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Plenty to see and eat along the Grand Canal
By Xu Wenwen

USE it to protect it. This is the philosophy the Hangzhou government is taking to ensure the Grand Canal remains for centuries to come.

Added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list last month, the world’s longest artificial river starts in Beijing and ends in Hangzhou. It was built in stages between 486 BC and 1293. It was originally built to transport rice from the river valleys to cities, but eventually became a powerful symbol of national unity.

The Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces portions of the canal are the best because they have always been used by locals.

“The Hangzhou section of the Grand Canal is like a living zombie because people still use it and live near it,” said Wang Zhe, an engineer of the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage.

Locals use the canal for leisure and recreation, as well as transportation. In Hangzhou, some roads alongside the canal have a variety of restaurants and snack stalls.

There are also five ferry routes (3 yuan) along the Grand Canal. Here’s a closer look at the sights on routes No. 1 and No. 4. We will feature sights on routes No. 2 and No. 5 next Thursday.

Route No. 1 starts from Pujia stop, passes Genshenmen stop, Wulinmen stop, Xinyifang stop and stops at Gongchen Bridge stop.

Route No. 4 begins at Wulinmen stop, passes Shengli River stop, Gongda stop, Chaohui stop, and ends at Datieguan stop.

Passengers can disembark at Wulinmen, Xinyifang, Gongchen Bridge, Shengli River, and Chaohui stops.

Wulinmen Dock

The dock is next to Hangzhou Tower and there is a cluster of restaurants nearby. Nearby Wulin Road also features fashion boutiques and other interesting stores.

Queen’s Park has many popular cafes and restaurants, including Maan Coffee and Metoo Cafe, both known for their decor, Night and Day, an affordable yet authentic Western restaurant, and Juchuan, a high-end Japanese restaurant.

Chaohui Dock

This area is traditionally a place to grab a snack and explore the night markets due to the large number of residents.

Hedong Road is a trendy spot, especially to catch live World Cup soccer games. Tables, chairs and televisions have been put outdoors for the games. Beer and skewers are available.

Restaurants serve everything from northeastern Chinese and Sichuan cuisines to seafood and local dishes.

Longtangli Restaurant is recommended for those who want Hangzhou cuisine, while Xinfeng Snack offers cheap snacks, and Ding’s Beef specializes in sliced cold beef.

Xinyifang Dock and Shengli River Dock

Get off the ferry at Xinyifang Dock or Shengli River Dock.

Xinyifang Street is popular for its lively bars, restaurants and seafood stalls. The snack stalls serve up some tasty little treats.

Shengli River Food Street features everything from donkey meat and grilled shellfish to spicy Sichuan food and delicate Hangzhou dishes.

Good, affordable Chinese restaurants include Sports Meeting, Chuanweiguan and Jingjing Seafood Restaurant. Stalls selling kebabs and barbecued scallops also do brisk business.

Dadou Road is quieter than the others.

Restaurants like Jiangnanyi and the vegetarian Miao Ti Hu Buddhist Restaurant, which offers a 20 yuan buffet, are usually busy. There are also several teahouses along Dadou Road.

Gongchen Bridge Dock

Gongchen Bridge is the bridge in the photos that the city government uses to promote the Grand Canal’s Hangzhou section. It was built in 1631.

Qiaoxizhi Street near Gongchen Bridge is home to museums, fashion and cosmetics stores, bookstores, restaurants, cafes and TCM clinics.

Yuanzi Restaurant makes Chinese dishes and some fusion cuisine.

It is popular among locals. For those craving for Hangzhou cuisine, both Chen Zhang Ge Restaurant and Ju Xian Tang Restaurant are smart choices and affordable. There are also several cafes and a Japanese restaurant along the street.


From Pujia stop, ferries on Route No. 1 start at 7am and end at 6:10pm. From Gongchen Bridge, boats start at 7am and end at 6:15pm. The interval between boats is 20 to 40 minutes. The cruise takes less than one hour.

Only four boats run daily on Route No. 4. Ferries from Wulinmen to Datieguan are scheduled at 8am, 11am, 2pm and 5pm. Return ferries from Datieguan are at 9:30am, 12:30pm, 3:30pm and 6pm. The trip takes less than one hour.

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