River Cruises and Domestic Ferries in China

There are limited options for travel around China by boat or ferry. The most famous boat journey is the Yangtze River Cruise from Chongqing to Yichang (sometimes to Wuhan and, very occasionally, all the way to Shanghai). The much shorter cruise along the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo is also a popular option. Neither journey has any practical value as a transport option: they’re taken only for the beautiful scenery en route.

The major use for boat transportation in China is to reach the island province of Hainan. The quickest journey is the short trip across the Qiongzhou Strait from Hai’an (Guangdong Province) to Haikou, while the daily overnight ferry from Beihai (about 170km south-east of Nanning in Guanxi Province) and the less regular ferries from Guangzhou and Shenzhen provide more adventurous options.

Should the need arise to travel between Shandong and Liaoning provinces, then the Yantai-Dalian ferry is the quickest and most practical option short of flying.