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Asia > China > Hangzhou > Useful Info
Updated on Jan 03, 2019 Useful Info

How to watch the tidal bore of Qiantang River in Hangzhou

  • Aside from the West Lake, Hangzhou is probably most known in China for the tidal bore viewing at the Qiantang River
  • Tide bore is when a massive tsunami-like wave travels upstream along a river due to moon's gravity pulls. It's a very dramatic to see and it attracts almost 200,000 people every year to Hangzhou at its peak. Here's what it looks like:
  • The one in Hangzhou is the biggest one in the world, with a 9-meter high surge in water going upstream from the sea


When can you watch the tidal bore in Hangzhou

  • The best day to see the tidal bore in Hangzhou is 18th day of the 8th month on the Chinese lunar calendar
  • You can use this web page published by Hong Kong's government to convert to regular calendar
  • Here are the regular dates for the next few years:
  • 2019: September 16th
  • 2020: October 4th
  • 2021: September 24th
  • 2022: September 13th
  • 2023: October 2nd
  • 2024: September 20th
  • But every 1st-5th and 15-20th each lunar month there will be smaller tide so if you can't make it to Hangzhou in September/October, to catch the big one, doesn't hurt to try to time it to catch the smaller ones


Where to watch the tide

  • The best spots to view the tide are all actually 30-50km east of Hangzhou, in a small provincial city called Haining
  • There are some spots in Hangzhou as well, but the tide get a lot smaller by the time it gets here
  • Here's a map of some well-known tide watching spots. But really anywhere along the river you can see the tide, and the more east you go the bigger the tide is. I included the names of these spots if you click on the pins:

  • Details of these spots (from east to west on the map)
  • Daquekou (大缺口): this is a great spot where you can go right up to the river and is free I believe. The tide will hit the banks and create giant splashes. To get here your best option is to catch a 40-minute train at the main Hangzhou Railway Station to Haining Railway Station (海宁). And then take either bus 1, 5, 6, or 8 to Haning Bus Station (海宁客运中心), then transfer to bus 106 or 206 to Yundongqiao (运动桥) bus stop, then walk about 1km south and west to Daquekou. The entire trip will take 2.5-3.5 hours each way. Google maps link
  • Yanguan Tide Watching Area (盐官观潮景区): this is by far the most famous and popular spot to watch the tide, but it's a little boring because the tide is literally a straight line. You also need to pay a ticket price which is about 150RMB when I went (about $22 USD). To get there you need to take a 40-minute train from Hangzhou Railway Station to Haining Railway Station (海宁), then take bus 109 to the its final stop. Google maps link
  • Laoyancang (老盐仓): another great viewing spot east of Hangzhou. Locals who live in Haining recommend this spot a lot more so than Yanguan because the view and the splashback is much more dramatic here. To get here take a 40-minute high speed train from Hangzhou East Railway Station (杭州东) to Haining West Railway Station (海宁西), then take a taxi to the tide watching area for 30-50RMB. There's also an entry ticket required for this spot but I'm not sure how much it is. It can't be more than the ticket to Yanguan. Google maps link
  • Xiaoshan Qian River Tide Viewing Center (萧山钱江观潮城): a lot closer to Hangzhou than the previous three that are all in the city of Haining. To get here the easiest way is to taxi from the city center area for about 100-120RMB. If you want to use public transportation you can take subway line 2 to Zhenning Road Station, exit from D1, then take bus 281 or 421 to Tide Viewing Center station (Guanchaocheng Station, 观潮城). Ticket price is 20RMB I think. Google maps link
  • Qibao (七堡): even closer to the city center, and very close to the East Railway Station. The tide won't be very strong here. You can watch the tide on any riverside road in this area and is free. To get there I suggest taking the subway line 1 to the East Railway Station or Qibao subway station, then taking a taxi for 30-50RMB to avoid having to transfer buses. Google maps link
  • Liuhe Pagoda (六和塔): the good thing about this spot is that it's very close to the city and easily accessible via subway and a short walk. Don't go up the tower, but rather walk around the riverside roads to see the tide. The downside is that by the time the tide gets here it's already pretty weak. To get here take subline line 4 (green line) to Shuichengqiao station (水澄桥), get out and walk towards. Then walk along the river for 30 minutes and you should be able to watch the tide anywhere along the river. Google maps link


What time to watch the tide

  • The tide will usually happen sometime between 10:30am and 2pm at Yanguan Tide Vieweing Area.
  • If you're more east of it then it'll happen earlier and if you're west of it then it will be later. You can use Google Translate on this website to give you a more detailed time by season (the time is based on Yanguan).
  • It's advised that you get to whatever spot you decide to watch the tide 40 minutes in advance of the scheduled tide time


Safety tips

  • Every year people get swept into the river by the tide, because the tide moves a lot faster than people imagine it and also much stronger than people imagine it to be. Most are rescued but some die
  • It's very important to follow the instructions of the local police (if you're watching from a public area) and staff (if you're watching from fee-taking spots like Yanguan, Laoyancang, and Xiaoshan). If there's a barricade, do not go beyond it