My 5: Suzhou Canal Cruise, China.

Suzhou canal cruise from Shantang Street Jiangsu Province China.

Reading from China? This My 5 contains YouTube videos, which can only be viewed with a VPN!

1. December 2018. If you’re looking to do a canal cruise in Suzhou there are an abundance of routes and operators to choose from. During the summertime you better book in advance, as the canals get bombarded and queues snake down the street as far as the eye can see. Luckily I was spared all of that, as my Suzhou visit came over Christmas when grey skies and the biting cold didn’t exactly inspire people to get out onto the water. In the end I was simply able to walk right up to the ticket counter on Shantang Street and grab a 70RMB ticket (£8/€8.95/$10.20) for a short, thirty-minute loop.

2. December 2018. Cruises from the Shantang Street pier leave every twenty minutes, or so they say. But with only three people on the entire boat, our captain made us hang about a bit in order to squeeze in a few more customers. But nobody was up for it, so off we chugged down the Shantang River past the crumbly old townhouses.

Suzhou canal cruise from Shantang Street Jiangsu Province China

3. December 2018. Suzhou’s network of pretty canals form what is possibly the most beautiful section of China’s Grand Canal. This is the longest and not to mention oldest canal in the world, which runs a staggering 1,776 kilometers from Beijing in the north through five provinces to the city of Hangzhou in the south.

4. December 2018. Despite the dreary weather conditions, I think a winter cruise is probably far better than a summer experience. The canals looked quite spectral that day and I had the boat more or less to myself. This somewhat eerie tunnel served as a sort of slideshow of Suzhou’s most famed attractions.

5. December 2018. At a mere half an hour I took one of the shortest canal cruises available, But there are all manner of tours possible, from hour-long city routes to 2-3 hour expeditions and day cruises on larger vessels with dinner and entertainment thrown in. To see what the more reputable, high-end companies offer, take a look at Viator and Top China Travel. It’s even possible to cruise between cities, check out Travel China Guide. Otherwise, just wander the streets and grab a boat that takes your fancy.

You can also read more about this cool city with my travel guide to Suzhou, or maybe delve further afield with my stacks of 5s from across China.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001, so why not check out my huge library of My 5s from over 30 countries.

Leighton Literature travel reports short stories travel blogger

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Freelance travel writer, voice over and English teacher from London. Former music and film journalist, interviewer of the stars. Passionate about travel, film, music, football, Indian food.

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