weight, and the number of baggage that each passenger can bring? just like the airline?
Answered by Terra | Nov. 14, 2018 18:05

Yes, generally it is same as the airline. And if it is a large ship, you can take more.
Asked by Yulianthi Lie from INDONESIA | Sep. 05, 2018 08:47Reply
Price for taking grand canal cruise
Hi guys, how much do I have to pay gor taking grand canal cruise in Hangzhou?
Answers (1)
Answered by Mary from CANADA | Sep. 05, 2018 23:09

The price is different from CNY 80 to 150, according to different cruises.
Asked by albert from SINGAPORE | May. 04, 2016 04:04Reply
How do i get from Hangzhou longxiangqiao station to "lotus in the breeze at crooked courtyard"?
It is situated along the west lake. Which bus do is available for me to take?

Answers (1)
Answered by Rainie from GERMANY | May. 05, 2016 03:15

You may leave from Exit B2, Longxiangqiao Station, Metro Line 1. Take bus line 7 from Dongpo Road Pinghai Intersection to Temple of General Yuefei (Yuemiao) Station. Walk east for about 150 yards, and turn right. Walk south for about 100 yards to the attraction.
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