International Ferries to and from China

China can be reached by ferry from South Korea and Japan. The ferries from South Korea are quite frequent and take anywhere from 15 hours to 25 hours and go to multiple destinations in China from Shandong Province in the south to Liaoning Province in the north. There are also less frequent ferries from Osaka and Kobe in Japan to Shanghai and from Kobe to Tianjin.

Tickets can be bought directly at the ports, through travel agencies in the respective countries or through the companies that run the ships. It is recommended that passengers should arrive at the port at least 2 hours before departure to allow time to complete passport control and customs formalities.

Ferries between South Korea and China

There are a whole host of boats departing from the port of Incheon in South Korea to various ports in China. The ferries to Tianjin (only one hour by train from Beijing) and Qingdao, Weihai or Yantai (popular seaside cities in Shandong Province) would probably be the most popular choices. Ferries to Dalian and Dandong in Liaoning Province are also possible.

A schedule of departures is listed below, but times should be double-checked before planning a journey.

South Korea to Tianjin
Incheon-Tianjin: Departs 13:00 Tuesday and 19:00 Friday. Travel Time: 25 hours.
Tianjin-Incheon: Departs 11:00 Thursdays and Sundays. Travel Time: 25 hours.

These services are operated by Jinchon Ferry Company: www.jinchon.cn

South Korea to Shandong Province
Incheon-Qingdao: Departs 17:00 Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Travel Time: 17 hours.
Qingdao-Incheon: Departs 16:00 Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Travel Time: 17 hours.

Incheon-Weihai: Departs 19:00 Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Travel Time: 14 hours.
Weihai-Incheon: Departs 18:30 Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Travel Time: 14 hours.

These services are operated by Weidong Ferry Company: www.weidong.com

South Korea to Liaoning Province
Incheon-Dalian: Departs 17:00 Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays. Travel Time: 16 hours.
Dalian-Incheon: Departs 15:30 Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays. Travel Time: 16 hours.

This service is operated by Dain Ferry Company: www.dainferry.co.kr

Incheon-Dandong: Departs 17:00 Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays. Travel Time: 15 hours.
Dandong-Incheon: Departs 15:00 Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays. Travel Time: 15 hours.

This service is operated by Dandong Ferry Company: www.dandongferry.co.kr

Ferries between Japan and China

There are ferries from Japan from Osaka or Kobe to Shanghai and from Kobe to Tianjin (one hour by train from Beijing). These ferries are offered by a number of different companies. A schedule of departures is listed below, but these should be double-checked before planning a journey.

Shanghai Ferry Company
Osaka-Shanghai: Departs 12:00 on Fridays, Arrives Sundays at 12:00.
Shanghai-Osaka: Departs 11:00 on Tuesdays, Arrives Thursdays at 9:00.

Fares range from 1300-6500 RMB. Tickets can be reserved online at the Shanghai Ferry Company’s website: www.shanghai-ferry.co.jp

Japan-China International Ferry Company
Osaka/Kobe-Shanghai: Departs 11:30 Tuesdays, Arrives 13:00 Thursdays.
Shanghai-Osaka/Kobe: Departs 12:30 Saturdays, Arrives 9:30 Mondays.

Note that this ship alternates each week between Kobe and Osaka as the departure/arrival city. Fares range from 1300-6500 RMB. Bookings can be made through the Japan-China International Ferry Company’s website: www.shinganjin.com

China Express Line (from 11 October 2012) 
Kobe-Tianjin: Departs 22:00 Tuesdays, Arrives 07:30 Fridays.
Tianjin-Kobe: Departs 20:00 Fridays, Arrives 08:30 Mondays.

China Express Line’s website has limited information in English about schedules: www.celkobe.co.jp